Millis Girls Quintet Made 2018-19 Season All about Achievement

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Millis girls’ hoop might not have snagged a state title this year, but they set records nevertheless, winning a Tri Valley League championship for the first time in Millis’ basketball history and compiling a record of 23-2.
Issue Date: 
April, 2019
Article Body: 

The girls basketball team at Millis High fell short of winning what could have been the Mohawks’ fourth State championship but their 2018-19 season was definitely one for the record books.
And, their season was truly unique.
Never before in the school’s history had a girls or boys basketball team won a Tri Valley League championship, and never before had a squad compiled a record of 23-2. Also, in Dave Fallon’s 12 seasons as the Mohawks’ coach, they’ve won three State crowns and six Sectional titles. During the last six years, his teams have won five Sectionals.
For the post-season record, Millis won four Division 3 Sectional games, capturing that championship by defeating David Prouty, Northbridge, Millbury and Sutton. Their State tourney appearance at American International College in Springfield ended with a loss to Hoosac Valley.
The Millis girls, however, left an indelible memory by turning their 2018-19 season into one of achievement.
“We’re proud of what we accomplished,’’ Fallon said. “It was a season of great success. The girls worked hard and played to their potential. We’re still the smallest school in the TVL, but to win the league title and to have the best record in school history speaks to how dynamic the season was.’’
The Mohawks were at their best when they utilized an up-tempo offensive style and employed half-court or full-court pressure on defense. And, their strengths were obvious.
“We had athleticism, depth at guard and a good mix of experience,’’ Fallon emphasized. “Our players have high basketball IQs, their court awareness is very good and their close-knit nature was a big asset. They bought into their roles and their priority was to win, not to compile statistics.’’
Winning the sixth Sectional crown in Fallon’s 12 years generated some big smiles, and the coach was humbled by the achievement. Although pleased with the outcome, he was more delighted for his players.
“I’m happy for the girls,’’ he emphasized. “They’ve carved out their own path. They’re the ones who did the work and put in the time. It’s a long season, and I’m glad they won a Sectional title.’’
Each of the four teams Millis faced presented different challenges but the Mohawks were able to continually adjust. “Millbury was our closest game,’’ Fallon said. “They were physical and they played a tough man-to-man defense. The key to beating them was our execution on offense. In the other three games, our defense carried us, much the way it did during the regular season where we finished 19-1.’’
Fallon credits focusing on one game at a time and embracing team chemistry as the intangible assets that enabled Millis to soar through the Sectional. “Our mantra all year was to look at what was on our plate, not what teams we’d face later,’’ he said. “And, our kids meshed and built superb team chemistry. They compromised, were willing to listen, and they paid the price for success.’’
Capturing the school’s first TVL Small Division championship was a major achievement. The Mohawks went unbeaten at 10-0 in the division and clinched the title by defeating Medway.
“It was awesome to go undefeated,’’ said Fallon. “The girls were focused, and they also were consistent. Our last four TVL games, in order, were against Westwood, Medfield, Medway and Dedham. We defeated Westwood but suffered our only regular-season loss against Medfield. Both those games were against Large Division teams. We then beat Medway for the championship and finished league play by downing Dedham. All four of those teams qualified for the playoffs.’’
Looking to the future, the Mohawks should be able to maintain their success. Three starters will return, and the squad will have experience and leadership. “A culture of expectation has been created,’’ Fallon concluded.