SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

January 17, 2014

Bounce Passes: After slow start, Beverly finds consistent rhythm

It would have been easy for the Beverly girls basketball team to simply mail in the rest of the season after starting off at 0-5.

The Panthers aren’t looking for the easy route, though. Instead, they’re looking to turn heads in the Northeastern Conference and put their program back on the map.

First year head coach Allison Flynn is at the forefront of the team’s turnaround. Once a standout at Salem High, Flynn has brought in an entirely new system — which takes time for the girls to adjust to.

“They’ve bought into it,” said Flynn. “They’re really starting to play as a team, all of 12 of them. Even from the beginning, coming into this season with a new coach, it was about learning a new system. It was a learning experience for me too, finding out what each player needs and what their strengths and weaknesses were.”

In each of their first five games, the Panthers couldn’t seem to find their scoring rhythm. But those contests were probably the stiffest competition they’ll see this season: powerhouses like Lynn English and Pentucket, not to mention excellent squads such as Peabody and Bishop Fenwick got the Orange-and-Black ready for the rest of the season.

After falling to Peabody last Monday, the Panthers went on a four-game win streak. They topped Gloucester, Danvers, Saugus and Peabody, putting up an average of 47 points.

The Panthers even gave mighty Winthrop a game last night and led the NEC Small frontrunners by six points (15-9) after the first quarter before ultimately falling, 47-30.

“Even after our first five losses, we’d go into practice and their attitude hadn’t changed at all,” explained Flynn. “They could’ve put their heads down and folded, but that’s not them. They work hard at everything they do.

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