Published in the December 17, 2015 edition


NORTH READING — With just two players lost to graduation from last season’s team that finished 13-9 and made it to the North quarterfinals new girls’ basketball head coach Bob Melillo and the Lady Hornets are poised for a strong season.

Melillo comes to North Reading after spending the last two seasons as the girls’ varsity coach at Lynnfield High School and has 28 years of experience coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball at the high school level. He has a career record of 329-238.

The Hornets might face some challenges learning a whole new system, but with so much returning talent and leadership that shouldn’t be a major issue.

The team began the season on the road Tuesday with a victory over Masconomet, 52–46.

Senior captain Jess Lezon and Yale commit will be counted on to use her size to score inside.

Senior captain and four–year starter Carly Swartz will lead the offense at point guard.

Senior captain Julia McDonald will provide leadership and junior Katerina Hassapis will be a solid scorer at guard.

North Reading will have plenty of depth, including two freshmen, Mia DeNofrio and Casey McAuliffe.

They will need this depth to navigate the challengeing Cape Ann League. Melillo said, “Masco and Pentucket are very good. Triton and Newburyport are improved. But every team is going to be a challenge and it appears every team in the CAL Kinney Division is in a positive cycle”

Even though the Hornets face a tough schedule Melillo is confident they will not only qualify for the state tournament but should compete for the CAL Kinney crown.