Despite losses, team shows offensive spark in early season
Published in the December 25, 2015 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — As 2016 draws near, the Melrose High Lady Raider basketball team has a New Year Resolution of sorts: to play in post season.
And that is a do-able goal for the speedy squad, who began their season last week. While they found themselves on the losing end the good news was their impressive offensive performances. That includes newcomer Alexis Doherty, who tallied 23 points against Arlington on Friday and Caroline Nolan who hit for 13 points against Belmont on Tuesday, Dec. 15. According to Melrose head coach Lindsay Shanahan, the team’s early displays of offense are a positive. “This year we have more offensive options, which is definitely a highlight,” says the coach. “So far the team has showed great speed and intensity.”
That includes senior captain Sarah Foote, who Shanahan calls an “offensive threat” after her many years as a Lady Raider. She is joined in her leadership role by fellow senior captains Olivia Smith, Ali Bornstein and Julia Foley. Rounding out the roster are: Caroline Nolan, Leonora Ivers, Lily Cunningham, Abigail Cunningham, Cat Torpey and Alexis Doherty.
Melrose came out of the gate last week against Middlesex Large teams, including Belmont (61-54 loss) on Dec. 15 and Arlington (66-54 loss) on Dec. 18. However, playing against Freedom League teams such as Burlington and Wakefield could give a general idea where the Lady Raiders stand in small school play, with red-hot Watertown a given to take the Freedom title. At press time, Melrose is down two starters to injury, which adds another wrinkle, but it’s one they are overcoming as they put points on the board. The key now is to ramp up defense.
“We’re going to focus on cramping down on defense. We’re playing a zone trap and I’d like to utilize the team’s speed and intensity,” reports Shanahan.
And while there is work to do, thus far Melrose is showing what they are capable of. “Last year we were averaging 30 or so points and this year we are reaching the 50s, which is a big plus,” says the coach. “We just have to find the balance between defense and offense. We’re aiming to make playoffs this year.”
After a road trip to Wilmington on Wednesday (post deadline) Melrose will travel to Tewksbury High on Dec. 28 with some holiday play at 7 p.m. looking to earn their first win.