By Jean DePlacido
---- — MARBLEHEAD — Magician guards Emily Freedland and Mia Bongiorno had a dozen points apiece to lead Marblehead to a 42-33 victory over visiting Beverly last night.
“Beverly is a good team with some athletes,” said Marblehead coach Wayne Hanscom after his team improved to 7-4 and continued to close in on a tournament berth. “They’re aggressive, and we were worried about that, but our girls stepped up. They played with a lot of intensity and desire.”
Marblehead led from the opening tip off when Freedland, who is her team’s leading scorer (10.9 points per game), stole the ball and drove to the hoop for a layup. The Magicians went on a 6-0 run and after one quarter had a 12-5 lead. It was a disappointing start for Beverly after an eight day layoff.
The Panthers (4-7) fought back, outscoring Marblehead, 11-10 in the second quarter and cut the deficit to two points after Bridget Keaton (nine points) scored to make it a 16-14 game. At halftime the Magicians had built the lead back up to six points, 22-16 after scoring the last four points of the half.
“Marblehead is very young, quick, and athletic,” said first year Beverly coach Allison Flynn. “Their aggressive defense really bothered us and caused turnovers. They were able to turn those (turnovers) into points. Both teams worked hard, but unfortunately we got off to a slow start in that first quarter and couldn’t recover.”
Marblehead opened up the lead to 17 midway through the third quarter after a 6-0 run led by Freedland, Elina Fisher, and Bongiorno. The Panthers worked hard to cut it down to eight after Keaton made a layup and Melissa Lubas (seven points) put in two free throws.
The Magicians got their running game going and a tough full court press bothered Beverly and caused turnovers. Marblehead had 18 offensive rebounds. Lindsay Walker led her team with nine boards, Sara Snadecki had eight, and Bongiorno five. Freedland finished with five steals.
“Freedland and Bongiorno have been pretty consistent,” said Hanscom. “The assists are coming for both. Mia is a soccer player, who has been working so hard in practice on her shot. She’s learning to take care of the ball and makes her teammates better. They are both playing very well.”
The Panthers fought hard right to the end with several of the underclassmen turning in strong performances.
“We are very young with some good underclassmen, who are benefiting from playing,” said Flynn. “Our seniors are great leaders. Keaton has been phenomenal all season. She’s all over the place scoring, and MaryCate Flaherty is our energizer bunny. She’s so strong defensively, and had some big steals.
“I thought Emma Moriarty (five points) and Hannah Silvestri (two points) came off the bench to do a nice job. Unfortunately, Marblehead’s press took us out of our rhythm.”