WINCHENDON – The Parker Charter girls’ basketball team got the season off on the right foot Monday.
The Panthers traveled to Murdock for a date with the host Blue Devils and despite a slow start, turned it on for the final three quarters as Parker earned a 36-19 victory.
Parker is 1-0 while Murdock falls to 0-1 on the season.
“Everyone on our team performs well and I think that’s what makes us a threat is that everyone can and will contribute,” said Parker second year head coach Caroline Rodi. “I thought we did a nice job sharing the basketball and finding the open player to get us shots. They want to score and they don’t care who does it. I was happy with the way the team played today. This was a good win to start the season.”
The Panthers were led offensively by a pair of players in double figures as Emma Tierney paced the winners with 11 points. Teammate Katie Collins added 10 points and Jocelyn Testa scored five points for Parker.
Murdock’s point production was paced by Shannon Connolly, who finished with 14 of the Blue Devils 19 points.
The Blue Devils got off to a strong start against Parker on Monday as the hosts scored 10 of the 18 total first quarter points to grab a 10-8 lead after eight minutes.
Parker responded in a big way in the second quarter as the Panthers shut down the Murdock offense in the frame, not allowing a single Murdock point. Meanwhile the Parker offense picked up the slack and registered 12 points in the stanza to take a 20-10 halftime lead.
“We get really great leadership out of our four seniors,” said Rodi. “They play the game the right way and show sportsmanship and respect of each other and the other team and the younger players see that and buy in. I thought defensively, we did a good job generating turnovers and forcing them into mistakes.”
In the third quarter, the Panthers refused to let Murdock chip away and climb back into the contest, outscoring the hosts 10-4 to build a commanding 30-14 advantage after three complete quarters.
As it did all game long, the Panthers continued to force Murdock into several mistakes on the offensive end during the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils turned the basketball over 34 times in the contest, including 12 during the fourth quarter.
Their inability to hang onto the basketball prevented the Blue Devils from being able to chip away at the comfortable Parker lead during the final eight minutes of action as Parker maintained its sizeable cushion and headed back home with the big win to start the season.
The Parker School wasn’t the only local squad to open its season on a strong note as the Ayer-Shirley boys’ and girls’ basketball teams also picked up solid victories this past week to start their respective seasons.
Beginning with the Ayer-Shirley boys’ team, it traveled to Lowell Wednesday night to take on host Collegiate Charter of Lowell.
Brian Holmes poured in a game high 16 points and teammate Zach Iannacone added 15 points and Cam Marshall scored 10 points as Ayer-Shirley notched a 57-37 win.
Ayer-Shirley (1-0) was back in action on Friday night for its first home game of the season when it hosted Murdock.
As for the Ayer-Shirley girls’ basketball team, it welcomed Collegiate Charter of Lowell to town on Wednesday and proceeded to dominate the opposition as the Panthers cruised to a 73-23 triumph.
Maddie Davis led the Panthers (1-0) with 16 points, including four three-pointers on the night. Emily Churchill added 14 points, Tess Arakelian scored 12 points and grace Cormier chipped in with 10 points for the winners.
The Ayer-Shirley girls’ squad was back in action on Friday, looking to notch its second win of the season, when it traveled to Winchendon to take on Murdock.