SWAMPSCOTT — That old saying, "That's why you play the games" was never truer than in the match up between 9-0 Marblehead and 1-7 Swampscott.
On paper it looked like a sure thing for the visitors, but the Big Blue came away with a 60-51 victory for their second win of the season.
The 3-point shots were the difference with Swampscott hitting 10 (nine in the second half) and the Magicians failing to make any. The game was tied five times in the first half with the Big Blue clinging to a 24-22 lead at intermission, but it was all Swampscott in the second half. Every time Marblehead cut into their lead the Big Blue answered by hitting a bomb in an unbelievable display of shooting from down town led by Chloe Rakauskas with 25 points including six threes.
"That was the best we've shot all season," said coach Katelyn Leonard. "It's tough when you don't win a lot of games, but these girls never quit. We lost to Manchester Essex on Monday and it's tough to come back the next night. Everybody contributed; I couldn't be prouder of this team. The girls all have a lot of heart."
Swampscott had three in double figures; Rakauskas and both Maddie Hudson and Ella Sprague with 10 points. Maddie Hudson and Grace Hudson each hit two bombs.
The game was tied for the final time at 24 all when Emily Clough, who led Marblehead with 16 points, put back a rebound. It was nip and tuck for most of the third quarter with the Magicians taking a one point lead twice, but Swampscott began to pull ahead in the late going after Maddie Hudson drained two 3-pointers and Rakauskas hit one to give her team a 41-37 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
"I felt my shot was on," said Rakauskas. "That's the most points I've ever scored, but this was a team win. We played together, and Ella (Sprague) was hitting in the paint. We've lost a lot of games this season, but this is something we can build on. It feels great to win."
Sprague made two layups early in the fourth quarter, and after another Rakauskas bomb the Big Blue had a seven point cushion with just over five minutes remaining. Leila Walton kept the Magicians it, scoring 10 of her 16 points in the final frame, but nothing could derail Swampscott. Point guard Niya Morgen used her speed to cause problems for Marblehead and disrupt passes.
"They were incredible hitting those threes," said Marblehead coach Paul Moran. "No excuses. We did a poor job, made too many errors, missed too many shots. Give all the credit to Swampscott because they outhustled us, outworked us, and won 50/50 balls.
"We didn't go out on their shooters, and we've got a lot of work to do. We knew we weren't going to go undefeated, but maybe we fooled ourselves with the 9-0 start. We've got Lynn English on Thursday, and the best thing about basketball is the quick turnaround between games."
Swampscott 60, Marblehead 51
at Dick Lynch Field House, Swampscott
Marblehead: Walton 8-0-16; Haley 1-0-2; Erskine 2-2-6; Gillett 2-2-6; Cronin 0-0-0; Candelaria 2-1-5; Lowy 0-0-0; Clough 6-4-16 Totals: 21-9-51
Swampscott: Matela 1-0-2; Quagrello 1-0-2; M. Hudson 3-2-10; Morgen 3-0-6; G. Hudson 2-0-6; Rakauskas 8-3-25; Sprague 5-0-10 Totals: 23-4-60
Halftime: S, 24-22
3-Pointers: M, None; S, Rakauskas (6), M. Hudson (2), G. Hudson (2)
Records: M, 9-1; S, 2-7