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March 20, 2013

Bounce Passes: This year's answers pose next season's questions

What a season for girls basketball on the North Shore.

For starters, seven of our local teams made it into the state tournament. Masconomet, Danvers and Bishop Fenwick made it to their respective quarterfinal rounds while Salem, Peabody and Hamilton-Wenham battled before falling in first round matchups.

Then there was Ipswich, which made another exceptional run in the Division 3 bracket but couldn’t get past perennial powerhouse Pentucket in the North semifinals. The Tigers (19-4) won their seventh Cape Ann League Small title in 10 seasons and head coach Mandy Carter-Zegarowski even earned her 150th career win behind the IHS bench.

Now that the 2012-13 season is in the history books, the big question is: what’s in store for next season?

Well, for starters, many of our local Northeastern Conference teams stay exactly the same, with only a handful of girls graduating from the teams.

For instance, Danvers will have all of its key components back with the exception of senior captain and leading scorer Kasey Sherry (13 points per game). She also led the area in 3-pointers made with 63 on the season.

Emily McNulty, Ashley Arnoldy, Devon Walsh and Hannah Llewellyn will all return for the Falcons, a team that peaked at the perfect time during the regular season to earn a tournament bid before taking took down NEC rival Gloucester in the first round of the playoffs. I expect that Danvers will make another postseason run next year.

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Also in the NEC Small, Salem will benefit from some time off to grow. The Witches (10-11) were pretty banged up with injuries entering the tournament last month and played with six girls on the roster for the final portion of the regular season.

“No matter what five or combination I had out there, they always fought,” head coach John Fortunato said after a regular season loss to Peabody. “The kids play hard for us, and that’s all I can ask of them.”

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