After one practice together, Mascenic girls’ basketball takes down Newmarket

Ella Pearson drives to the hoop.

Ella Pearson drives to the hoop. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic's Hannah Cargill attempts a second-half layup.

Mascenic's Hannah Cargill attempts a second-half layup. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Skye Lambert shoots a free throw.

Skye Lambert shoots a free throw. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic's Siena Gregory goes for a layup against Newmarket.

Mascenic's Siena Gregory goes for a layup against Newmarket. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic's Jordin Schuler splits a Newmarket double-team.

Mascenic's Jordin Schuler splits a Newmarket double-team. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic senior Ella Pearson makes one of her signature baseball outlet passes against Newmarket.

Mascenic senior Ella Pearson makes one of her signature baseball outlet passes against Newmarket. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic senior Skye Lambert dribbles upcourt against Newmarket. 

Mascenic senior Skye Lambert dribbles upcourt against Newmarket.  PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic's Lorelai Shippee goes for a shot against Newmarket during the Vikings' season opener in New Ipswich on Friday, Dec. 1.

Mascenic's Lorelai Shippee goes for a shot against Newmarket during the Vikings' season opener in New Ipswich on Friday, Dec. 1. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Mascenic head coach Victoria Caiado talks to her team during a timeout.

Mascenic head coach Victoria Caiado talks to her team during a timeout. —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

Lorelai Shippee works the baseline.

Lorelai Shippee works the baseline. —PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

By BEN CONANT

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 12-04-2023 10:29 AM

Mascenic girls’ basketball head coach Victoria Caiado danced her way into the Vikings' locker room after Friday's game with Newmarket.

Who could blame her? A week before, Mascenic didn't even have the numbers to field a team. But after just one practice together, the Vikings brought out a scrappy seven for a season-opening, come-from-behind win over the preseason top-10 Mules.

"Yesterday was the first day we had all of our girls," Caiado said after the 36-35 Viking win. "We've had one practice with the full team, so it's tough, but we've had some strong girls from day one, so we're pushing through, we're going with it."

After adding a couple freshman and a couple late recruits, the Vikings should be nine strong at full strength, but with two girls unavailable and another, Emma Cargill, injured, Mascenic had a limited bench in their opener. Mascenic and Newmarket both exhibited some rust to start their seasons, with the score stuck at 0-0 and 2-2 for quite some time in the first quarter.

Despite the slow start, the Vikings quickly got into their offensive game plan -- "quickly" being the operative word, as Mascenic's combination of speed and arm strength gives them the right recipe to go fast. 

"We want to run this year," Caiado said. "We have a fast-enough team where I think we can - especially with Ella [Pearson]'s arm,” Caiado said. “If we can get the passes and the catching of those harder passes honed in a little bit better, I think that's gonna be really big, because I think we can be a real threat in that area this year."

Indeed, the Vikings looked to run right off the first Mule miss, as senior softball star Pearson showed off her arm with a big outlet pass. Mascenic has plenty of speed with senior cross-country champ Skye Lambert and fast freshman Jordin Schuler at guard. And, they have some versatility, with forwards like Pearson (eight points) and Sienna Gregory (four points) who are comfortable bringing the ball up. 

"That's where I think we're a little more threatening," Caiado said. "We have Ella, who can dribble, take the threes and is good in the post. Sienna's the same way - she can take the threes, she's driving, she's doing all this stuff."

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Freshman Hannah Cargill (six points) can also do a little of everything, and along with Schuler, has added spark and dedication from the freshman class.

“They've stepped up," Caiado said. "They've been here since day one and they've come to the open gyms, they've come to the Saturday practices - they want it."

With both teams shooting a low percentage to start the game, it was Mascenic's Lorelai Shippee who came to the forefront as the Vikings' best rebounder.

"She just gets in there and muscles girls out of the way," Caiado said. 

Mascenic trailed 16-14 at the half and was down five with five minutes left in the game. That was when the senior Lambert, Mascenic's most-experienced year-round player, took the game into her hands. Lambert hit a three to give the Vikings the lead and shot 5-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth to put Mascenic up 36-35 with under a minute left, showing that she can be a leader on and off the court. 

"This year, she's really helping to bring the girls around," Caiado said. "She's helping to build up the freshmen coming in. She knows that one of them is going to have to start. So she's really working on keeping everyone positive, keeping everyone motivated, so that when we were down in the fourth quarter, she really helped to boost all the girls up and get everybody back into their frame of mind of not giving up, which is big."

Lambert finished with a game-high 14 points. Mascenic had the ball and the lead with 30 seconds left but still made it interesting for preseason No. 7 Newmarket. The Vikings, eager to keep up their fast pace, ran a pair of fast breaks and launched an ill-advised shot, Caiado imploring them all the while to slow down. Luckily for the young team, their late-game mismanagement didn't cost them anything.

"That's just them listening and getting used to the varsity pace for some of them," Caiado said. "Throughout the year, it'll come. We'll get there and we're excited."

And she just can't hide it.

Mascenic (1-0) is at Newport Friday.