All too often, over the course of the two-and-a-half month regular season, big wins can get overshadowed by insignificant losses or midseason blunders.
Throughout the lengthy schedule contests sometimes seem to roll right into one another, while others stand out above the rest.
As the state tournament fast approaches and some teams continue to make that extra push towards a playoff berth, lets take an opportunity to check back in on some of our team’s most noteworthy victories of the winter.
For a squads with six seniors on the roster, it’s easy to get complacent in your duties. That’s never the case for captain Carolyn Scacchi, though. The 6-foot-2 forward starred in Tuesday’s 75-48 win over Salem on Senior Night, scoring a game-high 22 points with seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
“Carolyn’s been doing this for the past five games in a row,” said Peabody head coach Jane Heil. “If our games at 7, she’s ready to play at 5:30.”
Scacchi’s Tanners haven’t recorded back-to-back losses all season — and you can see why. They’re the type of team that shuts the door on losses once they’ve happened and move on to the next task at hand.
It was a season high in points for Peabody three nights ago in what could be its final home game of the season..
One of the youngest teams in the Northeastern Conference, the Witches have had their share of ups and downs. But one high point stands out above the rest: a 38-37 victory over Beverly earlier this month. It was Salem’s most team-oreinted win of the season.
After starters Brianna Rodriguez and Jaclyn Panneton fouled out late in the game, junior captain Rachael Zipper stepped to the foul line with her team trailing by a point and just seconds remaining and made both shots to win the game.
“Beverly is our big rival and this is such a great win for us,” said Panneton after the game. “Every game this season has been tough, but we’ve fought back. It feels good that we were able to pull it out.”
Danvers has had several impressive wins: 35-31 over Marblehead last month and Tuesday’s 44-41 tournament-clinching win over Gloucester come to mind. Their best, however, was against Peabody, 45-33, at the end of January.
The Falcons were coming off back-to-back losses against Revere and Methuen and needed to something to jump start the rest of their season. So sophomore Hannah Llewellyn hit five 3-pointers and scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, while freshman Lauren McKinnon was 4-for-4 from the free throw line and grabbed nine rebounds to topple the Tanners.
“It’s the most significant win since I took over in 2007,” head coach Pat Veilleux said after the game. “To be able to do what we did to the team we did it to at the time we did it was amazing.”
The Panthers started off the 2013-14 campaign a little rocky, but managed to string together a four-game winning streak in January. Then earlier this month, Beverly put up the most points it had all season by defeating Lynn Classical, 62-59, at home.
Senior Bridget Keaton netted four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 18 points in that contest while Freshman Natalie Mellinger contributed 13 points to the win, including three 3-pointers.
Beverly earned two more wins since that night, including another against Classical and Tuesday’s road win over Revere. The Panthers have three games remaining and need to win all three in order to qualify for the state tournament
The Big Blue’s 47-46 over Marblehead was not only their biggest road win of the year, it was their best second half performance in a game. Sophomore forward Olivia Cooke made a free throw with under 10 seconds left to put the Big Blue up by one. The Magicians had the last possession and hit the shot, but it was waved off as time had already expired.
“At halftime I challenged the girls to trust each other and play with confidence,” said Swamspcott head coach Abrom Roberts. “We definitely played better as a team in the second half.”
The Big Blue outscored Marblehead 12-9 in the third quarter, which got the momentum going in Swampscott’s favor down the stretch. Freshman Jaymie Caponigro (16 points) and senior captain Jacqueline Walsh (20 points) led the way in scoring.
For the first time since 2012, the Magicians have earned a spot in the state tournament. Under new head coach Wayne Hanscom, Mabrlehead has flourished from the start of the season.
That’s why I’ve chosen their season opner as their best win, a 54-28 victory over Saugus. Senior captains Emily Freedland (16 points, 5 steals, 4 assists) and McKenna Barrett (11 points) both made their presence felt. Point guard Mia Bongiorno added six points and five assists, while Sara Snedecki and freshman Lindsay Walker each finished with six.
The Magicians went on to win the next three games to put together their longest win streak of the season.
There are many intricate parts that have gone into making the Chieftains the Cape Anne League champions this season. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which one Masconomet’s 17 wins was the best — especially after recent come from behind victories against Hamilton-Wenham and Newburyport in a four-day span.
That honor, however, has to go to last Monday’s win over Pentucket. The Chieftains had beaten the Sachems already this season, but Pentucket had been riding a 10-game win streak when Masco came into West Newbury. The last time the Chieftains had won in there was 2005. But they did it as a late free throw by senior captain Hannah Kiernan kept Masco’s record blemish-free in a 39-38 victory.
The Generals have had similar CAL rivalry with Pentucket. Hamilton-Wenham put an end to the Sachems’ 33-game win streak within the league after a 40-38 victory back in December.
The defensive minded Generals held Pentucket to 19 points in the first half. Suz Rose had 10 points, 10 assists and eight steals, while Sam Charrette earned a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Molly Eagar finished with nine points and 10 steals in a complete team effort against the reigning CAL champions.
“We had a some girls get in foul trouble late, but everybody contributed,” said Hamilton-Wenham head coach Jon DeMarco after that win. “We didn’t miss a beat. We had 10 different girls that stepped up in a crucial point in the game.”
Bishop Fenwick (9-8)
The Crusaders, who need two more wins to clinch a playoff spot, had a tough two-point loss to Notre Dame Hingham earlier in the year. The Crusaders avenged it, though, returning the favor down in Hingham with a 64-37 blowout victory. It was the third win in as many games for Fenwick. Senior captains Kate Lipka and Gianna Pizzano each dropped in 16 points, while sophomore center Colleen Corcoran added 13 in the victory.
The Crusaders’ schedule as been packed with talented opponents, but they’ve held their own against their Catholic Central League foes.
The Tigers went through some big changes this season, starting with head coach Dot Stanley stepping down after the first game. Long-time softball coach and former boys basketball coach Doug Woodworth stepped in and has guided the young squad to just below .500.
They’ve had their stretches of tough games against Pentucket, Masconomet and Hamilton-Wenham, but Ipswich has made it through and even managed to string a few wins together along the way. Its most successful victory came against Amesbury at the end of last month after topping the Indians, 61-49.
The Tigers outscored Amesbury 23-6 in the third quarter to take control of the game. Sophomore Jenna Gagnon (14 points), junior Jordan Morrissey (14 points) and Nikki Pignone (16 points) did the bulk of the scoring in the win.
North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie has a chance to clinch a share of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference championship title with a win over Minuteman this afternoon. The Hawks currently stand at 9-9 and not only have a shot a the conference crown, but also an opportunity to qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2011.
Many of our teams will take part in end-of-the-season tournaments over the long weekend.
Masconomet and Ipswich will be playing the St. Mary’s Spartan Classic on Sunday and Monday.
Hamilton-Wenham is hosting their own tournament, which will feature locals Bishop Fenwick and Beverly as well as Hingham.
Peabody is playing in the Tanner Tournament in Woburn. Peabody will open the tourney against Chelmsford and have a chance to play either Woburn or Somerville in the final round.
A speedy and healthy recovery goes out to long-time Peabody assistant coach Bob Heil, who is in the hospital recuperating after surgery. All of the Tanners, especially his wife and head coach Jane Heil, have missed his presence on the bench.
Bounce Passes, a column on North Shore girls basketball, runs in The Salem News every Friday during the winter season. Contact Gianna Addario at GAddario@salemnews.com, 978-338-2615 and follow her on Twitter @GiannaAddarioSN.
2013 GIRLS BASKETBALL SCORING LEADERS Name, School Games Played Points Average 1. Nicole Femino, Masconomet 17 240 14.1 2. Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody 16 218 13.6 3. Jenna Gagnon, Ipswich 15 196 13.1 4. Hannah Kiernan, Masconomet 17 221 13.0 5. Colleen Corcoran, Fenwick 17 215 12.6 6. Gianna Pizzano, Fenwick 17 193 11.4 7. Emily Freedland, Marblehead 17 193 11.4 8. Sam Charette, Hamilton-Wenham 17 190 11.2 9. Haley Willis, Hamilton-Wenham 16 165 10.3 10. Jaclyn Panneton, Salem 13 132 10.2 Three-point leaders: Hannah Llewellyn, Danvers 37; Kate Lipka, Bishop Fenwick 29; Emily Freedland, Marblehead 26; Melissa Gray, Peabody 23; Haley Willis, Hamilton-Wenham 24.