The undefeated Prospect Hill Academy Lady Wizards will take their perfect record of 16-0 into post-season play on Friday, March 4, at 4 pm at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of U Mass Boston. This will kick-off the quarter-finals of the 2015-2016 Massachusetts Charter School Athletic Organization (MCSAO) Girls’ Basketball State Tournament. Their opponent will be the winner of a preliminary round contest between two high schools from Hyde Park—the Academy of the Pacific Rim (9-3) and Boston Prep (8-4).
The Lady Wizards are led by Niah Carvalho, a starting Senior forward, and coached by Brian Harris, who is in his fourth season at the helm after 18 campaigns at Somerville High School. Rounding out the PHA starting five are Junior guard Agar Felix, Sophomore small forward Fabiana Paul, Freshman center Kaleesha Joseph and Freshman guard Ashley Cadet. Carvalho and Paul anchor the defense for the Lady Wizards who are holding teams to fewer than 22 points per game. Felix, Joseph and Cadet are the team’s three leading scorers and combine for over 30 points per contest on a team that averages almost 50 points per game. All three are returning all-stars and have again been nominated for those same honors this year.
Additionally, PHA boasts a strong and long bench of specialists who can spell the starters when needed for short or long stretches. These reserves include, but are not limited to, Sarah Blaise, a fleet-footed Senior forward and scorer, Marley Durham, a Junior guard and shut down 1-on-1 defender who excels on the soccer field, Tracy Beauvois, a Junior rebound-machine forward with three point shooting range, Imani Dottin, a Sophomore center who controls the defensive middle and Sarah Merina, a Sophomore guard who has moments of dominance on both sides of the ball. Also contributing when called upon are Karenah Harewood, a senior; Thais Valesquez , Katelynne Quinones, Carla Minoche and Semhar Habtom, all sophomores and Fatima Benmimoun, a freshman.
Assisting Harris with coaching duties at PHA are John Collins, Correen (Roby) Demers and Sarah Wickham on the varsity team, Nayahra Resendes on the junior varsity team and Katie Harris on the middle school team. Collins followed Harris from Somerville High to Prospect Hill. Demers and Katie Harris played for the coach at Somerville High. Resendes is a PHA graduate. Wickham recently moved to Somerville after a college basketball career at the University of Tampa in Florida.
PHA is the #1 seed in Division 1 of the MCSAO. Other schools representing Division I in the tournament in their order of finish are KIPP Academy (Lynn), Pioneer Charter School of Science (Everett), Foxborough Reginal Charter (Foxboro), Boston Collegiate (Boston) and South School Charter Public (Norwell). In addition to Pacific Rim and Boston Prep, Division 2 of the MCSAO will be represented by Kennedy Health Careers (Boston), Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School (Holyoke), Community Charter School of Cambridge and Pioneer Charter School of Science II (Saugus).
papThe winner of Friday’s tilt will be back at U Mass Boston on Saturday, March 5, for a tournament semi-final game that will start at 1:30 pm.