By Gianna Addario
---- — SWAMPSCOTT — Swampscott’s first year head coach Abrom Roberts has been stressing the importance of team defense. The Big Blue have stuck to their elite status on the defensive end of the court, but last night it was their offense that won them the game.
After dropping the first game of the season to Winthrop in a close contest, Roberts was determined to have his team ready for last night’s battle against Danvers. Swampscott opened with a strong first quarter and never looked back en route to a 42-32 victory over the Falcons at home.
“This win was huge for us,” said Roberts. “The girls played very well together. We knew if we could get a win out of this Danvers team, it would point us in the direction moving forward.
“Our whole objective going into the game was to not let (Kasey) Sherry get a lot of open looks. We played solid defense, our two-three zone really worked for us. We planned for Danvers all week long and it really paid off.”
Swampscott dropped 20 points in the first half and held Danvers to only nine. It wasn’t just senior captain Ara Talkov doing the scoring for the Big Blue, the points were equally distributed across the court.
Senior Rachel Moran recorded seven of her 11 points in first half to go along with a pair of rebounds, while Talkov had four rebounds and three assists in the first 24-minutes.
“That’s what we want, we want a well rounded team,” explained Roberts. “A lot of teams are going to look at us and think we only have Ara, but that’s not the case. I’ve been telling the girls that opponents are going to double and triple team Ara, but we need to still play our game and make our shots.”
Danvers (1-1) made numerous runs in the second half and cut the deficit to as little as eight at one point, but couldn’t get that go ahead lead it was looking for.
“The first quarter set the whole tempo of the game,” said Danvers coach Pat Veilleux. “You know what makes Swampscott a good team is Ara’a unselfishness. We tried to do a lot to stop her in the first half and we were able to contain her points, but she then she had a ton of assists. Other girls stepped up for them and that’s what we’re looking from our team as well.”
Senior captain Kasey Sherry anchored down the scoring for the Falcons with four three-pointers to finish with a team-high 12 points and junior Emily McNulty added eight points with work inside the paint.
“We have some things we need to work on,” added Veilleux. “The terrible start wasn’t what we were hoping for. Sometimes you just come out flat. I think we were prepared, but when you’re on the floor you need to be able execute. We were trying to force things that just weren’t there.”
The Big Blue returned just one starter from last year in Talkov, but isn’t letting that hold them back. The Columbia University-bound Talkov finished with a game-high 15 points, while point guard Alexa Goldman added eight.
Danvers had 11 steals in the second half and held Swampscott to just seven points in the final quarter.
“It’s still early, but I’m not too concerned,” said Veilleux. “The thing that I love about our team is that we never quit and we never will. We turned it up a notch in the second half when things started to get out of hand and we did make a run at them.”