“I think we were expecting to do well,” Cleary said. “We knew we had a great shot and solid team that had been successful. You look at the maturation of players like Catey and Cari, who were both so athletic. And at that point in time, everybody was expecting Brianne to do great things.”
Heil will tell you that the best thing that could’ve happened to Peabody that year was the loss against Boston English. It was the second game of the season and the Bulldogs walked away with a 44-37 victory.
“Every team wants to go undefeated,” explained Heil. “We just had that one loss to Boston English. But if you can’t learn from your losses than you’re done. I remember walking into the locker room and asking the girls what did they learn and they told me that ‘we can beat them,’ and I turned around and said ‘then don’t you forget it,’ and they didn’t.”
And just to make sure they didn’t forget, Heil cut out the article from the loss and hung it in the PE office as a constant reminder for the girls every time they walked by.
The Tanners finished the regular season at off at 19-1 to earn the No. 3 seed in the Division 1 state tournament. They got by Billerica, Methuen and top-seeded Burlington. Peabody made its way to the Eastern finals against Boston English, as both teams went in with identical 22-1 records.
The Eastern Mass. finals games were always played in the Boston Garden and most recently played at TD Garden now. For some reason the however, the MIAA wasn’t allowed at the Garden that year and the girls instead had to play at Bentley.
“Sometimes the girls just amazed me,” Heil said. “They had this air of confidence that night that I couldn’t describe. They were so zoned it. They so wanted another chance to play Boston English.”