By Greg Phipps
Entering last week’s action, the Peabody girls’ basketball team appeared to have a near impossible task in front of them – having to win their final four regular-season games to make the playoffs. The Tanners gave it all they had by winning consecutive home games last week over Gloucester and Swampscott. But their hopes were dashed for good in a 61-33 loss at Woburn Tuesday night. That defeat left Peabody at 8-11 on the season with one game left to play on Wednesday.
After Liz Zaiter poured in 18 points to help lead Peabody to a 54-35 victory over Gloucester last Tuesday, Feb. 13, Catherine Manning came up huge with a 17-point, 22-rebound effort in a come-from-behind 43-37 Senior Night defeat of the Swampscott Big Blue on Thursday, Feb. 15. Both wins knocked the opponents out of playoff contention, as the Tanners also played spoiler in their quest to make the tournament.
Manning has been Peabody’s most consistent performer all season, and head coach Stan McKeen acknowledged that fact after the win. “She’s been instrumental for us this year. She’s our only returning player from last year,” he told the press. “She’s been our best player. She leads by example and the younger kids seem to follow.”
In the Swampscott win, Peabody trailed, 25-16, at halftime but clamped down in defense over the final 16 minutes, allowing the visitors just 12 points (only two in the third period). The Tanners didn’t exactly light it up on offense but fed off their defense and eventually overtook the Big Blue.
According to McKeen, senior players Serena Laro and Jordan Muse were vocal in the locker room at the half. “They said they didn’t want to end their senior year with a loss on Senior Night,” he recalled. The message clearly resonated, as Peabody outscored Swampscott by 15 over the final two quarters. Before the game, seniors Muse, Laro and Heavenly Porcher were recognized.
In Tuesday’s defeat at Woburn, Manning scored 12 points and hauled in nine rebounds, and Kristina Rossignoll had five points and eight boards.