THE MELROSE High girl’s basketball team celebrated their Senior Night in the best fashion: with a win. Pictured from left are seniors Elaine Albuja, Megan Casey (capt.) Chloe Gentile (capt.) Lily Kavanaugh, Gia Vlajkovic (capt.) and Sofia Smith (capt.) (photo by Raj Das, edphotos.com)
Melrose poised for a playoffs in latest rankings
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—Don’t look now, but the Melrose girls’ basketball team may be projected for a post season after a series of wins which has them #20 in power rankings thanks to a three-game winning streak from Jan. 20-27.
Part of that ranking is not only their difficult schedule, but a winning streak only interrupted by a hiccup against Watertown on Tuesday in a 48-40 loss.
But last week, Melrose enjoyed three straight wins over Wilmington, Arlington and Stoneham that improved them to 5-7 and moved them up to a #20 power ranking (top #33 teams advance to a post season).
Melrose is 3-3 in the Freedom League and now await a handful of games that may be considered winnable, but certainly not a given. Right now, no one is taking anything for granted and Melrose will focus sharply on their upcoming games to (hopefully) punch their first ticket to playoffs in nearly four years.
And they made that easier with a sharp 38-25 win over Stoneham on Friday, January 27 at home during Senior Night, which honored their six seniors: captains Megan Casey, Chloe Gentile, Sofia Smith and Gia Vlajkovic and seniors Elaine Albuja and Lily Kavanaugh.
All of them were instrumental in Melrose’s win over a very plucky Spartan team, who certainly made Melrose work for the win. Stoneham kept the game tight as Melrose faced a 6-2 deficit before tying things up and then taking a 10-6 lead at the end of the first, most of it behind the work of Gia Vlajkovic with 8 of those points. At halftime, Melrose took control of the game and had a 15-10 lead behind the work of Sofia Smith, who had a three pointer, and solid foul line work of Megan Casey. Casey also came up enormous with rebounds over the night totaling close to 15, and Ava Tormo had a nice basket that gave Melrose a 20-12 lead while Alex Leeman had a great layup to put Melrose up 23-12 at the end of the three.
The fourth period was when Melrose really came alive, with Sofia Smith opening it up with a score and two baskets from Chloe Gentile helped extend Melrose’s lead to 30-20. Smith and Megan Casey closed it out with points and Melrose took the 38-23 final.
Up next, Melrose faces a tall order when they travel to Warrior territory to face Wakefield, who at 13-2 is considered a division favorite and has already beaten Melrose this year. Action takes place at 5:30 p.m. at Wakefield High.