By Jean DePlacido
---- — MARBLEHEAD — After two years of failing to qualify for the Division 1 North tournament, Peabody earned a berth by beating Marblehead, 49-30 last night.
With the win the Tanners improved to 10-2, and did it without freshman point guard Sara Hosman, who is injured. She suffered a bruised nose in the Gloucester game last Friday and is day-to-day.
Carolyn Scacchi took over as point guard, and despite having a different role led her team with a double-double. Scacchi finished with a game high 14 points and a dozen rebounds.
“She had fun tonight,” said Peabody coach Jane Heil. “The thing about Carolyn is she doesn’t care how many points she scores; she just wants to contribute. She did a good job along with our kids off the bench.”
Points were hard to come by in the first half when defense on both sides dominated. Peabody and Marblehead went with full court pressure from the start, and that caused a lot of turnovers. Emily Freedland hit a 3-pointer at the end of the opening quarter to put Marblehead on top, 11-9.
It was a different story in the second half when the Tanners scored only six points, but didn’t give up any, and were up, 15-11 at halftime. Scacchi scored five of her team’s six points in that quarter, and started a 24-2 run that stretched all the way until the final minute of the third quarter, opening up a 16 point cushion heading into the final frame.
Sophomore Courtney Bua (10 points) had six during that run, and Oliva Summit (6) hit back to back shots. The Tanners used their considerable height advantage to control the boards. Summit had 10 rebounds, and sophomore Danielle Sullivan came off the bench to grab 7 to go along with her 9 points.
“I really liked that third quarter,” said Heil. “Any time you hold a team to 11 points in the first half and zero in the second quarter you’re playing excellent defense. We didn’t change a thing at halftime.I think we were working so hard on defense we were rushing our shots. Once we got a couple of easy baskets it was contagious. Bua was a big factor early on when we had trouble scoring, and I’m really happy with our defense all game.
“It’s great to qualify for the tournament after two dry years. It’s a different team this year, very unselfish and the attitude is great.”
The Magicians dropped to 6-7 with the loss. Emily Freedland and McKenna Barrett led the way with nine points apiece while sophomore point guard Mia Bongiorno had six. Maggie Forbes had a team high seven rebounds.
“We played great defense, especially in that first half,” said Marblehead coach Skip Likins. “We did have a little letdown in the third quarter when Peabody got into a running game. We were not getting back on defense quickly enough, and they outsized us all over the place.
“That’s a good Peabody team, and Scacchi is a player. She’s tough to stop with that low turnaround jump shot. I thought we did a pretty good job keeping them off the boards, but that is a big team. Bongiorno, Freedland, Barrett, and Forbes all played well for us. Barrett had a tough assignment trying to stop Scacchi. I thought Forbes drove the ball well, and was tough on the boards.”
Friday is Pink Night at Peabody when the Tanners host Salem. The Flip Flop Friends will be selling items to raise money for their Susan G. Komen walk to find a cure for breast cancer, and special T-shirts commemorating Pink Night will be on sale.