Melrose is 5-1 after Wilmington & tourney wins

Published in the January 5, 2018 edition


MELROSE—The Melrose Lady Raider basketball team is off to their best start in years with a record of 5-1 after a 56-52 comeback win over Wilmington at home on Tuesday and winning the first-ever Tony Romano Memorial Christmas Tournament the week prior in Tewksbury. 

ABBY CUNNINGHAM goes in for a basket during Melrose’s comeback win over Wilmington on Tuesday that improves them to 5-1. (Donna Larsson photo)

Melrose put on a show for home fans at the Melrose Middle School gym on Tuesday against the Wildcats after trailing by 15 points in the fourth quarter for rally to victory. 

It was a good night for tall freshmen. Melrose’s Samantha Dewey, their 6’0 center, had 15 points and 11 rebounds (double-double) while Emily Hudson (5’10) had 5 points and 6 rebounds, coming up huge in the end when Melrose outscored the Wildcats 16-2 but found Dewey in foul trouble. 

Wilmington (2-3) took an early 9-7 lead at the end of the first, but Melrose flipped the script and took a 13-11 lead when Alexis Doherty and Sam Dewey (9 first half rebounds) hit two straight shots. Wilmington took a 16-13 lead that was cut down by great defensive work from Melrose’s Sam Smith (five steals.) But Wilmington went up 20-19 at the half, thanks to the work of Wildcat Jenna Traverse. 

Melrose also found themselves buried by four straight 3-pointers by Wildcat Bella Granara to open up a 39-28 lead late in the third. At the start of the fourth, Wilmington broke away with a 45-33 lead with more treys by Granara. But Melrose crept back 47-42, then regained the lead, 48-47, on a basket by Abigail Hudson with 4:36 left in the game. The frosh stepped in for Dewey at the right time and delivered down the stretch. That was followed by work from Lily Cunningham and Alexis Doherty on the foul line to help preserve the lead and ultimate win. 

The result was Melrose’s third straight victory, following the Lady Raiders’ victory at the Tony Romano Christmas Tournament. Melrose began the tourney with a 53-42 victory against Tewksbury in first round play. Despite Tewksbury taking a 10-7 lead in the first, and leading by two at the half, Melrose went on a run in the second half and outscored the Redmen 30-17 thanks to work Abigail Cunningham, Lily Cunningham and Alexis Doherty.

At 5-1, Melrose faces another key league game on Friday, Jan. 5 at 7:00 p.m. when they travel to Stoneham to take on the Lady Spartans (weather permitting). On Melrose’s radar, no doubt, is their Jan. 12 tilt against undefeated Wakefield (5-0), a game that may help determine the fate of the Freedom League.