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Rockland’s Elie sisters star in win over East Bridgewater


Chris McDaniel
 
| The Enterprise

ROCKLAND — The last name Elie has kept many South Shore League high school girls basketball coaches awake at night. 

Rockland High’s Julia Elie, a junior captain, has been terrorizing the league for three years with a versatile and ever-evolving game. Her back-to-the basket game was on full display in Monday’s 47-19 win over East Bridgewater in the first round of the South Shore League Cup as she scored 25 points in three quarters of work. 

The Bulldogs advance to play top-seeded Norwell in the semifinals on Wednesday.

“Fortunately for Rockland, she’s back again (next year),” said first-year EB coach Stephen Moore. “Unfortunately for us, she’s back again. She’s a tough player. She can shoot, she can dribble and definitely has some fantastic post moves. She’s a nightmare to match up against.”

Don’t expect that nightmare to end any time soon. Maggie Elie, a freshman, is a spitting image of her older sister, Caroline, who was a two-time league player of the year and was the point guard on last year’s Division 3 South Sectional champion team. The younger Elie, who only scored 3 points but wowed with some of her 5 assists, is growing into the role her older sister held and led the Bulldogs to new heights while starring in. 

“Maggie’s finally coming into her own,” said Rockland coach Diana Newcomb. “I think whenever you have a point guard that can be effective and take control of a game you always have a good chance to win or be in that game. Compared to the beginning of the year Maggie wasn’t ready for that. 

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“She’s really let defenses see what she can do and she can pass the ball as we can see, she can get to basket and she’s been stepping out and hitting some threes.”

The younger Elie shined in the first half. She assisted on four consecutive Rockland buckets to older sister. On the last one, Maggie Elie was able to wrap her around arms behind an EB defender to make a pass find her older sister for an easy layup. 

Maggie Elie’s lone score was a 3-pointer off a feed from Julia to end the half with the Bulldogs up 27-9. 

“I love playing with her, seeing her growing throughout the season and becoming a better player,” Julia Elie said of Maggie. “Stepping into the point guard position as a freshman, she’s just been playing so well.” 

Julia Elie scored 21 of Rockland’s 27 first-half points. Most of her scores came off post moves and she converted one 3-pointer.

“I like to play in the post because I get to see the whole offensive floor,” said Julia Elie. “I can get the ball one-on-one or if they double down I can get the kick out to my teammates. I have a lot of options.”

The Vikings initially tried to slow down Rockland’s other shooters, but Julia Elie got into a groove early. She scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Bulldogs led 13-2 after one quarter. Sydney Blaney, a sophomore who finished with 8 points, scored the other 3 points.

“What makes Julia be effective is having people that can play around her because if we had people that couldn’t hit shots or weren’t part of the offense then everyone would be able to double- and triple-team her,” said Newcomb. “What we saw tonight, they didn’t double- and triple-team, they took away the extra pass and Julia got her one-on-one looks.”

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Rockland lost both of its regular-season games against Norwell. Newcomb missed the first game and Julia Elie was injured in the opening minutes of the second game.

“I absolutely love it,” said Newcomb. “Whenever we play Norwell, no matter what, it’s going to be a good, hard-fought game. That’s how it’s been for the nine years I’ve been here. We’ve never had much of anything else. They owned us the first two games they played us this year.”

The Vikings finish the year at 6-6 but will only graduate one senior, Emma Brown (2 points on Monday). EB had some growing pains with a young roster and a new coach.

“We’re definitely a work in progress right now,” said Moore. “We definitely have some talented players coming back but we’ve got a long ways to go and it showed tonight against a veteran team, a well-coached team. We’ve got a long way to go before we can compare ourselves to the Rocklands, the Norwells, the Middleboros and the Cohassets.”

Junior Caroline Toomey scored a team-high 5 points while grabbing 8 rebounds. Junior Allie Pechulis (3 points), junior captain Erin Condon (2), junior Haley Murphy (3) and sophomore Lauren McBirney (4) rounded out the EB scoring.

Rockland senior Carolayne Lage scored 4 points, both buckets coming off strong drives to the rim.

“We’ll be back stronger next year,” said Moore. 

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