SHIRLEY – There’s no better way to honor your senior class than to send them out with a win on Senior Night. That’s what the Parker Charter girls’ basketball team did Monday night.
Led by Emma Tierney’s team-high eight points, the Panthers sent the White Tigers of the Sizer School back to Fitchburg with a 37-30 loss on Monday at the Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School.
With the triumph, the Panthers improve to 5-10 on the season. They have one more home game on Thursday when Innovation Academy makes the trip to Shirley from Tyngsborough. Parker will wrap up the regular season slate on Friday when they travel to Worcester and visit the Bears of Abby Kelley Foster Charter School.
The win for Parker on Monday also completes the season sweep of the White Tigers. The Panthers defeated Sizer 32-20 back on January 12 in Fitchburg.
Parker first-year head coach Caroline Rodi took over as head coach in the offseason. Rodi is a 2020 graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. She is a teacher at the school. Rodi spoke with the Tracker following Monday’s victory.
“It was huge to send them out on a senior night with a win. They all played so well together. We had a goal that each senior was going to score a basket tonight and they did that,” said Rodi from the Parker bench. “This is my first year ever coaching and these girls have made it so enjoyable. It’s been a real pleasure to work with this team this year.”
Tierney was one of eight players to find their way into the scoring column for Parker on Monday. Five other players finished the game with four points including senior captain Ali Lombard, Sarah Toomey, Gianna Macchione, Charlotte Churchill, and Katie Collins. Savannah Kuliesis chipped in with three points for the winners.
“I have to admit this group has been super patient with me as we figure things out and I appreciate that,” said Rodi. “It can be a challenge, I know I’m young and working with some of these girls who are only a few years younger than me. As a female coach, I want to be supportive and build relationships with these players.”
Odette Amoakohene netted 13 points for Sizer, who fell to 1-10 on the season. Teammate Amanda King added 12 points.
Parker grabbed control early, jumping to an 11-2 lead after the first quarter. The hosts didn’t let up in the second frame as the Panthers stretched the lead to 27-11 heading into the locker room at halftime.
Sizer did its best to chip away in the second half, outscoring the hosts 19-10 over the final 16 minutes. The White Tigers remained within striking distance, trailing by 12 after three quarters as Parker held a 31-19 advantage.
Despite their best efforts over the final eight minutes, Sizer couldn’t complete the comeback as Parker and its five seniors held down the fort and refused to let this one slip away.
Following the game, Rodi and her coaching staff recognized the five Parker seniors on this year’s roster. Those seniors include Toomey, Macchione, Yarrow Bercovici-Biotti, Lombard, and fellow captain Nina Sanderson.
“It was hard because these seniors didn’t have a season last year because of COVID so this year it was like we wanted to try to give them two seasons in one,” said Rodi. “These girls showed up and from day one they were ready to take on the challenge. They’ve worked hard every single day and really help build the culture that we need. They’re great leaders and really important to the team and program.”