PEABODY — When you watch Fenwick senior guard Sammi Gallant play, it doesn’t take long to come away impressed with her unique abilities on the basketball court. This past season, Gallant posted averages of 16.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. She was voted the Catholic Central League Player of the Year.
Gallant concluded her high school career with a game-high 25-point performance in Fenwick’s 53-52 loss to St. Mary’s last week in the semifinal round of the Division 3 North state tournament.
Her next endeavor? She’ll play Division II basketball at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. Gallant made a verbal commitment to the Ravens this past weekend.
“I’ve been looking at a lot of Division 2 schools,” Gallant, an Ipswich native, said. “I’ve been looking at a lot of NE10 schools. My high school and AAU coaches have helped me narrow it down. I just decided that I liked the school the best and Franklin Pierce was the best fit for me.”
During the recruiting process, Gallant also considered committing to Post University, Southern New Hampshire University and Assumption College.
“I was looking for kind of a coach that has similarities to (Fenwick) coach (Adam) DeBaggis — determined and focused on the unity and success of the team,” Gallant said. “I saw that in (Franklin Pierce coach Jeanette McKillop) and in the team too.
“I think I’ll fit it in pretty well,” Gallant, who plans to major in business, said. “When I toured the school I met some of the players on the team. I liked the girls. I think can mesh with them. When I toured the school I could see myself there. It was a good feeling I had when I went there.”
Gallant helped lead the Crusaders to a Division 3 North crown during her junior season in 2017-2018. Fenwick fell one win short of a repeat trip to the sectional final this season. Without Gallant’s leadership and abilities to take over a game, Fenwick’s season could’ve ended much sooner. Even while she was sidelined with a leg injury midway through the season, Gallant helped in any way she could from the bench, almost serving as another coach.
“Sammi literally carried us at times,” Fenwick coach Adam DeBaggis said. “Everyone on both sides of the ball knew it, on our team and on the teams we were playing. Even when she was hurt she was almost like a coach on the sidelines. She leads by example and with her voice. We had a miserable stretch there and she was carrying us. We won a few games without her but she was a leader on the bench too.”
Although her senior season didn’t end the way she hoped it would, Gallant felt it was a positive year.
“At one point we had four of our five starters injured at the same time,” Gallant said. “All the injuries, we couldn’t play on our home court, we realized those things were uncontrollable. We realized it was bad luck. We had to fight through adversity. I think we handled that very well. We came in every day and we were ready to practice.”
DeBaggis has nothing but confidence in Gallant as she prepares to take her game to the college level.
“Sammi’s going to do great,” DeBaggis said. “I’m surprised that it took this long for someone to give her a scholarship. I think she’s just perfect for that league. I’ve seen it a lot because I have a former player (Colleen Corcoran, LeMoyne) there and they’re so local. I think it’s a perfect level for her.
“I’m proud that we’ve had a couple kids, three or four playing in college at this point,” DeBaggis said. “Jaxson (Nadeau) is going to Tilton and I imagine she’ll play at the college level. The kids have molded each other. Each set of kids have learned from the older kids. Having that trickle down effect is great. Hopefully it continues. Hopefully we have a freshman in our program who watched Sammi and wanted to be like her.”