Bulldogs shoot their way to state championship game

Mar 12, 2024

WORCESTER — Old Rochester Regional High School junior Zack Mourao scored 27 points, making five 3-pointers, to lead the Bulldogs to a 82-72 win over Pittsfield High School in the MIAA Div. 3 state semifinals on Monday, March 11 at Worcester State University.

With the victory, Old Rochester advances to the state championship game for the first time since 2015.

Junior John Butler added 26 points of his own for the Bulldogs, with 17 coming after the halftime break.

Old Rochester has now won 13 straight games since falling to Wareham High School nearly two months ago, but none meant more than this one.

A year ago, Old Rochester lost to St. Mary’s in the Final Four.

“It’s not easy to get back — Getting by this round, especially against a very athletic Pittsfield team, is very rewarding,” said Old Rochester head coach Steve Carvalho. “I’m proud of the kids, we played our basketball and they did a great job tonight.”

With the Bulldogs leading 65-49 in the fourth quarter, Mourao drilled a deep 3-pointer, which Butler immediately followed with one of his own to give the Bulldogs a commanding 22-point lead.

Pittsfield then went on an 11-3 scoring run to close the gap, but it was too little too late for the Generals.

“John has carried us a lot this year, Zack Mourao flies a little under the radar,” said Carvalho. “Zack is a real definitive threat [from behind the 3-point line,] and plays great defense. That combination was a little too much for Pittsfield.”

Mourao picked up where he left off after the Bulldogs’ Elite Eight victory over Dover-Sherborn, where he made six 3-pointers. He has now led the Bulldogs in scoring in three straight games.

Similarly to their win over Dover-Sherborn, the Bulldogs started the game authoritatively, leading 25-15 after the first quarter. Mourao wasted little time getting involved, scoring 10 points in the first quarter alone.

In the second quarter, Pittsfield found a way to slow down the Bulldogs, holding Old Rochester to just 11 points.

It was still anyone's game at halftime with Old Rochester leading 36-28, but the Bulldogs scored the first seven points of the third quarter, which gave them enough momentum needed to hold the lead for the remainder of the game.

“I thought my kids were composed, hung in there enough and persevered,” said Carvalho.

Chase Besancon added 17 points for the Bulldogs and Gavin Martin scored 8 points.

The Bulldogs will play  Charlestown High School in the MIAA Div. 3 state championship game at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Saturday, March 16 at 4 p.m.