Girls basketball rally comes up just short

Marblehead’s Ramona Gillette goes up with the ball as she works her way around a Masco defender.

The Marblehead girls basketball team trailed by double digits late in the second half against Masco Friday night. The Magicians made a valiant comeback in front of their home faithful, but fell 38-31 in a heartbreaker.

Marblehead coach Paul Moran continues to feel encouraged with his team’s improvement.

“The first time we matched up against Masco, we lost by almost 30 points,” Moran said. “For this group to have a chance to beat a team as good as Masco is a good sign. Give credit to Masco, they made a few more plays down the stretch and they earned this win.”

The Magicians were down 30-18 heading into the fourth quarter, and all the momentum appeared to be on the Chieftains’ side.

Marblehead had different plans, opening the fourth on a 9-0 run and cutting the Masco lead to three (30-27) with 4:50 remaining.

The Marblehead run started with freshman Tessa Andriano driving down the middle of the lane, spinning left and finishing a contested left-handed layup over Masco defenders. About a minute later, junior Katie Pyne drilled a corner three-pointer to make the score 30-23 Masco with 6:00 left. The Magicians’ junior duo of Sam Dormer and Katie Burns finished consecutive tough layups, making the score 30-27.

Masco and Marblehead traded baskets and the score read 34-31 Masco with 2:39 remaining in the fourth. But unfortunately for the Magicians, they failed to convert another basket the rest of the way.

“We had some good looks late to tie the score and possibly go ahead, but those shots did not go down,” Moran said. “Again, I will give Masco credit, they executed a little bit better down the stretch [and] made their free throws which ended up being the difference at the end. It would have been fun to see if we tied the game or went ahead to see what would have happened, but we just could not get over the hump tonight.”

The Magicians and Chieftains each started a bit slow as the score was tied 6-6 at the end of the first quarter. The play picked up in the second quarter, but the Magicians were outscored 14-8 in the frame and trailed 20-14 heading into halftime.

A highlight play in the second, however, was when Andriano sprinted for an offensive rebound, tapped the ball away from a Masco player, corralled the loose ball and finished the hustle play with a nifty right-handed layup.

Nevertheless, Moran thought he was at fault for his team’s slow start on offense.

“I have to do a better job putting the girls in the right spots to have success,” Moran said. “We did not do that to start the game, and that is totally on me. Once we did though, we created easier and higher-percentage looks that we made.”

Leading the way for Marblehead was Dormer, as she finished the game with a team-high 10 points. Andriano (eight points and seven rebounds), Burns (two points and nine rebounds), and sophomore Ramona Gillette (two points and eight rebounds) each had strong performances for the Magicians.