The defending state champion Cathedral girls basketball team was on what seemed like an unstoppable charge through their division to recapture the crown.
The No. 2-ranked team in the state was named a favorite to dominate the division going into the sectional playoffs. Entering the postseason, Cathedral racked up seemingly effortless wins versus Monomoy (77-38), Old Colony (78-30), Westport (73-54), and then Carver (86-61) to secure the South Sectional D4 championship title.
Return of starting senior guard Ariana Vanderhoop ‘20, having recovered from a second ACL tear, certainly aided the already strong team. “Ariana is a young lady who for the first time in her four years was able to play a full season due to her injuries,” said Head Coach Clinton Lassiter. Going into the state semifinal to face Matignon, the Cathedral players were headed to familiar territory: the parquet at TD Garden. A 61-37 “W” at the Garden earned the Panthers their fifth appearance in six years at the final state championship match.
The 21-4 Panthers were planning on facing their final opponent of the year—Maynard (20-4)—in Worcester on Saturday, March 14. Instead, precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced it had canceled the state finals in both basketball and hockey in the interest of everyone’s safety.
“We understand the safety and precautionary measures that had to be taken. Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of our student athletes for their dedication, hard work, and their mental and physical toughness displayed from start to end of the season,” said Coach Lassiter.
The Cathedral High School girls varsity basketball team was named MIAA State Co-Champions alongside their scheduled opponent, sharing the crown but taking home one nonetheless for the fourth time in five years.
“Despite the understandable disappointment of having their state final canceled, the Cathedral girls led a remarkable season and have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments,” said Head of School Dan Carmody. “They were an incredibly fun, unselfish team to watch and root for.”
Following the unprecedented season, the girls received some additional recognition for their stellar performance. The Boston Globe named Mackenzie Daleba ‘20 one of its Athletes of the Year—for the second consecutive year—and added Vanderhoop to its All-Scholastics lineup. The Catholic Central League, of which CHS is a member school, honored Daleba as the League MVP. Kiara Ansley-Hinds ‘20, Ciana Gibson ‘22, and Vanderhoop also joined the CCL All-Stars roster.