MARBLEHEAD — Any hopes of qualifying for the post season tournament had been dashed, but the Marblehead girls wanted to finish the season on a high note. A great defensive effort led the Magicians to a 36-18 victory over Advanced Math and Science Academy, a charter school from Marlboro, in the first round of the Brad Sheridan Memorial Tournament.
Marblehead will meet Martha’s Vineyard in the finals at 4 p.m. today. The Vineyard Regional team beat Newburyport in the other game.
Junior Emily Freedland led all scorers with 17 points. including 11 in the first half. The Eagles came out strong, but Marblehead fought back, scoring the last five points of the opening quarter to only trail by one, 11-10. Freedland hit a jumper, and then Suzanne McCarthy nailed a 3-pointer to close the gap.
“Our goal was to play strong defense, and we did a good job after a slow start,” said Marblehead coach Skip Likins after his team improved to 8-11. “This is the fun part of the season; we don’t have any tourney games coming up to try to get ready for so we’re trying to set the tone for next year.
“We struggled at the beginning, and I sat some people down trying to find the right combinations. We’re usually a man to man team, but we had to go into a zone. They have a very quick point guard (Arin Smalls), and we had to find a way to stop her so we went back to the zone and tried to box them out.”
Smalls, who is only an eighth grader, had four of her six points in the first quarter when the Eagles (11-8) used the long outlet pass to spring her for easy layups at the other end. After the first quarter Marblehead outscored AMSA, 26-7. The Magicians denied the middle and forced the visitors to take shots from outside. Marblehead went on a 9-2 run late in the first half to go up by six at intermission, 21-15.