| The Patriot Ledger
QUINCY — Tuesday night’s girls basketball city showdown at Quincy High featured a pregame ceremony honoring former Presidents star Ally McMorrow, who was presented with an updated banner for the gym that added her name to the list of the school’s career 1,000-point scorers.
It’s early, but you have to wonder if there’s a similar ceremony looming way down the road for North Quincy’s Orlagh Gormley.
The standout freshman guard — her first name is pronounced OR-la — has burst onto the scene this winter, and Tuesday was her best performance yet, a 31-point blitz that carried the Raiders to a 66-31 road win.
“She’s been lighting it up for us since Day 1, when we played in the summer,” senior guard Fallon Hobin raved. “She doesn’t show any hesitation.”
The hype train is indeed headed out of the station, so you’d better hurry if you want to get on board.
“She’s the best freshman I’ve seen come out of Quincy, ever. Ever,” NQ coach Paul Bregoli said, repeating himself for emphasis. “She’s going to be a Division 1 (college) player, I think.
“Everyone knows about Orlagh Gormley. All the coaches in the league know about her already. She’s special.”
No disagreement from Quincy first-year coach Sarah Conlon, who started her postgame chat with a reporter by offering this opening statement of sorts. “So,” she said with a laugh, “I can tell you how good Orlagh is.”
Gormley had 12 of North Quincy’s 14 points in the first quarter, went scoreless in the second and then poured in 14 in the third.
“She’s tough,” Conlon said. “She scores at all three levels, which is something you don’t see in a high school player. She can get to the rim, she can pull up and she can hit from three. And she really makes them go offensively and defensively.”
Gormley’s emergence has revitalized an NQ program that had missed the MIAA playoffs for the last six seasons. Teaming her with Hobin, a returning Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic whom Bregoli calls “our leader,” gives the Raiders (2-2) two adept ball-handlers who can score.
“(It makes it) much easier” on me, said Hobin, who had a solid game with 14 points. “(Gormley) finds open looks for everyone on the team. If you move and get open, she’ll find you. It’s awesome. She definitely helps us all out.”
Gormley’s quiet second quarter was the result of foul trouble. She sat out the second half of the frame after picking up her second. Hobin, held scoreless in the first quarter, picked up the slack by generating 9 of NQ’s 13 points in the second.
Gormley was back for the third and wasted no time, scoring on three straight possessions early on — a three from the top of the key, a nice spin move in the lane, and another drive. She later added a scoop shot (a high degree of difficulty), another straight-on trey and an inside basket.
“What amazes me is her explosiveness to the basket,” Bregoli said. “And now she’s developed a shot, so people can’t sag on her. If they take the dribble drive away, she can stick it (from the outside). She had two threes tonight. That’s big for her.”
NQ, which also got 10 points from Molly Toland, blew the game open by ending the third quarter on a 14-0 run for a 48-28 lead.
“That was the game right there,” said Conlon, whose team fell to 1-5. “Closing out quarters has been an issue. We are pretty young. We have six seniors, but we have a lot of people that are getting their first varsity minutes. It doesn’t surprise me. I’m not thrilled by it, but it doesn’t surprise me. We just have to learn from it, bounce back and get better at it, become a little tougher each time that it happens.”
Caroline Tracey led Quincy with 9 points (all in the first quarter), and Antenella Ibrahim added 8 points in an energetic effort that included six free throws. Conlon also credited Mary Saccoach (5 points) for working “tirelessly.”
“Everybody put themselves out there in bursts, but we just couldn’t seem to pull it together as a group,” said Conlon. “Not bad individual efforts, just not unified.”
Quincy was coming off its first win of the season, over Plymouth South. The Presidents came close against Pembroke (33-30 loss) and Hanover (51-43 loss) and are hoping for better results down the road.
“We’ve been fortunate to have as many games as we’ve had,” Conlon said. “I’m excited that we’re here. I’m thrilled that at least we’re getting to play.”
North Quincy, meanwhile, could be even better than .500, but the Raiders lost to Pembroke on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and couldn’t hold a second-half lead against Hanover.
“We could be (4-0),” Bregoli said, “but we’re not.”
Still, with Gormley and Hobin (a former Quincy High player who beat her old team for the first time in three tries) as twin engines, and junior guard Kiera Sleiman back in the fold after a sophomore-year detour to indoor track, NQ could be building something.
“If we had a longer season we’d be really good because they’re developing every day, they’re getting better every day,” Bregoli said. “They work hard in practice. They like each other. There’s no selfishness; you saw it out there tonight. They just want to win. And it’s been a while for us.”