Marblehead falls short in season opener

The Marblehead girls basketball team kicked off the 2022-23 season Tuesday against rival Beverly at home. The Magicians were in position to leave their home floor with a win, but the Panthers found a way to claw back and upend Marblehead 33-28.

Marblehead head coach Paul Moran would have liked his team to come out on top, but was not too upset by the outcome.

“It was the first game of the season, and we just were not as ready or prepared as Beverly was,” Moran said. “Beverly is a good team and give them credit for being the better team tonight.”

The Magicians controlled the game in the first half, as they held the lead for the entirety of it. Marblehead jumped out to a 5-0 lead three minutes into the game and took a 9-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Beverly scored the first basket of the second quarter, but Marblehead answered, as the Magicians scored the final six points of the quarter and took a 15-9 lead into halftime.

It was a tale of two halves, and the second half was all Beverly. The Panthers came out on fire in the third quarter, making four three pointers in the frame. Beverly tied the game 17-17 with 4:33 remaining in the third, and then connected on a three-pointer with 2:17 left in the quarter which gave the Panthers their first lead of the game 20-17.

Once the Panthers took the lead, they stayed ahead the rest of the game. One of the key reasons for the big momentum change in the second half was execution, according to Moran.

“We did not execute our game plan well enough on offense or defense,” Moran said. “We had too many turnovers, and just did not get out on shooters fast enough out of our zone defense. The good news, these are correctable mistakes, which we will make and be better next time.”

Marblehead’s Isabelle Ferrante hit a big three pointer at the end of the third, but Marblehead trailed 23-20 heading into the fourth. In the fourth quarter, Magician Samantha Dormer forced a steal and then found Katie Pyne up the court for a fastbreak who finished a layup, cutting the Beverly lead to two (28-26). But the Panthers answered again, finishing the game on a 5-0 run to seal the victory.

Moran saw some positives despite the result, especially from the underclassmen.

“I really like our hustle, enthusiasm, and just our general morale during the game,” Moran said. “The younger girls also showed well in this game like Isabelle [Ferrante], who played great and made some big plays.”

Leading the way for Marblehead was Sara Bario, as she finished the game with six points and six rebounds. Katie Burns (two points and five rebounds), Dormer (four points, three steals, and five rebounds), and Pyne (two points, three assists, two steals, and three rebounds) each filled up the statsheet for the Magicians. Marblehead takes on Ipswich on the road next on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 5:15 p.m., and Moran is eager for his team to get back on the hardwood this week.

“We have two more games this week, and I am excited to see how the girls respond after tonight,” Moran said.