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March 21, 2014

Bounce Passes: Masconomet kept tournament tradition rolling along

Masconomet has proven itself in the state tournament time and time again over the years.

The Chieftains have kept one of the North Shore’s longest playoff streaks alive this winter after qualifying for the postseason for the 30th year in a row. In more recent times, Masconomet has gone 16-11 in the tournament under head coach Bob Romeo, who earned his 200th win earlier in 2013-14.

Each year brings a new set of challenges, but the Chieftains seem always to be a constant. They’re almost a sure lock for a tourney berth no matter what personnel Romeo has to work with.

This year’s group of seniors was something special. A unique group of girls, Hannah Kiernan, Nicole Femino, Lexie Nason, Meg Letvinchuk and Janelle Shea, caught Romeo’s attention early on in their basketball careers.

”Two years ago at tryouts, when Brooke Stewart was playing, everybody knew that team was going to be fabulous,” explained Romeo. “I said to my daughter (and assisted coach) Danielle, that in two years when these sophomores are seniors, we’re going to be terrific. “I could see their work ethic and their talent. They did not disappoint; they were terrific.”

The Chieftains (21-2) earned the Cape Ann League title for the first time since 2008 this winter as Kiernan and Femino were named co-MVPs of the league for their 13-plus points per game.

”They have very similar stats and took turns putting the team on their back, either individually or together as they combined to score 30 of our 38 second half points in the come-from-behind win against Newburyport,” Romeo said of Kiernan and Femino. “When the game was on the line, I was looking to have either of them to make big plays.”

Masconomet was a game shy of returning to the Tsongas Center for the North final for the second time in three years. The Chieftains led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter of the Division 1 North semifinal against top-seeded Central Catholic, but the Raiders managed a late second half push, trumping Masco’s chances of a shot at a Division 1 North title. It was the fifth time since moving up to Division 1 in 2010 that Masconomet was ousted from the tournament by a Merrimack Valley Conference team (twice by Central and Andover, and last season to Billerica).

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