5. Melrose: The Red Raiders have beaten every challenger they’ve faced, running and gunning their way to a 20-0 regular season. Look out for senior forwards Frantzdy Pierrot and Sam Jean-Gilles in the paint, and sharp-shooting freshman Sherron Harris in the Division 2 tourney.
Girls’ teams to watch
1. Reading: After the Rockets lost senior guard Morgan O’Brien to a torn ACL just prior to the season, the hopes of a Division 2 repeat took a major hit. But senior Olivia Healy has simply taken command — no player in the state has been better the last two months than the University of Richmond recruit.
2. Masconomet: A sleeper in the Division 1 field, the 15-5 Chieftains have been on the rise the past month. They nearly took down defending Division 3 champ Pentucket (a 44-43 loss) as well as Lynn English (63-57 loss).
3. Billerica: Fueled by seniors Brittany Lomanno , Danielle Nickerson , and Kayla Leverone , the Indians are prepped for a deep run in Division 1.
4. Pentucket: The defending Division 3 state champs went 20-1 during the regular season behind the play of senior Nicole Viselli and dynamic sophomore guard Kelsi McNamara.
5. Ipswich: The biggest threat to Pentucket’s success may be Cape Ann rival Ipswich (16-3). With poised sophomore point, Masey Zegarowski controlling the pace and senior forwards Julia Davis and Brigid O’Flynn banging around in the paint, the Tigers are a threat.
Pat Bradley can be reached at email@example.com.