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Fairhaven’s Kara Charette a fabulous freshman for Franklin Pierce basketball

Kara Charette is reaching high for Franklin Pierce.
Kara Charette is reaching high for Franklin Pierce.

Charette a steady force for Ravens

It’s been a tumultuous first year behind the bench for Franklin Pierce women’s basketball coach Jennifer Leedham.  The Ravens lost their starting center to a knee injury before the season even started.

Then trusted assistant coach Steve Hancock had to leave the team for emergency back surgery.

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A host of other ailments resulted in a slow start for the Ravens, who developed into a Division 2 power over the past decade with Leedham running the point (2005-2009) and her sister, Johannah , earning national player of the year honors. The Ravens were a national semifinalist in 2010.

The one constant this season has been freshman center Kara Charette.  The 6-footer from Fairhaven High leads the Ravens (9-4, 6-3 NE-10) in scoring (15.8 points per game) and has earned Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week honors three times.

Charette arrived at Franklin Pierce with a reputation for scoring. She crossed the 1,000-point career mark as a junior at Fairhaven and is the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,688 points). On the volleyball court, she owns school records for kills and blocks. She also played tennis.

Initially, Charette struggled with the decision to play basketball or volleyball at the collegiate level. Her decision to play basketball has certainly made a big impact with Leedham’s program.

“We knew Kara would be good, but she has brought a lot more to the team than I ever expected from a first-year player,” said Leedham.

“To have a freshman be your most consistent scorer, I think any coach in the league would take that. She finishes well and is holding her own banging in the post against upperclassmen players.”

That was evident last week when Charette went to the free throw line 21 times in an 83-68 win over Southern Connecticut. Charette converted 16 free throws, finishing with 22 points and 8 rebounds.

She followed up with a game-high 19 points, on 8-of-10 shooting with four rebounds, in a 67-41 NE-10 win over Le Moyne on Saturday, the team’s fourth straight win.

“I can remember one game in high school when I went to the line 20 or 21 times,” said Charette, a criminal justice major. “I felt like I was at the line all night against Southern Connecticut. I was getting open looks and they were coming out of nowhere attacking. At that point in the game it was working.”

Fourth in the NE-10 scoring race (15.8 points per game), Charette has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. She is shooting a conference-best 60.4 percent from the field. Charette has converted 73 percent of her free throws, and her 72 free throws is second in the conference. She also averages 5.6 rebounds per game and has five blocks.

“She has a great touch around the basket,” said Leedham. “We don’t have that superstar player that we go to all the time, but we do look to get Kara a lot of touches down there in the post. She can pass the ball very well too.

“Kara is a very special player. I don’t have to worry about her away from the court. She’s great in the classroom and got a 3.93 GPA her first semester. She’s a great teammate, is always on time, and never complains. That kind of talent is hard to find.”

Here and there

Stoughton’s Christina Deiorio has settled into her role as first player off the bench for the women’s basketball team at Curry. The sophomore guard from Cardinal Spellman has appeared in all 13 games for Curry (7-6, 3-3 Commonwealth Coast Conference) and averages 22 minutes a game. Averaging 4.8 points per game and 2.3 rebounds, Deiorio scored a season-high 9 points in a 63-50 win over Nichols. . . .

Nikki Heavern of Hull has started 13 games for the Babson College women’s basketball team. The 5-10 sophomore forward averages 15 minutes a game for the Beavers (12-1, 7-0 NEWMAC), and is scoring 3.8 points per game and averaging three rebounds. Her 20 assists are tied for second on the team. Heavern led Hull to the Division 4 state championship in 2010 and was a 1,000-point scorer for the Pirates. . . . Freshman Megan Otto of Scituate pulled down four rebounds in Babson’s 53-35 win over MIT. She has appeared in all 13 games, averaging 4.2 rebounds and 3 points. The 5-foot-11 forward was also a 1,000-point scorer at Scituate High and led Scituate (24-1) to the Division 2 state semifinals last March. . . .

Sophomore forward Mike Driscoll of Milton scored a first period goal Saturday to help the Babson men’s hockey team take an early 3-0 lead in an eventual 4-1 win over Norwich, ranked No. 1 in Division 3. The win was Babson’s second victory against the Cadets in the last 15 years. Driscoll has four goals and five assists on the season. Norwell’s Nik Tasiopoulos , a transfer from Wesleyan, has two goals and four assists. Freshman goaltender Jamie Murray of Scituate turned back 22 shots in Babson’s 4-3 victory over St. Michael’s. Murray has seen the majority of the time in net for Babson (9-3-2 overall, 4-2-1 ECAC East), starting 10 of the team’s last 11 games, compiling a 2.0 goals-against average with one shutout.

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