---- — There’s a bit of anticipation heading into tonight’s 8th Annual Masconomet Holiday Tournament.
The Chieftains, who remain undefeated thus far on the season and look to uphold their holiday tourney championship title, will face one of their toughest competitors on their schedule tonight, taking on the reigning Cape Ann League champions from Pentucket.
“This is one that’s been circled on the schedule,” said Masconomet head coach Bob Romeo. “We really look forward to this one. It’s a measuring stick for us. They’ve had their way with us the past couple of seasons.
“Pentucket has been at the top of the league for a for few years now and until someone knocks them off, they’re going to stay at the top of the mountain.”
The Sachems (1-2) have a different look to them this season after the standout trio of Tess Nogueira, Coley Viselli and Alex Moore graduated. Without any seniors on this year’s roster, Pentucket will build around its youth, most notably junior Kelsi McNamara.
“They’re a young team,” Romeo noted. “It’s an adjustment to play at the varsity level when you never have before. They’ll be a different team in another month and a half, with more experience.”
Nicole Femino, Hannah Kiernan and Meghan Collins lead the way for Masconomet. They’ve been playing together for quite some time now and have been able to develop an excellent rhythm.
Masco has also brought in two freshmen this season, Stephanie Mini (5-foot-11) and Grace Fahey (5-foot-9). They’ve played valuable minutes and are both averaging 5.5 points per game.
While most teams have already played four games this season, the Chieftains have only two games under their belts. This will be an eventful two weeks as they face Hamilton-Wenham, which just defeated Pentucket, on Monday and then square off against undefeated Newburyport on Friday.
Masco and Pentucket (1-2) face-off in the second game of tonight’s doubleheader, while locals Beverly and Bishop Fenwick play at 5:30.
This is the second straight season that Beverly and Fenwick will participate in the tourney, as the Crusaders fell to Masco in the championship game last year.
“Fenwick has a good team over there,” said Romeo. “They were one of the favorites in the summer league. A lot of the girls from the volleyball team play basketball and they just understand winning, it’s natural to them. It’s important to know how to win.”
The Crusaders play a tough schedule in the Catholic Central League, but they’re looking to prepare themselves for the postseason in February. Right now, however, they’re aiming to win this weekend’s tournament.
“There’s some great competition in this tournament,” said Fenwick head coach Adam DeBaggis. “I’ve missed these home town tournaments. It’s always tough for us to play good teams, but its so much more gratifying to win those types of games.”
Swampscott and Danvers will also be participating in a tournament this weekend. They’ll play in today’s Malden Golden Tornado Club Tournament. Danvers will play Wakefield at 1:30, while the Big Blue take on Malden at 5:30.
Marblehead has had an outstanding start to its season. Under new head coach Wayne Hanscom, the Magicians are an impressive 4-0, knocking off Saugus, Swampscott, Everett and Gloucester already.
Hanscom said after the win in Swampscott that the girls were looking to score 55 points in a game. In its next two games Marblehead topped its opponents, 72-35 and 65-28. Suffice to say, the Magicians reached one of their goals this season.
Marblehead will play, perhaps, its toughest competition of the season next Friday against Winthrop.
Hamilton-Wenham arguably got the win of the season this past Monday night. After three of the Generals players fouled out, the team rallied down the stretch and topped Pentucket, 40-38. The Sachems’ 33 game win streak in Cape Ann League play came to a halt.
“We know Pentucket is a good team,” said head coach Jon DeMarco. “They’re well coached and play a very good defensive game. We just try to play the same way ever night. We’re going to press the entire game it doesn’t matter who our opponent is.
“The season is going really well and we’ve been making a lot of progress. It’s about getting better every day. We fixed some of those mistakes we made against Newburyport and it helped against Pentucket. I think we’ll be better in game 20 than we were in game three.”
The Generals bring a strong, defensive game, which has a lot of teams in dismay.
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 Pts. Avg. 1. Hannah Llewellyn, Danvers 2 29 14.5 2. Emily Freedland, Marblehead 4 56 14 3. Colleen Corcoran, Fenwick 4 54 13.5 4. Sam Charette, Hamilton-Wenham 4 52 13 5. Nicole Femino, Masconomet 2 26 13 6. Jenna Gagnon, Ipswich 2 25 12.5 7. Mia Bongiorno, Marblehead 4 49 12.3 8. Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody 3 35 11.6 9. Hannah Kiernan, Masconomet 2 22 11 10. Meghan Collins, Masconomet 2 21 10.5 Note: Leaders include players from The Salem News coverage area only and games played as of Dec. 26, 2013.