Melissa Gray (left) scored 19 points for Peabody.
By JOYCE EREKSON
WOBURN – The Peabody girls basketball team didn’t have it’s best game against Woburn Friday night in the Division 1 North quarterfinals, but the reality is, it probably wouldn’t have been enough even if it did.
Woburn was unstoppable and the 84-55 final score reflected just how tough a night it was for Peabody. The teams exchanged baskets for most of the first quarter, but once the (Woburn) Tanners caught fire, it was lights out for Peabody.
Senior sharpshooter Marissa Gattuso buried a three to start the second quarter and it was like Woburn had flipped a switch. By the time halftime rolled around, Woburn had built up a 19-point lead (50-31) that ballooned to 33 points with 3:10 left in the game. Gattuso led all scorers with 22 points, and probably would have had more had she and the other starters not sat out most of the fourth quarter.
“No. 1 (Gattuso) was a phenomenal player,” Peabody coach Stan McKeen said.
“They moved the ball so well and they hit (five) threes in the first half. They just didn’t miss. We got down 19 and against a good team it’s tough to come back. They didn’t miss. They’re a very good team.”
Although Gattuso was very tough to stop, she was only one part of the problem.
“They had five good players in and out of the game. Whatever they replaced one with, it was like a missing part. We didn’t have that luxury,” McKeen said. “We fought hard. We played against a very good team.”
McKeen said he had watched films of two Woburn games and didn’t expect such a lopsided contest.
“I thought it would be a close game. I really did,” he said. “I did not expect that they were going to shoot lights out like they did. They moved the ball. That was the key.”
Peabody never got a rhythm going offensively. Senior captain Melissa Gray finished with 19 points as did senior forward Nene Onwuogu, but they had to fight for every point. Onwuogu was very tough in the paint and it showed. She finished 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
“They’re a really good team,” Onwuogu said about Woburn. “They’re really aggressive. They have a really good range of players. They have three–point shooters, girls under the basket. They have size. It was definitely tough, but we didn’t give up.”
Katie Wallace had seven points for Peabody. Woburn also had big games from Kelsey Qualey (15 points) and Mya Blazejowski (10 points). Woburn had 11 players figure into the scoring.
Peabody finishes the season 14-8. The Tanners were the No. 11 seed. Woburn (19-3 including its two tournament wins) is the three seed behind No. 1 Andover and No. 2, Revere. Revere was ousted by Central Catholic in the quarterfinals. Central Catholic and Woburn will meet in the semifinals. Andover is still alive on the other side of the bracket.