The Salem News
---- — Bounce Passes
Peabody head coach Jane Heil has seen it all over her 30 plus years coaching the girls basketball team. She’s been through her share of hardships, but has always been able to bounce back — a true survivor
Last night’s milestone is only the feather in her cap along the journey of her successful career as Heil got her 500th victory on the road against Everett. With 17 Greater Boston League titles, 26 tournament appearances and one very significant state title (1985), Heil is the definition of legendary coach. As of right now, Heil’s coaching record is 500-162. That’s with four years off between 1995-’99 and the 2004 season, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet Heil still managed to be with her team for every practice and game while undergoing chemotherapy and later radiation.
By her side through it all, her husband Bob Heil, who’s been one of her assistant for the past 32 years.
“It’s an incredible milestone,” said Bob. “I remember when we first started and we went to one of the Mass Basketball Association banquets. There was a coach there from Western Mass. who got 600 wins and we thought ‘Wow will we ever get there’. It’s just such an event and I’m really so proud of her.”
Though she didn’t hit her milestone at home, Heil has spent many a night in Everett —an old GBL foe. DeAnn Larrabee, one of the Everett assistant coaches, was there to watch her former coach hit 500. Larrabee graduated in 2003 before going to Eastern Connecticut State University to play.
“It’s different to coach against her, but it’s such an honor to be here and be apart of it,” said Larrabee. “I’m really excited for her. She’s been coaching for such a long time and I just have so much respect for her. She always been enthusiastic about coaching.”
Heil has brought significant success to the program over the years. She has produced seven 20-win seasons and twenty-one 15 win seasons. Including Larrabee, there have been five girls to reach the 1000 point mark under Heil: Kristen Foley, Kim Foley, Jen Webster and D’yana Delpero have been among the leading scorers for Peabody.
Even more amazing was the amount of support Heil received from past players, friends and family last night. The Tanner faithful were among the loudest cheers after the buzzer. Dozens of people came out to pay tribute to Heil and her remarkable career.
“If one lives long enough and coaches for this many years, has the talented players and dedicated staff that I have been blessed with, milestones will happen,” said Heil. “So many players, parents, coaches, family and friends have helped contribute to these wins through the years. I’m immensely thankful to all of our basketball family and honored that, yes we have...’Done it Up Proud’”.
Last year Heil finished with 496 wins and needed just four this season hit the milestone. There was never any pressure put on the girls, in fact Heil didn’t even tell them until last week’s Lynn Classical game because she didn’t want them to find out from someone else.
“I told them that if it happens it happens,” explained Heil. “I knew it would happen eventually. I was really happy that they were able to be apart of this. I told them play your game and I’ll do my coaching.”
The Tanners have jumped out to a 4-0 start and have brought the excitement back into Peabody girls basketball. Last night was no different as the Tanners set the tone early in the game and were more than willing to capture that win for Heil.
Ipswich girls hosted this season’s Institute for Savings Holiday Tournament. The Tigers have out together three wins in a row, including last night’s 61-31 win over Manchester Essex.
“The Institution for Savings has a lot of branches in the area and it’s great to have them sponsor the tournament,” said head coach Mandy Zegarowski. “We seem to be having contributions from everyone so far.”
Senior captain Julia Davis led all scorers with 18 points to go along with her 16 rebounds and four blocks. Davis is currently first in the area’s leading scorers, averaging 15.3 points per game.
The Tigers will take on Newburyport tonight in the tournament’s championship game.
Be sure to catch Masconomet and Bishop Fenwick tomorrow night for Masco’s Holiday Tournament championship game. The Crusaders (5-1) knocked off Wilmington in the early game last night, 33-28 and the Chieftains (3-1) took down Beverly, 49-27.
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.
2012-2013 GIRLS BASKETBALL SCORING LEADERS Player Games Points Average 1. Julia Davis, Ipswich 3 46 15.3 2. Masey Zegarowski, Ipswich 3 40 13.3 3. Jaclyn Panneton, Salem 3 39 13 4. Emily Freedland, Marblehead 4 51 12.8 5. Caroline Soucy, Ipswich 3 38 12.7 6. Cassandra Fibbe, H-W 4 50 12.5 7. Kasey Sherry, Danvers 4 45 11.3 8. Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody 4 45 11.3 9. Hannah Kiernan, Masco 4 48 12 10. Kate Lipka, Fenwick 6 65 10.8 Three-point leaders: Kasey Sherry, Danvers 12; Cassandra Fibbe, H-W 9; Hannah Kiernan, Masco 8; Emily Freedland, Marblehead 6.