Melrose aims to repeat last year’s playoff bid

Published in the December 15, 2017 edition


MELROSE—After an impressive 2016-17 winter season, the Melrose Lady Raider basketball team returns this winter hoping to pick up where they left off last year, when they finished a winning season with a playoff appearance in the Div. 2 North field. 

SENIOR CAPT. Alexis Doherty will be among those who will lead the Melrose girl’s hoop team. (file photo)

Melrose coach Bill Hirschfeld returns for his third season as head coach. So far, he is pleased to see strong returning starters and promising new players emerge. In early play, Melrose has seen a spread out scoring that speaks to the team’s depth. “So far this season, I’m seeing a balanced offense,” he said. “It’s pretty even across the board.”

Returning as captains this season are senior guard Alexis Doherty and junior guard Lily Cunningham. Both are tough, aggressive players who put points on the board for Melrose and had significant games last season. Doherty in particular had some noteworthy offensive performances.

“Alexis is a top scorer and defensively a real anticipator of action,” says her coach. Lily Cunningham meanwhile, is a player who commands a floor on offense and defense. “She’s the kind of player who leads by example,” says Hirschfeld. “She plays 110% when on the court.” Her sister, Abby, meanwhile, is someone that has seen great improvement. “She’s worked hard on the off season and has been shooting nicely.”

This group is joined by returning players: Abigail Cunningham, Sam Smith, Peri McDonald, Grace Davis and Janajia Walker-Holliman. New faces include Mary Kate Mahoney, Jazmyn Riley, Amarea Shepard and Emily Hudson. 

Two freshmen will be game changers. Sam Dewey and Abby Hudson bring some much need height to the squad. Dewey has already been a factor, serving as starting center in scrimmage play. “She’s got great tools,” says Hirschfeld, whose Melrose team has also seen action against Chelmsford, Saugus and Ipswich in pre season. 

Melrose opens this season on Friday on the road in Lexington followed by a home opener on Tuesday against Woburn. Melrose fans can also anticipate holiday tournament action against teams such as Tewksbury, Lowell and Chelmsford. 

“This team is working hard, and I think that, like last season, they are strong defensively. They’ve looked good in scrimmage play and I see them progressing and getting better each time they’re on the court. They’re definitely up to the challenge.”

Season Schedule

Fri 12/15/17 @ Lexington 7

Tue 12/19/17 v Arlington 6

Thu 12/21/17 @ Woburn, 7

Wed 12/27/17 @ Tewksbury, TBD

Fri 12/29/17@ Tewksbury, TBD

Tue 1/2/18 v Wilmington, 6 

Fri 1/5/18 v. Stoneham, 7

Tue 1/9/18 v Watertown, 7

Fri 1/12/18 @ Wakefield, 7

Fri 1/19/18 v Burlington, 7

Tue 1/23/18 v Belmont, 6

Fri 1/26/18 @ Reading, 7

Tue 1/30/18 v. Winchester, 6

Fri 2/2/18 @ Wilmington, 7 

Tue 2/6/18 v Stoneham, 7

Fri 2/9/18 @ Watertown, 7 

Tue 2/13/18 v. Wakefield, 6

Thu 2/15/18 @ Burlington, 7

Mon 2/19/18 @ Tewksbury, 3:30