Pulling away against lingering Swampscott

Swampscott’s Cecilia Tripp tries to keep pace with Marblehead’s Marrietta O’Connell. Photo by Emma Fringuelli

The Marblehead girls basketball team (7-5) earned bragging rights over heated rival Swampscott (7-8), 36-21, on home hardwood Thursday, Feb 1.

Talk about starting fast. Senior captain Kathryn Pyne netted six of her nine points in the first quarter, burying two threes to give the Magicians a quick 8-0 lead. 

Marblehead, with its 2-3 zone, halted Swampscott’s attack, holding the Big Blue scoreless in the first quarter (10-0). 

“We can’t spot them 10 points and have a scoreless quarter. That killed us,” said Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard. “Defensively, we did a pretty good job once we settled in, but those first few minutes were a killer.” 

The Magicians led 23-10 at halftime, but leading at the break isn’t new to Marblehead, which has struggled in second halves this season.

“I think it’s more about finishing for us. Normally, we get a really big lead and then we lose it,” Pyne said. “The last few games, we’ve lost by one point, even though we had a huge lead. So today was the first time we got a big lead and maintained it. That was important for us.” 

Swampscott’s offense got more open shots against the zone after forcing the ball into the paint, a halftime adjustment from Leonard. 

“I thought we were getting more paint touches. That’s what we kept stressing – that the ball had to hit the paint,” Leonard said. “We did a better job of that, which shifted their defense and got us better looks.”

The Big Blue, largely thanks to Sam Ward (10 points), started to chip away at the lead. 

Swampscott cut things to eight (25-17) in the third quarter, but an Ainsley McDonald (8 points) layup ended the run. Then, in the fourth quarter, a three-ball from Tessa Andriano (11 points) ended any comeback attempt for Swampscott. 

“Sam Ward hit some key threes for us to give us some life,” Leonard said. “Credit to Marblehead, though. Any time we had some life, they hit a dagger.”

Whether it’s game one or – in this case – game 12, a rivalry win is always nice, according to Pyne.

“I think this game is always personal. We know all the girls because we played against them in powderpuff and soccer, so it’s just huge to win,” Pyne said. 

Marblehead’s other senior captain, Kate Burns, says now that the Magicians are two games above .500, they want to maintain the momentum and keep winning conference games.  

“We’re looking to stay over .500, which I think we’ll do. All the games in the Northeastern Conference are pretty even. You can win or lose to anyone,” Burns said. “If we can keep starting games strong and finishing stronger, I think any game can be ours.” 

For Pyne, she has her eyes set on getting revenge against Masconomet. 

“We really want to beat Masco. That’s a team we’ve lost to by one,” she said.