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It's Tourney Time!

With the regular-season reaching its end last week, the focus now shifts to the playoffs for the squads fortunate enough to have qualified.

The regular season came to a close last week, and the postseason is now all that remains of the winter sports term.

There were several games on the schedule during the past week, but before we get to that, let’s take a look at where the locals wound up in the playoff brackets, with tourney action set to get underway early this week.

Basketball

RMHS Girls: Really wasn’t a lot of suspense as to which team would wind up with the top seed in the Division II North Sectionals girls bracket, as Reading High’s pristine 20-0 campaign put the matter well beyond question. The top-seeded Lady Rockets will begin tournament play on March 2, at Hawkes Field House, in the quarterfinals against either No. 8 Salem or ninth-seeded Melrose, from the ML Small.

Those two squads will face off on Tuesday at Salem High, with the winner given the bittersweet reward of facing one of the toughest squads in Massachusetts.

Just what trials and tribulations await the Lady Rockets’ eventual opponent? The Boston Globe’s second-ranked team has beaten its foes by just a hair under 30 points per game and the closest game they have played all year resulted in a 9 point win—and that was an isolated incident.

RMHS Boys: The Rockets wrapped up the season as champions of the Middlesex Large School Division at 16-6 and will enter the Division II North Sectionals as the seventh seed. That will set Reading High against Concord-Carlisle in the first-round, which will take place on Tuesday night at Hawkes Field House. Tip-off is penciled in for 7 p.m.

In the Patriots, RMHS will face an opponent whose mid-table finish in the Dual County League Small School Division may be deceiving, as No. 10 CCHS enters the tournament on a three-game winning streak, which it will be looking to extend at the expense of the home team on Tuesday night.

The Patriots are averaging 52.5 points a game, while surrendering an equal amount at the other end. Key wins for Concord-Carlisle include a 56-53 win against DCL Small champs Wayland—in Wayland—on Jan. 27 and a 56-46 decision against DCL Small runners-up Waltham on Feb. 3. The Patriots played once against the Middlesex League this season, resulting in a 61-52 victory over Winchester on Feb. 21.

Hockey

RMHS Boys: The Rockets learned on Saturday that they won’t be joining the Super 8 party this season, but after losing to Woburn on Feb. 18 and managing only a 2-2 draw against Andover in non-league play on Feb. 20, they were no doubt prepared for such an occurrence. Nonetheless, Reading High will still be looking to make some noise in the Division I North bracket, but the Rockets will have to wait until the Super 8 play-in games are over to find out where they are seeded and who they will face.

The play-in games are tomorrow night at Merrimack College, with No. 8 Needham (16-4-1) facing No. 9 St. John’s of Shrewsbury (15-4-3) at 5:45 p.m., followed by No. 7 Burlington against No. 10 Central Catholic at 8:15 p.m.

Austin Prep Boys: The Cougars missed the chance to advance to the final of the Cape Cod Classic on Feb. 20, battling potent BC High to an official 2-2 draw, but losing the shootout, to end the season at 9-6-4 overall and 7-3-1 in the Catholic Central League Large School Division. Like Reading High across town, Austin Prep will be awaiting the results of the Division IA (Super 8) play-in games on Monday to find out where they stand in the Division I North Sectional Tournament bracket. 

Wrestling

RMHS: Nick Makrys took part in the MIAA All-State Wrestling Championships last week at Salem High School, and the RMHS grappler was able to make some noise in the 120 pound bracket. Makrys advanced within one match of the quarterfinal before a narrow 14-10 loss to Billerica’s Nick DeRosa. Makrys defeated Canton’s Quinn Merrigar, 12-8, in the opening round. In the consolation bracket, Makrys was bested by Adan Marquez from Greater Lawrence, who won by pin at 2:27.

Swimming

Austin Prep Girls: The Lady Cougars took part in the Division II State Swimming and Diving Championships on Feb. 21, and came away with some pretty good results.

Freshman Ali Petrozza had a very solid day, earning a third-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:13.38, and a ninth-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:58.36. The Lady Cougars’ relay squads all took part, with the 200-yard medley relay squad of Emily DiFranco, Talia Shuman, Petrozzi and Aileen Kim, finishing 12th, with a time of 2:00.77, while AP’s 200-yard freestyle squad took 13th at 1:48.59. The squad was: Kim, Ashlyn DeRoche, Katherine Miele and Petrozza. Also swimming was the Lady Cougars’ 400-yard freestyle relay team of Kim, DeRoche, Miele and Caitlyn Curley, who finished 19th in their event at 4:03.05.

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