TOPSFIELD — Ever since the Masconomet girls basketball team moved up to the Division 1 ranks four years ago, Andover has staked its claim as the Chieftains’ main nemesis come tournament time.
The Golden Warriors sent Masconomet home at the Tsongas Arena two years ago, and since then it’s been the Chieftains mission to return the favor.
Therefore, the host Chieftains understood what they were going up against Saturday night. They scrimmaged Andover in the preseason, watched film and even took in the Golden Warriors’ first round victory over Lynn Classical last Thursday night. So to say the Chieftains were ready for this quarterfinals matchup would’ve been an understatement.
For the first time in school history, Masconomet was able to walk off the court victorious over Andover after a landmark 52-47 win.
”We got to see exactly how they play and how we had to approach the game,” said Masconomet junior Kate Kitsakos, who had a game-high 18 points. “Most of preparation was on defense and we each had a different role.”
The win sends the Chieftains (21-1) to the Division 1 North semifinals Wednesday, where they will take on another Merrimack Valley Conference powerhouse, Central Catholic, at Lawerence High (7 p.m.).
Masco’s defensive presence was felt early on as it held Andover (16-6) to just four points in the second quarter.
The other big difference in the game was Kitsakos’ heroics, down to her final steal of the game as the buzzer sounded. Kitsakos added four rebounds and two other steals to get her team to the next round.
”She was everywhere, just phenomenal,” Masconomet head coach Bob Romeo said of Kitsakos. “Kate has been tremendous this year and doesn’t get enough recognition for what she does. What she was able to do, covering Colleen Caveney and getting her 18 points — just crazy hustle.”