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.