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.
Methuen’s Murphy Carroll shot lights out against the Tanners’ zone defense. The junior guard hit five treys in the opening quarter alone and finished with a game-high 29 points.
Peabody set out to stop the Rangers’ post game, which worked for the most part — but left Carroll wide open from three-point land.
“All the credit in the world to Murphy,” said Heil. “We scouted and saw a couple of their basketball games, but I’ve never seen her do that before. We played the odds and wanted to shut down their inside game, and to some degree we were able to do that. We just couldn’t stop that outside shooting.”
Offensively, the Tanners couldn’t get it going in the first quarter and put up just seven points to Methuen’s 25. The Rangers extended their lead at halftime, 42-20.
In the second half Peabody made the switch to man-to-man defense, which for the most part stopped the outside shooting.
“We told them at halftime that this could potentially be their final game of the season,” noted Heil. “I would’ve loved if it wasn’t ... but we went down with a fight.”
Scacchi led the Tanners’ offensively with 11 points and was the team’s leading rebounder with seven. Sophomore Courtney Bua (5 rebounds) added in 11 points and Lomasney chipped in with six.
“Next year our goal is to come back faster, stronger and tougher,” added Lomasney.
agateHed:Methuen 59, Peabody 39
agate_boldCentered:Division 1 North first round
agate_lineQuarters:Methuen@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:: @SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:Mu. Carroll 11-0-29, Petrow 5-2-12, Galloway-Burke 2-0-4, Ma. Carroll 1-2-5, Dorandi 2-2-6, Scott 1-0-2, Condon 0-1-1.@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters: @SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:Totals@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters: 22-6-59@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:.
agate_lineQuarters:Peabody@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:: @SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:Scacchi 3-5-11, Summit 1-2-4, A Lomasney 2-2-6, Bua 3-3-9, Sullivan 2-1-5, Hosman 1-0-2, Matthews 1-0-2.@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters: @SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:Totals@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters: 13-13-39@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:.
agate_lineQuarters:Halftime@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:: M, 42-20
agate_lineQuarters:3-pointers@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:: M, Mu. Carroll 7, Ma. Carroll; P, None.
agate_lineQuarters:Records@SportsLocalAgate:agate_lineQuarters:: M, 12-9; P, 16-5.