February 21, 2023 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross
It felt like Hingham girls basketball played two seasons this year. They started 2-8 and finished 8-3. But with an overall 10-11 record, will that be enough to get them in the playoffs next week? Teams need to have a winning record or be ranking in the top 32. Currently, the Harborwomen are ranked 37 in Division I. However, this doesn’t include their two wins in the past two days, highlighted by a 12 point win over the 20th ranked Weymouth Wildcats. Margin of victory is one of the two factors that determine rankings and with a threshold of a 10 point margin moving the needle.
The girls found their identity halfway through the season and, as their record shows, it made all the difference in the world. They are a shutdown defensive team. No mistaking it. Most of the time in full course press or man to man press from opening tip off to the last buzzer. Second year coach Roland Millien will regularly use 10 or 11 players throughout the game. They may not have the prolific scorers they’ve had in the past, but their passing and ball movement is creating opportunities to put up enough points to win.
“We’ve been hit with the injury bug a little bit,” Millien says reflecting on the season. “We’ve been a little inconsistent, but the most consistent we’ve been is over these past three weeks. They knew time was dwindling down, for us to have an opportunity to make the tournament, and they came into every single practice ready, focused, ready to move the ball, ready to do the little things like defend and box out.”
While the turnaround is clearly a team effort, he gives a lot credit to his three captains.
“It starts with the little things our captains do,” Millien goes on to say. “Colette Hanney doesn’t get a lot of credit for the stuff that she does, the little things she does. She’s always in the help position, she’s always contesting, and she’s always the smallest girl on the floor but she somehow always ends up getting the most offensive rebounds out of anybody on both teams. Sarah (Holler) has been playing with injuries over these last three games and she has been marvelous for us. She was ready and focused from the outset of the game. We were shooting around before we got here and she was just locked in. She’s struggled with the free throws in the past, and today she hit all clutch free throws for us to get the W.”
The biggest free throws came from senior captain Ellie Savitscus. Up by eight with under two minutes to play, Savitscus made four free throws (6/6 in the 4th quarter) to secure the much needed 10+ point margin of victory, 52-40.
“She’s our closer,” Millien says of Savitscus. “I gave her the nickname ‘Ice.’ She thinks is because of a character on tv. Honestly it’s because she has ice water in her veins. Anytime the pressure comes she is a cool as a cucumber and that’s one of the things I’m going to miss – her leadership. She doesn’t say much. She’s very private, but she leads by example.”
If this is it for this team, they battled to the very end and should hold their heads high. Holler was named Weymouth Invitational MVP averaging 11 points and 22 rebounds in the two games. Savitscus was named to the all-tournament team. Hanney led all scorers with 13 points in the championship game. Eight different players scored and everyone played outstanding defense.
There are still games going on this week so the final rankings won’t be out until the weekend. The girls are playing some of the best basketball in the state right now. Let’s hope they have a chance to prove it in the tournament.