PEABODY— There was no denying the level of excitement in the Peabody High gymnasium last night as the Tanners hosted their first girls basketball state tournament home game since 2010.
Fourth-seeded Peabody (16-5) did everything it could to prepare for their long-time tournament nemesis Methuen. They scouted many of the Rangers’ games and practiced all week for the 13th seed— but somehow came up short in a 59-39 Division 1 North first round loss.
With the win, Methuen (12-9) moves on to play Central Catholic Saturday in the quarterfinals.
”I was nervous coming in because I hadn’t seen Peabody (this season),” said Methuen head coach Karen McLaughlin. “We were able to scout them, through, reading game stories online.
”Methuen and Peabody have a long history. I was the assistant coach under Mimi Hyde for many years, and the history goes back forever with Peabody. I have a lot of respect for Jane Heil; she’s a great coach with her 500 (career) wins.”
As a team, this was the first tournament game that any of the Peabody girls had played in. Even veteran players like Carolyn Scacchi and Alex Lomasney played in their very first postseason contest.
“We definitely didn’t know what to expect, I mean, we knew it was going to be a lot more intense and (that) we had to pick it up,” noted Lomasney, a junior captain. “I guess coming in without any experience gave us a little bit of a disadvantage.
“We knew everything we could about Methuen, but it was very exciting and extremely nerve-racking at the same time. Although once you get into the game, you get over the nerves.”
The Tanners, which made their 27th all-time tournament appearance, were plagued by turnovers right from the start and never quite found their scoring rhythm. Peabody finished with 24 total team turnovers, though it had better ball control in the second half.