Most of the local teams have had a week off from playing with midterms taking place. The teams return to action tonight, so rather than focus on a specific team— I’m taking the time to focus on certain players that have shown why they deserve to be on their respective roster.
Earlier this month Danvers head coach Pat Veilleux talked about the importance of being a confident player, especially for a younger player. The area teams are laden with freshmen talent and what better way to highlight the newcomers than to showcase their talents.
With age comes experience and for these group of freshmen, there’s no better type of experience than what they are exposed to during games. A lot of coaches rely heavily on their elder players to carry the scoring load and leadership role, but the younger girls are starting to factor into the lineups more and more.
At Danvers the primary scoring role falls on the only senior on the team— Kasey Sherry. Sherry and junior Emily McNulty usually get the bulk of Danvers’ points, but over the past two weeks a pair of freshmen have made their presence known. Devan Walsh and Hannah Llewellyn give scoring support to the Falcon’s second unit. In the win over Salem earlier this month, Walsh had 15 points off the bench, while Llewellyn dropped in a dozen during a close loss to Winthrop.
“These two girls are here for a reason,” said Veilleux. “If you take them on the team, it’s for a good reason. It’s a matter of just getting acclimated to the whole situation and sometimes it takes six or eight games, or sometimes it takes an entire season.”
During Beverly’s four-game win streak in early January, freshman Melissa Lubas anchored the run. Lubas scored nearly 50 points between those four games and has shown great poise at the free-throw line. At times head coach Matt Smith has even put out his second unit, led by Lubas, to create some offense for the Panthers.
Bishop Fenwick head coach Adam DeBaggis saw growth from two of his freshmen players that split time between JV and varsity, Sydney Brennan and Colleen Corcoran. DeBaggis decided to bring both up on full-time basis.
“Sydney was playing really well on JV,” said DeBaggis. “We lost both of point guards (Gianna Pizzano and Lexie Rose) for a little while, so we decided to call up Sydney. She’s been playing point guard for us for the last five games and handles the ball well with both hands. Sydney has very good court vision and is one of best shooters.”
In the five games she’s played in as a full-time varsity player, Brennan is averaging nine points per games and three assists per game.
Across town, Jane Heil has freshman Sara Hosman starting at point guard for Peabody. Hosman is panning out to be one of the future faces of the Tanner program.
“What a performance for a freshman,” said Heil of Hosman’s 11 point performance back in December. “She’s a tall guard which is good, and she has some nice guards to complement her.”
In Peabody’s last outing against Danvers, Hosman added another 11 points and has recorded a handful of double-digit performances over the past 10 games.
At Ipswich, Jenna Gagnon has produced off the bench as one of the Tigers leading three-point shooters. Gagnon is second behind sophomore Masey Zegarowski (24) with 19 three-pointers made this season.
“Jenna has been a huge spark off the bench for us,” said head coach Mandy Carter-Zegarowski. “A 5-foot-9 and a shooting guard, she has a huge upside. Transitioning from eighth grade travel team to varsity basketball is a big jump, but Jenna has improved in her ability to play both ends of the court.
“Gagnon came in as a shooter and she has developed her defense and passing. She is our only freshman and socially that can be a big adjustment as well. Jenna fits right in, she is coachable and a great teammate. She has held her own playing a lot of minutes in our tight games.”
Next week the game schedule returns to normal for many teams, playing on both Tuesday and Friday nights. There are a lot of local teams squaring off— Beverly at Danvers and Peabody at Marblehead on Tuesday.
If you don’t have any plans as of yet, check out tonight’s Cape Ann League game between Ipsiwch and host Hamilton-Wenham. The Generals have won three straight and are looking to make four in-a-row against the 10-2 Tigers.
Over the weekend Ipswich qualified for the post season with a 67-57 win over Wings Academy at the Rose Classic in Brooklyn, New York.
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 LEADERS Player Games Points Average 1. Ara Talkov, Swampscott 10 168 16.8 2. Julia Davis, Ipswich 12 195 16.3 3. Masey Zegarowski, Ipswich 12 173 14.1 4. Kasey Sherry, Danvers 12 151 12.6 5. Hannah Kiernan, Masco 12 147 12.2 6. Cassandra Fibbe, H-W 10 117 11.7 7. Emily Freedland, Marblehead 11 128 11.6 8. Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody 10 116 11.6 9. Kate Lipka, Fenwick 15 155 11.1 10. Jaclyn Panneton, Salem 10 111 11.1 Three-point leaders: Kasey Sherry, Danvers 33; Masey Zegarowski, Ipswich 24; Kate Lipka, Bishop Fenwick 21; Jenna Gagnon, Ipswich 19; Emily Freedland, Marblehead 18;