Girls Basketball Playing Hard Through Defeat

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The Malden High School girls basketball team has just a 1-8 record in the early going of the 2012-13 winter season, but with a strong, positive attitude about the game, things are certainly headed in the right direction under John Furlong, who is in his first year as varsity head coach.

After losing in an away game to Lynn Classical to open the season on Dec. 11, 2012, the team bounced back with its first win of the season six days later, beating Haverhill, 37-27.

MHS played its first home games against Danvers and Wakefield as part of the annual Christmas Tournament on Dec. 27-28, 2012. Despite losing, the team has been able to measure its strengths and weaknesses while looking toward the future.

“When we played Danvers, we played hard,” said senior Christina Ascolillo. “We only gave up 17 points pretty much the whole entire game…When we played Wakefield, it was tougher. We kind of did not have the enthusiasm [we would have liked] in the second half, but overall, our team is doing OK.”

The team came into the season with a core of returning varsity players, including senior captains Lisa DeLacey, Norma Bourque-Pimentel and Bridget Furlong, as well as heavy group of players moving up from the junior varsity level.

“We could not ask for anyone better [to lead the team],” Ascolillo said. “They are there for the underclassmen and for anyone who needs help. They are there when we need to lean on them and also when they need to be on top of us, which is good.”

Ascolillo considers the contributions of sophomores Jaime MacDonald and Caitlin Applin as “amazing” for the team as they take on key positions on the roster. Specifically, Applin replaced fellow sophomore Michaela Ilebode at the center position while she recovered from a recent surgery and was also inserted to the starting lineup during some of the first few games.

Although the team has struggled to find the wins column, defense is considered to be one of the team’s strengths, while scoring the ball is an area to be improved upon.

“We have a lot of drive to play good defense [because] we put the work in,” Ascolillo stated. “We have a lot of strong girls, especially down in the post, which is very good for the team.”

Since the Christmas Tournament, the team struggled in losses to non-league opponents Salem and Lynnfield, as well as in their first two Greater Boston League games against Somerville and Everett on Jan. 8 and 11, 2013.

With the majority of the season still ahead, including the majority of their GBL games, Ascolillo notes that the team just needs to “tighten up some things” in order to ensure more wins down the road.

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