Crusaders survive late comeback at Danvers

Sammi Gallant had 23 points in Bishop Fenwick's win over Danvers.

DANVERS — The Bishop Fenwick girls basketball team survived a late run by Danvers and held on to a 46-42 victory Friday night at Danvers High School.

Despite the win, Fenwick coach Adam DeBaggis wasn’t happy with the Crusaders inconsistent play.

“I think what happened for us was we got out to a quick lead and thought we were the Boston Celtics,” DeBaggis said. “We didn’t play 32 minutes. We played a few minutes in the first, maybe a few in the second and didn’t start playing again until the fourth.

“You have to play 32 minutes,” DeBaggis added. “I told the girls, ‘We won that’s great, we finished but did we get better today, I don’t know.'”

Senior captain Sammi Gallant (23 points, four assists and five steals) led the way for the Crusaders, while Jaxson Nadeau (12 points, one assist and five steals) also had a solid night defensively.

“Jaxson defensively was good, she had a lot of turnovers,” DeBaggis said. “Sammi all around was leading the way. I think she was one of the only people we had who was totally engaged in the game the entire time. She is unbelievable. Offensively she had a huge three, but defensively she is communicating so much and that helps avoid so many mistakes.”

Early mistakes came back to hurt the Falcons, but coach Pat Veilleux was happy with the effort.

“I’m proud of our effort tonight,” Veilleux said. “With all the sickness, everybody injured and hobbling around we found a way to make it interesting. It was a great team effort. That was a great game, the kind of game you want to coach.”

Bishop Fenwick started the night aggressive on defense. The Crusaders forced turnovers on the Falcons first four possessions and jumped out to 6-0 lead. From there both teams traded baskets to give Fenwick a 12-6 lead after one quarter.

The Crusader kept the pressure on in the second quarter, eventually extending their lead to 17-6. However, Autumn James (13 points and eight steals) got Danvers right back into the game with three straight steals and seven points to cut the Crusaders lead to 19-12. Fenwick responded with two clutch threes by Nadeau and Gallant to help the Crusaders take a 25-17 lead into the half.

“We played the passing lanes a little bit better, we got out on the shooters better and they missed a few open shots to help us out,” Veilleux said of the defensive effort. “We have some freshmen and younger players out there running the show. Autumn James as a sophomore, this is her first real role that she has had here. She is a great player.”

Danvers had their best quarter of the game in the third. The Falcons continued the pressure on defense and rallied behind some huge baskets by freshman Gabrielle Chisholm to take a 29-28 lead into the fourth.

From there both teams went back and forth before a Fenwick run put the Crusaders ahead 43-38 late in the fourth quarter. The Falcons were able to get back within two points, but a travel on their last possession forced them to foul Gallant, who made both shots to seal the victory for the Crusaders.

Fenwick will be back on the court Thursday in the Masconomet holiday tournament against Beverly, while Danvers has a long rest with no games until after Christmas break.

“That’s always a fun one,” DeBaggis said. “If we can get to Masco that’s always a good game and Beverly is a good game too. Tonight is really a lesson for us. We have to play a complete game on every play. We just aren’t doing that right now.”

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