By Greg Phipps
After a slow start, the Peabody High School (PHS) girls’ basketball team used a key 16-0 run to notch a 48-38 victory in its season opener against Northeastern Conference (NEC) foe Revere last Friday night at the PHS Gym.
Peabody fell behind by a 9-2 margin early in the first quarter but outscored the visitors, 9-1, over the remainder of the stanza to pull in front, 11-10. Freshmen Oluchi Okananwa’s steal and layup gave the Tanners the lead.
With the contest still close at 19-18 late in the second quarter, Peabody went on a 16-0 tear that carried into the third. By the time the surge ended, the Tanners owned a comfortable 35-18 lead and were on their way.
Revere did climb a bit closer on a few occasions but never seriously threatened, as it could manage only a 13-11 point advantage over the final eight minutes. It was Peabody’s first win over Revere in recent years.
“We started off slow but we were able to cut the deficit down and [eventually] we took the lead. We got up by 14 or 15 points then slipped a little towards the end of the game,” said Peabody head coach Stan McKeen afterwards. “But we had good ball movement on offense and it was a good defensive effort, especially down the stretch. They hit some tough shots. Overall, I’m pleased.”
Led by 20 points from Okananwa, a freshman, and nine from senior Catherine Manning, who also hauled down eight boards, McKeen said the team is a work in progress and the guard position still needs to be established. He did cite the performance of Okananwa, whose varsity debut was impressive (seven rebounds and three steals to go with her 20 points).
“When she gets in the open court, it’s pretty tough to stop her. She’s quick and anticipates very well,” said McKeen. “She has those long arms and picked off some passes that helped get us going.”
On Monday, Peabody improved to 2-0 with a 49-42 league win at Danvers. Kristina Rossignoll led the way with 18 points.
In Friday’s junior varsity contest, Aja Alimonte tallied 16 points and Jordyn Collins added 12 as the Tanners rolled to a 60-17 win over Revere. The Tanners hosted Malden on Wednesday.