The Gloucester and Manchester Essex girls basketball teams don’t need any extra motivation entering its respective state tournament games.
But if there is any extra motivation to be had, the Fishermen and Hornets drew the teams that will bring it out of them.
Gloucester (10-10) is the No. 12 seed in Division 2 North and will face off with its biggest rival in the first round of the state tournament in No. 5 Danvers (12-8) on Thursday, (7:00 p.m., Danvers High School). The teams split a pair of evenly played, closely contested regular season meetings and Thursday’s game will be the much anticipated rubber match between the Northeastern Conference enemies.
Manchester Essex, on the other hand, will get a chance to avenge last season’s first round tournament loss. No. 15 Manchester Essex (7-13) will travel to No. 2 Pope John (18-2) on Tuesday (7:00 p.m., Pope John High School). The Tigers bounced the Hornets in the first round last year 42-31 in a closely contested game.
“You couldn’t have drawn it up any better,” Gloucester girls head coach Brandon Lewis said. “The team is really excited. I think everyone is excited because it was such a great game last time.”
“We know how they play and what they do well, and they know the same things about us,” Manchester Essex head coach Lauren Dubois said. “I think it should be a good game, we are ready and excited to get going.”
If it weren’t for the vastly different colored uniforms Gloucester and Danvers sport, Gloucester’s maroon and Danvers’ bright blue, one may not be able to tell the two teams apart. The Fishermen and Falcons are alike in just about every way which makes Thursday’s first round matchup all the more intriguing.
For starters both teams are successful because of their work on the defensive end. Both the Fishermen and Falcons get after it when they don’t have the ball with aggressive, in your face and suffocating defense. Both teams have a top of the line scorer in Sophie Black for Gloucester and Kasey Sherry for Danvers.