---- — At the beginning of the season, Bishop Fenwick head coach Adam DeBaggis was hoping for a close-knit team mixed with a touch of family dynamic.
Little did he know he’d be coaching four sets of sisters between the program’s junior varsity and varsity teams.
Between the two teams, eight sisters hold spots on the roster. Junior captain Kate Lipka and her younger sister Sam; senior captain Rose Fantozzi and her sister Ellen; Megan Brennan and her little sister Sydney; and junior Bridget Corcoran and sister Colleen all hail from different cities around the North Shore. The younger sisters are all freshmen and split time between the junior varsity and varsity teams.
“It’s actually pretty funny to watch them all at practice,” said DeBaggis, now in his second year as the varsity coach. “We run separate practices, but because of scheduling sometimes the junior varsity will practice with us as well. I sometimes like to put them together in 4-on-4 drills to see what they can do.
“I really wanted that family environment. Even the parents have told me the team’s Boosters Club is closer than before. I think it’s great.”
DeBaggis likes the idea of a smooth transition between the JV and varsity team, and the sibling aspect has allowed for that.
Even the bus rides are more eventful as both teams travel to away games together. During the varsity games, the JV team is right behind the bench cheering on their fellow Crusaders.
DeBaggis coached JVs for his first three years at Fenwick before taking over the varsity last season. As an English teacher at the school, DeBaggis has most of the girls in class as well.
“We’re literally a family,” said DeBaggis.
After dropping their first game of the season to a very strong Archbishop Williams team, the Crusaders have put together a string of victories — including last night’s easy 55-16 win over Lowell Catholic.
Fenwick has even picked up its scoring, increasing the margin of victory with every win.
“We’re a team that does play good defense, and now the offensive aspect has improved as well,” said DeBaggis. The Crusaders are looking to make it four straight wins against Medford tonight.
On Tuesday, Swampscott got its first win of the season over Danvers. More importantly, Abrom Roberts got his first career victory as a varsity head coach.
“It’s a big deal for me. This is a what I love to do,” said Roberts, who coached the Big Blue junior varsity team last year. “I knew coming into the game if we could play good defense and rebound the ball well, we could get the win.
“I’m excited, and it’s always good to get the first win out of the way. I wish it could’ve been last Friday against Winthrop, but I’m happy that it was (Tuesday).”
The 28-year-old Baltimore native took over this season for long time head man Jack Hughes, who stepped down in June after 11 seasons with the program.
Roberts volunteered in the Beverly Kiwanis Club League and has been quite active in AAU basketball since moving to Massachusetts four years ago. He also works as a paraprofessional in the special education department at Briscoe Middle School in Beverly.
Peabody is off to a 2-0 start and will be put to the test tonight against Lynn Classical (3-0) at home. The Tanners have seen tremendous production from juniors Carolyn Scacchi (14.5 ppg), Olivia Summit (11.5) and Alexandra Lomasney (11.5).
“I’m really very happy with the captain’s leadership and the junior leadership,” said veteran head coach Jane Heil. “They realize it’s their team and they’ve really stepped up.”
Even the young point guard on the team, freshman Sara Hosman, has made herself a spot in the starting lineup. She’s made significant scoring contributions as the second leading scorer on the team (11.5) along with Summit.
“Everyone is scoring and everyone is contributing — and I love it,” added Heil.
Be sure to check out next week’s seventh annual Masconomet Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament with local rivals Beverly, Bishop Fenwick and Wilmington. Masconomet will take on Beverly while Fenwick will play Wilmington on Thursday Dec. 27, followed by the championship and consolation games on Saturday evening.
Bounce Passes, a column on North Shore girls basketball, runs in The Salem News every Friday during the winter season. Contact Gianna Addario at GAddario@salemnews.com, 978-338-2615 and follow her on Twitter @GiannaAddarioSN.
2012-2013 GIRLS BASKETBALL SCORING LEADERS Player Games Points Average 1. Masey Zegarowski, Ipswich 1 18 18 2. Julia Davis, Ipswich 1 16 16 3. Hannah Kiernan, Masco 2 29 14.5 4. Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody 2 29 14.5 5. Kasey Sherry, Danvers 2 28 14 6. Ara Talkov, Swampscott 2 24 12 7. Claudia Marsh, Masco 2 24 12 7. Emily McNulty, Danvers 2 23 11.5 8. Olivia Summit, Peabody 2 23 11.5 9. Sara Hosman, Peabody 2 23 11.5 10. Emily Freedland, Marblehead 3 33 11 11. Caroline Soucy, Ipswich 1 11 11 Three-point leaders: Kasey Sherry, Danvers 8; Hannah Kiernan, Masco 7; Cassandra Fibbe, H-W 5; Emily Freedland, Marblehead 4; Arianna Gaffney, Salem 4.