As most basketball teams have less than a week of games left on their schedule, others are gearing up for this weekend’s Spartan Classic hosted by St. Mary’s of Lynn.
The tournament will serve as a good test of competition and precursor to the state tournament, which is just around the corner. It will also highlight the talents of the North Shore’s top teams, including Division 1 Masconomet and Lynn English, while Ipswich and St. Mary’s compete in the Division 3 bracket.
The Chieftains (14-4) are anticipating a great battle against Northeastern Conference powerhouse Lynn English (17-2), especially because this is the first year they’re in the Spartan Classic. The talent level in the Division 1 bracket is very high as the other two teams, Revere and Lexington have put up big numbers this season.
“It will be a big challenge as each of the four teams in our bracket our in the Division 1 North tournament,” said Masconomet head coach Bob Romeo. “English is very athletic, talented, well coached and has established a winning tradition. Since a couple of early season hiccups, they’ve been dismantling all opponents.
“Revere is one of two teams that beat Lynn English early in the season. Lexington has been terrific all year and is the second best team behind a loaded Reading team in the Middlesex league.”
English is also well aware of the success Masco had produced this season. With only four losses, the Chieftains are a fast-paced machine looking to take down any and all opponents.
“They’re a real good basketball team, very balanced,” said Lynn English coach Fred Hogan. “They play good defense and we’re going to have to be ready because the intensity should be really high.”
Romeo echoed similar thoughts about the level of intensity this tournament will bring.
“I expect our games in this tournament to have a state tournament feel,” Romeo explained. “These games are extremely important for two reasons. First, each team would like to win this tournament and other than Lynn English, the other three teams are making their first appearance in this event. Second, every team wants to go into the state tournament with some momentum and one of these four very good teams will be 0-2 in this event.”
Masconomet and Lynn English will tip off at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
As for Ipswich, the Tigers are playing in the following game against well-known foe Beford in the Div. 3 bracket. This is the seventh year Ipswich is taking part in the classic, while Bedford will play in the tournament for the first time.
“We’ve really enjoyed playing in the St. Mary’s tournament over the years,” said Ipswich coach Mandy Zegarowski. “It’s great preparation for the state tournament.
“I have mixed feelings about playing a team that we could eventually see in the state tournament so close to the state tournament, but that is the way it worked out this year. It will be really good competition. Bedford lost one player from last years North semifinal team.”
Last year the Tigers upset top seeded Bedford in the Division 3 state semifinals, 46-38, and as Zegarowski said, there’s a good chance they’ll see each other again in the state tourney.
Zegarowski recorded her 150th career win last night with a win over Lynnfield. The Tigers (15-2) also captured the Cape Ann League small title for the second straight season and seventh in the last 10 years.
“The girls are really excited about the title. It was definitely a goal heading into the season” added Zegarowski.
Bishop Fenwick hosted an autograph signing with Boston Bruins winger Daniel Paille on Wednesday night as a fundrasier, with the proceeds going to the team.
Head coach Adam DeBaggis said there was a good turnout of people at the event and that Paille seemed very interested in the girls making the state tournament.
“He seemed like an awesome guy,” DeBaggis said of Paille. “The girls told him we had made the tournament and he asked about 10 follow up questions to that.”
The Hamilton-Wenham/Pentucket game scheduled for last night was cancelled. Evidently, all after-school activities at Pentucket High School were canceled Thursday afternoon after a large amount of students became ill with a stomach bug.
Generals head coach Jon Demarco isn’t sure when the two teams will play yet, but next Wednesday night is a possibility.
Swampscott has a chance to qualify for the postseason in its final regular season game against Whittier Tech on Saturday. Having put back-to-back wins together, the Big Blue have renewed life in the final stretch of games.
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 LEADERS Player Games Points Average 1. Ara Talkov, Swampscott 14 228 16.3 2. Julia Davis, Ipswich 17 270 15.9 3. Masey Zegarowski, Ipswich 17 247 14.5 4. Kasey Sherry, Danvers 19 243 12.8 5. Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody 17 213 12.5 6. Emily Freedland, Marblehead 16 187 11.7 7. Jaclyn Panneton, Salem 17 200 11.8 8. Cassandra Fibbe, H-W 16 189 11.8 9. Hannah Kiernan, Masco 17 191 11.2 10. Katlyn Oliver, Pingree 19 208 10.9 Three-point leaders: Kasey Sherry, Danvers 52; Masey Zegarowski, Ipswich 39; Emily Freedland, Marblehead 29; Kate Lipka, Bishop Fenwick 28; Jenna Gagnon, Ipswich 26.