TOPSFIELD — Going up against defending Division 3 state champion team Pentucket on opening night is no easy task. The Masconomet girls basketball team took the game in stride and managed to hang around with the Sachems for stretches of last night’s contest.
Ultimately, though, for the seventh time in eight meetings Pentucket walked away with a 45-33 victory.
“I’m not discouraged by the loss,” said Masco head coach Bob Romeo said. “They’re state champs for a reason. It’s basically the same team we lost to last year, we’re not the same team — so I think that’s a positive. Certainly on paper Pentucket is the hardest team we’ll face in the league. It was probably the most physical game that we’ll see.
“It’s a great measuring stick to tell us what we have to do going forward.”
The Chieftains (0-1), having graduated eight seniors from last year’s team, worked hard to keep up with a fast paced Pentucket squad. The Sachems opened the game on a 7-0 run, but Masco quickly made the necessary adjustments after Romeo called a timeout.
Junior captain Hannah Kiernan inherited the point guard position, which she played off the bench last season. Kiernan’s speed is vital to the team’s success and she is capable of knocking down long three-pointers.
“Hannah can make those big plays when we need it,” said Romeo. “I like what she does and as the season progresses she’ll get more confident in her role to take over the offense. Last year when she played, she did a lot of distributing to Brooke (Stewart) and Chelsea (Nason), but this year she needs to make sure the ball is in her hands.”
Kiernan finished the night with a team-high 14 points to go along with her seven rebounds and four steals.