Raiders fans have a busy weekend, with two teams playing in North Section finals – the boys’ hockey team and the girl’s basketball team.
Friday night, the Watertown boys’ hockey team faces Bedford at the Chelmsford Forum in the MIAA Div. 3 North Section final. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m.
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Watertown head coach Mike Hayes said his team has really come together this year.
“It’s a family out there,” he said. “They play for each other. As a coach you try to build that. I am so proud of them.”
The players have flourished by not being in the spotlight, as they were last year, Hayes said.
“Last year we were 13-2-5 , this year 10-3-2,” Hayes said. “It’s only a three game swing but no body bothered us. We did not get a phone call from a paper or anything. It was great because they were able to focus.”
Last season the Raiders came into the tournament as the top seed in the North Section, but lost in the section semis to Wayland. This year, they beat the same team in the semis, despite Watertown coming in as the seventh seed.
Now Watertown is two wins away from the TD Garden and the state final. Bedford (13-6-3) is seeded below the Raiders at No. 8, but have beat top seeded Newton South on the way to the section final.
Watertown is the top remaining Div. 3 team in Eastern Massachusetts left, according to the ESPN Boston poll while the Boston Herald rates Norwell and Hanover ahead of the Raiders and the Boston Globe has Norwell in its top 20 but not the Raiders.
Watertown’s girls’ basketball squad returns to Lowell for the third straight year to play in the North Section final, but the Raiders and head coach Pat Ferdinand hope the result comes out differently this year.
On Saturday at 2 p.m. the top seeded and undefeated Raiders play second seeded Pentucket, which has only one loss this season.
Pentucket, from the Cape Ann League, is a familiar team for Watertown. In 2011 Pentucket beat Watertown in the first round of the tournament. More recently, Pentucket ended Watertown’s season, beating the Raiders 38-24 in the 2o13 Div. 3 North Section final.
“They are tough – well coached,” Ferdinand said. “They have an excellent guard over there. and they are very quick to the ball. It’s going to be a battle. Hopefully we can be better than we were the last time we played them.”
Pentucket senior guard Kelsi McNamara passed the 1,000-point mark this season.
Ferdinand said his Watertown team is dangerous when they are executing.
“Anybody can step up at any time, whoever is on the floor,” Ferdinand said. “We are hard to guard.”
A win would mean a trip to the Garden for the EMass final.