The Marblehead girls’ basketball team was down three points late in the fourth quarter against Saugus
in front of their home crowd Tuesday night. The Magicians made two clutch shots in the final minutes of
the game, which propelled them passed the Sachems 31-29.
Marblehead head coach Paul Moran was impressed by his team’s performance.
“We knew were going to have some challenges this year since we are a very young team,” Moran said.
“We came into this season losing five seniors’, who accounted for close to 80% of our production last
season. It is never easy to replace that much playing time, scoring and defense, but this young group is
finding a way, which is great to see. I only expect this group to become a better and more confident
team with each practice and game that passes by. This group has a lot of talent, and the more
experience they have together, improved results will follow.”
It was a back-and-forth game throughout, as Saugus held a slim 18-16 lead at halftime. Marblehead
controlled the play in the third quarter, as they outscored Saugus 6-0, and held a 22-18 heading into the
fourth. The Magicians started the final frame with the opening possession and caught the Sachems
defense by surprise. Marblehead’s Samara Dosch found Kate Burns wide open in the corner off the
inbounds pass, and Goldwater made an uncontested layup to give the Magicians a 24-18 lead. Saugus
was held scoreless for over eight minutes by this point in the second half but responded with a 6-0 run,
as Ashley Escobar scored all six of those points and tied the game 24-24 with 4:37 remaining in the
fourth. Marblehead junior Katie Burns spilt a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession, to put the
Magicians back in front 25-24. The Sachems answered when Ana Silva drilled a three-pointer, which
gave Saugus the lead for the first time since the third quarter 27-25 with three minutes left on the clock.
Marblehead freshman Tessa Andriano split a pair for free throws on the next possession, and Saugus’s
Peyton Dibiasio made a runner in the lane, which extended the Sachems lead 29-26 with 3:00 left. The
Magicians Katie Pine corralled a long rebound off a Sachems missed three-pointer, sprinted up the floor,
and stepped into an open straight-away three-point shot that she swished, which tied the game 29-29
with 2:35 left.
I caught up with Pine after the game, and she was not planning on taking that shot during that crucial
moment in the game.
“I really just wanted to get ball up the court as fast as I could before Saugus was able to set their
defense,” Pine said. “When I saw I was open after bringing up the ball, I just stepped into the shot
confidently and was pumped to see it go down.”
This was the only three-point make Marblehead made all game long. Both the Magicians and Sachems
went a bit cold during final 2:35 of the game, but Marblehead called timeout and had possession of the
ball with 11 seconds left. On the Marblehead inbounds play, Sam Dormer passed the ball into Burns,
then cut to the basket, and Burns found Domer open, and she finished the right-handed layup, which
gave the Magicians a 31-29 lead with six seconds left.
Dormer was elated to talk about that last offensive play of the game.
“The play worked just the way coach drew it up during the timeout,” Dormer said. “I had a bit of a tough
shooting night, but it was great to see that layup go down at the end of the game.”
Saugus called a timeout at midcourt with 3.2 seconds left. On the Sachems inbounds play, Dibiaso was
open at the top of the key and created space on a step-back three, but the shot clanged off the front rim
as time expired.
Moran thought when Dibiaso put up the shot that his team was in trouble.
“Peyton is a great player for Saugus, and she had a terrific shooting game throughout,” Moran said.
“When I saw Peyton get an open look at the three-point line, I thought she was going to make the shot.
Luckily for us, the shot came up a little short, and we get to start 2023 with a win.”
Leading the way for Marblehead was Andriano, (eight points and seven rebounds), Dosch (two points,
four assists and four rebounds) and Marrietta O’Connell (four points and five rebounds).
Moran was very happy to see the younger players step up.
“The freshman and the other young players on this team really did a great job tonight,” Moran said.
“Tessa led the team in scoring and doing that as a freshman is no small feat.”
Andriano could not stop smiling after the game.
“I felt I was able to get out of my shell tonight,” Andriano said. “I felt more confident, and I am happy I
was able to help the team win tonight.”