PEABODY — There’s a reason Fenwick girls basketball coach Adam DeBaggis is excited for the quickly approaching 2018-2019 season. His Crusaders took the tough route to the state tournament last season, clinching their berth in the Division 4 North bracket toward the end of the year. Once they got in, however, they never looked back.
An upset over Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s highlighted a Fenwick run to the sectional crown. The Crusaders reached the state semifinal round where they fell to Archbishop Williams.
Now the Crusaders, with seven senior returners, hope to repeat last year’s success and take the next step forward.
“We feel very good,” DeBaggis, in his eighth season guiding Fenwick, said. “We have seven seniors. They’re kids with great attitudes who work hard. We lost a few seniors and that’s always hard. Jennie (Meagher) and Fredi (DeGuglielmo) were great players who knew how to win. The attitude and work ethic from our returners has been great so that’s always good.”
Fenwick returns four senior captains this winter, all of whom played key roles in last year’s success.
They are guards Jaxson Nadeau and Sammi Gallant, and forwards Liv DiPietro and Elizabeth Pica.
“They’re unbelievable,” DeBaggis said of his captains. “They’re awesome. Jaxson and Sammi have been on the team since they were freshmen. They won a state championship. Liv and Elizabeth have been on the team since they were sophomores. They know how to lead. They saw great examples ahead of them. I’m really lucky to have them.”
Sophomore guard Liv Gonzalez will also play a key role.
“Liv started the first half of last year until Jaxson returned from her injury (torn ACL),” DeBaggis sad. “She’ll be a big piece for us this year.”
With Meagher and DeGuglielmo — two of the more consistent scorers last winter — no longer on the team, Fenwick will have to get creative on offense. They’ll look to do so with an up-tempo style of play.
“We’ll definitely play an up-tempo style of basketball,” DeBaggis said. “We lost some scorers so we have to find a way to make up points. I think we can defend anyone, we just have to find different ways to put the ball in the hoop.”
Rebounding and avoiding foul trouble are the two areas for improvement.
“Rebounding is an area where we were too inconsistent,” DeBaggis said. “We’d like to not be in as much foul trouble as well. The silly fouls are the ones we have to avoid.”
DeBaggis projects a competitive CCL, per usual. Cathedral returns the majority of its roster from last year and Williams has another talented group returning this winter.
“Williams will still be good,” DeBaggis said. “Cathedral didn’t graduate anyone. They’re probably the favorite, I imagine. We went 4-8 in our league last year and we were one game away from the state championship. That shows how competitive our league is. We have to pull out wins wherever we can. There’s a slim margin of error. We went 11-9 and we could’ve easily been 7-13. We have to focus on improving every day.”
Fenwick opens the season Tuesday, Dec. 11 when it hosts Arlington Catholic.
“The girls are very excited,” DeBaggis said. They’ve kind of been waiting. A lot of them play other sports but I think basketball’s their favorite. They’re always ready for this. It’s an exciting time.”