DANVERS -- Few outside of the Gloucester girls basketball team’s locker room ever believed the Fishermen would have been in the position they were in last night.
After sitting at 6-10 with four regular-season games to play, Gloucester had turned it on, rattling off four consecutive wins to earn punch its ticket to the Division 2 North tournament in dramatic fashion.
When the No. 12 Fishermen met No. 5 Danvers for the third time this season in the opening round of the tournament last night, though, their late-season magic wasn’t there anymore.
Despite leading by one point at halftime, the Fishermen struggled from the field and struggled with uncharacteristic defensive lapses in the second half and Danvers pulled away, advancing to the Division 2 North quarterfinals with a 50-42 victory at Danvers High School.
“No one thought they’d be here to begin with,” Gloucester coach Brandon Lewis said. “I don’t say that out of malice, I just say that out of the reality of the situation. We weren’t supposed to make the tournament being 6-10, so the fact that we were here was amazing. Would I have liked to have left with a win? Yeah, absolutely, but I thought we had them on the ropes. We just lost our way a little there.
“Offensively, we had a tough time getting baskets, but that’s been us all year, but defensively I just thought we made some silly mistakes and they ended up costing us.”
Gloucester found itself in an excellent spot coming out of halftime. After sophomore guard Kayla Nasser caught fire and notched eight points in the second quarter to help the Fishermen build up a one-point halftime lead.
But with senior point guard Katie Ciaramitaro struggling with foul trouble -- she picked up her third foul at the end of the second quarter and her fourth at the end of the third -- the Fishermen struggled to maintain their generally stingy defensive identity.