By Gianna Addario
---- — PEABODY— Junior captain Carolyn Scacchi has been the backbone of the Peabody girls basketball team for the past two seasons now. And although it’s difficult to find any flaws in the 6-foot-2 forward’s game, she somehow finds ways to get better each time she steps on the floor.
Scacchi went five-for-five from the free throw line and recorded her eighth double-double of the season as the Tanners defeated the Salem, 52-42 at home.
“Every year she comes back better than before,” Peabody head coach Jane Heil said of Scacchi. “The most important thing she needed to fix from last season was her foul shooting and this year it has been outstanding. I’m waiting for the triple-double next from her.”
The Tanners (11-2) recorded their seventh straight victory after dropping two games in a row earlier in the season. Scacchi led all scorers with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.
The score was tied at 12 a piece after the first quarter as both teams settled into their scoring rhythm. Peabody held a slight advantage at the break to lead 25-22.
“We definitely struggled offensively,” said Salem head coach John Fortunato. “Peabody is a long team and they’re athletic. They move and stretch out those arms. I loved how hard my kids played. I saw tremendous improvement from the last time we played Peabody earlier in the year. That’s all I ask of these kids to get better every time out.”
Salem (5-8) might have a limited bench, but each player contributed to the game in some way. As a young team, the Witches have grown into a solid unit and are dangerous both in the post and have the ability to knock down those long-range shots.
“What John has done with that group of girls and how hard they work for 32 minutes, in my mind he’s the best coach in the league,” said Heil. “A lot of people wouldn’t put in the time that he does and every day to him, it’s like you’re on your way to a championship.”
Peabody extended its lead in the second half and went on a 10-4 run to open the third quarter. Junior Olivia Summit and sophomore Courtney Bua led the scoring charge in the third and the Tanners took a 37-31 lead.
The Witches were desperate to score in the fourth quarter and made their first basket with 3:30 left in the period. Down by nine with under three minutes to play, Salem made that extra push including a huge three-pointer by Brianna Rodriguez. Unfortunately, the Tanners made their shots as well in the final minutes and managed to hold off Salem’s late surge.
“I thought those final four minutes were going to last forever,” said Fortunato. “We could’ve let it get away from us, but no matter what five players I had on the court, they never quit. The kids just have to play hard and they do, I’m very proud of them.”
Rodriguez finished with 14 points for the Witches, while Rachael Zipper added a dozen points and Jaclyn Panneton (six points) pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds.
Bua also recorded a double-double for the Tanners to finish with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Summit and Alexandra Lomasney both added nine points a piece.