LYNN — The Bishop Fenwick girls basketball team was well aware heading into Lynn that it would have to play a nearly perfect against Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s last night.
The Spartans are one of the top teams in the conference and tensions always run high when these two squads go head-to-head.
Fenwick hung around in the first half with the once beaten Spartans, but the deficit was too much to overcome down the stretch as the Crusaders fell 65-34.
“It’s like the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry from 2003,” Fenwick head coach Adam DeBaggis said of the teams relationship. “Every year it gets more and more serious.
“St. Mary’s plays very physical defense and it was almost impossible for us to simulate that in practice leading up to the game. We did everything I thought we could to prepare. They’re able to finish their baskets and we didn’t.”
The Crusaders (4-5) only found themselves down by eight at one point in the second, but St. Mary’s went on a 14-3 run to close out the half and went into the locker room ahead 37-18.
Fenwick decided to go with four guards to start the game, which seemed to be working early on. DeBaggis put sophomore Sydney Brennan at the point to free up senior Gianna Pizzano, who normally handles that position.
“We tried to take some of the pressure off of Gianna, because St. Mary’s usually has Sharell Sanders cover her,” explained DeBaggis. “Last year in the same game we had trouble getting the ball up the court and kind of had the same problem again in this game.”
Senior guard Jennie Mucciarone scored a game-high 22 points for the Spartans (10-1), while Sanders finished with 18. Sophomore guard and Beverly native Kayla Carter played big minutes for St. Mary’s, adding 13 points on the night.
“We love this type of competition, our schedule is full of teams like St. Mary’s,” said senior captain Kate Lipka. “We go to practice the next day and build from our mistakes.”
Junior Lexi Rose shot the ball well for Fenwick, hitting two three-pointers off inbound passes.
Another bright spot in the Crusaders’ stat sheet was sophomore Colleen Corcoran, who uses every opportunity to make an impact in the game. At 5-foot-10, Corcoran does the majority of the rebounding for her team and is stellar on the offensive boards.
Corcoran was two points shy of her fifth double-double of the season. She finished the night with eight points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
Brennan added seven points, while Lipka contributed with five.
“This is the toughest game we’ve played all year,” said DeBaggis. “They’re one of the best teams in the state. If there’s such a thing as a good 30 point loss, we played hard and we can build off of it. We’ll see them again this season and there’s a chance we’ll see them in the tournament.”