It’s a popular cliché in sports, but the future is definitely bright for the Marblehead High girls basketball team (10-8, 42nd seed) on the heels of being eliminated by Northeastern Conference rival Masco, 52-35, in a Division 2 preliminary round state tournament game at Boxford on March 1.
Wayland (18-4), the 10th seed, then went on to beat the Chieftains (14-8, 23rd seed) in a close Round of 32 encounter two nights later, 54-52.
“We played great, despite our inexperience,” said coach Paul Moran after the Masco game. “We were missing our point guard, Katie Pyne, with an injury for the third straight game, but freshmen Mari O’Connell (six points with two threes) and Samara Dosch stepped up once again to fill in nicely for her.”
Tess Andriano, another freshman, paced the offensive attack with 12 points, including three threes. Sara Bosio was next up with seven points.
Samantha Dormer accounted for four points and was all over the place on the court getting rebounds, assists, steals and deflections, according to Moran.
Greta Sachs was credited with four points and three rebounds. Kate Burns chipped in with two points.
Moran had nothing but praise for his captains, Carlin McGowan, Isabelle Ferrante and Stella Monaco, who provided the leadership for their young teammates, as well as the team’s two Italian exchange student-athletes, Giorgia Dalla Valle and Sara Bosio. They brought the team together to work toward a common goal, which led to a postseason berth. The hope is that the positive vibes will have a lingering impact on the younger players, who now know what it takes to win on the varsity level.
Moran also mentioned his sophomores — Ramona Gillette, Maddie Forbes and Olivia Goldwater — who all saw productive minutes as they grew as varsity players throughout the last three months.
The contributions of the freshmen have been well-documented, and they stand poised to take a quantum leap as veteran players next winter.
“This team had to play Masco twice and Peabody once during the regular season, but that only made them better players,” Moran said. “I’m not the easiest coach to play for, and they know what they do in practice will make or break their chances to play regularly in games.”
The Chieftains beat the Marblehead girls three times this season. They won by 35 in the initial meeting between the two teams at the beginning of the regular season, but only by six in the second meeting.
“Masco started four senior captains against us, and I told the kids afterwards that’s not going to happen next year,” said Moran.
He added, “Everything is in front of us right now with so many young players. If they do a little work on their games in the off season, we are going to be a dangerous team. I can’t wait to see them again in November, when practice resumes.”