PEABODY — First they had a local legend get the crowd roaring with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. Then the Bishop Fenwick girls basketball team did what they do best: take advantage of any opportunities their opponents give them.
After the famous Rene Rancourt belted out the National Anthem before the game, the Crusaders took off and running from the opening tipoff on, blasting Gloucester, 62-24, on Senior Night.
The bandbox gym at Fenwick is far smaller than his usual stage on the ice at TD Garden before most Boston Bruins home games, but Rancourt delighted the large crowd with a terrific rendition. He signed pictures and pucks in the foyer before the game, posed for pictures and let fans to try on his Stanley Cup ring.
“This is my first time here at Bishop Fenwick and it’s great,” said Rancourt. “I’ve done weddings without any microphone; my voice carries.”
Once the game started, the outcome was never in doubt. Fenwick ran off the first 12 points and had a commanding 17-7 lead after the first quarter.
The Crusaders finished the regular season with a 13-8 record and now await seedings for the Division 3 North state tournament.
“This was a big game for our girls,” said coach Adam DeBaggis. “We’ve been playing really well lately and didn’t want to have a letdown. There was one brief point early in the third quarter when I thought we were getting a little sloppy, but I called a time out and the girls picked it up again. We played to our potential, and that’s so important heading into the tournament.
“I’m hoping we’ll get a bye in the first round because there are so few teams that qualified in our division. We’d love to get a home game, but whatever happens we’ll be ready.”