GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 19, 2013

It's now or never for local girls basketball teams

As we approach the midpoint of the high school basketball season, the story’s the same for all three girls programs: It’s crunch time.

Gloucester, Manchester Essex and Rockport have all been up-and-down to this point in the season, showing winning potential at times while struggling to stay afloat at other points.

Thanks to the Sullivan Rule, Manchester Essex has already punched its ticket to the Division 4 state tournament. For Gloucester and Rockport, there’s still work to be done.

That kind of battle to the end, though, is what makes it fun.

Gloucester

Record: 4-7

X-Factor: Senior forward Sophie Black

Big win: 46-38 over Marblehead on January 4

Big loss: 40-33 vs. Danvers on January 7

Outlook: Before this season began, scoring was the obvious concern for the Gloucester girls basketball team.

After graduating stars Audrey Knowlton and Heather Cain following last season’s trip to the Division 2 North quarterfinals, the task for coach Brandon Lewis was to find a way to fill that scoring void.

Through 11 games, that’s proven to be no easy task. The Fishermen are averaging just 35 points per game to this point in the season, and that difficulty scoring has certainly been what’s held Gloucester back.

Despite that, though, the Fishermen are in the thick of things. They employ an aggressive, attacking defensive approach led by co-captains Katie Ciaramitaro and Sophie Black, and with their ability to create turnovers, the Fishermen have been in a position to win nearly all of their games.

Now, they’ve just got to put it all together down the stretch. Gloucester will need to win six of its final nine games to return to the state tournament, and that’ll likely depend on the Fishermen’s ability to score.

The talent, however, is there. Black (11 points per game) and guard Julianna Costanzo (10.2 points per game) have shown an ability to score in bunches, and with Ciaramitaro and Sam Oliver chipping in, the potential is there for the Fishermen to put together a second half run.

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