By Gianna Addario
---- — TOPSFIELD — The Hamilton-Wenham girls basketball team wasn’t about to lose to Masconomet twice in the same season. The Generals had been waiting for another chance at the Chieftains and got their revenge last night on the road.
Behind Cassandra Fibbe’s superb free throw shooting performance, the Generals defeated Masconomet 55-39 as both teams move to 11-4 overall.
”It feels great to get this win,” said Hamilton-Wenham head coach Jon Demarco. “We played awesome on the defensive end. I’ve been telling the girls for a while that we’re right there with all these teams. On a given night we can beat anybody and we were able to prove that. We’re playing our best basketball right now heading into the tournament.”
Fibbe went a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line in the first half and finished with a team-high 18 points. The Generals played tough defense and limited the scoring opportunities for the Chieftains.
The last time these two teams did battle, Masco walked out of the Generals’ gym with a 62-47 victory and last night Hamilton-Wenham returned the favor.
”My message that (Hamilton-Wenham was) a good team didn’t get through,” Masconomet head coach Bob Romeo said after the game. “I told the girls, they lost to the same teams that we did.
”We had a really flat start and just never got going. I give Jon a ton of credit, his team was so well prepared. They played hard from the first tip and never stopped until the final buzzer, they didn’t just beat us — they blew us out of our own gym.”
Hamilton-Wenham took a significant lead at the half, 33-20 and led by as many as 20 in the third quarter. The shots that were dropping for the Generals, just weren’t falling for Masco. Haley Willis had a hot-scoring hand and finished with 16 points, including two 3-pointers for the Generals.
Fibbe, Leslie Bynum and Catherine Ecker all pulled down 10 rebounds a piece for the Generals and dominated the glass as a team. Hamilton-Wenham limited any second chance opportunities for Masco, which was one of difference makers in the game.
”We’re a lot better defensively than we were at the beginning of the year,” Demarco said of the first meeting between the teams. “This time we boxed out better and knew our rotations a lot better. We did a great job at not giving them open looks and we made our free throws.”
Masco made a late push in the fourth quarter, causing three straight H-W turnovers, which transitioned into baskets for the Chieftains. Meghan Collins hit a layup with under five minutes to play and cut the deficit to 12 points, but it was the closest Masco would come in the final stanza.
Junior Nicole Femino finished with a team-high 11 points for the Chieftains, while senior captain Claudia Marsh added eight points and grabbed 13 of her team’s 36 rebounds.
”We only took 48 shots, that’s a sign that we’re not playing well,” added Romeo. “We’re usually somewhere around 60 shots. After the Pentucket loss on Friday, plan A was to win six in a row — now plan B is to win five in a row.”