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Globe North Sports | HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

At 5-foot-2, she’s the engine that makes the Middies go

Dracut High sophomore Jamy Marquez (4) drives the ball up court against Tewksbury. Dracut High sophomore Jamy Marquez (4) drives the ball up court against Tewksbury. (Mark Wilson for The Boston Globe)
By Jason Mastrodonato
Globe Correspondent / February 28, 2010

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Size is always an important asset on the basketball court, but Jamy Marquez does just fine with her 5-foot-2, 106-pound frame. And in her first season at Dracut, the Central Catholic transfer has made an immediate impact in helping to change the fortunes of the Middies’ program.

Dracut won just four games a year ago, finishing fifth out of six teams in the Merrimack Valley Small Conference. With the addition of Marquez in the backcourt, the Middies went 13-9 and qualified for the Division 2 North tournament.

“In some ways, she was the missing piece of the puzzle,’’ said third-year coach Lisa Golobski of the sophomore guard. “She’s really unassuming. You wouldn’t think anything of her if you saw her, but she turns into an animal on the court.’’

When Marquez made the move to Dracut, she wasn’t sure if she’d even make the varsity.

She was thrilled when she earned her spot, and in the Middies’ first game of the season against Methuen, she quickly impressed her coaches.

“She came off the bench and it was clear that she belonged there,’’ said Golobski. “Then we really started noticing her.’’

Starting at the point, she is the team’s primary distributor, and the main reason the Middies have increased their point production, according to her coach.

“We explain to the [other players] that when Jamy has the ball they need to be ready to receive a pass at any time,’’ Golobski said.

Marquez’s transfer from Central was partly financial; it was getting too costly to attend the private school in Lawrence. But she was also able to join many of her friends from the Northeast Thunder, her AAU squad, at Dracut.

“I talked her into it and had an influence on her,’’ said junior Ali Sarault, who has played with Marquez since they were in fifth grade. “We all played well together and were comfortable together.’’

With her family heavily involved in basketball, Marquez began playing when she was 8, with her dad, Jeffrey, as coach. She has two younger sisters who play, and they go to one another’s games.

She may be the smallest girl on her team, but Marquez doesn’t let her size affect her performance. She even prefers shooting 3 or 4 feet behind the three-point line, gaining comfort with each step back.

“I don’t think it’s a disadvantage,’’ she said of her height. “Yeah I’m really small, but I play hard.’’

And she deflects the credit in victory, even when she knocks down the go-ahead basket with 10 seconds left, which she did in a 39-37 come-from-behind win over Medford last month.

But with two more years of varsity basketball to play and a team loaded with sophomores, Golobski said she believes the possibilities are endless.

“I’m interested to see how she’s going to go play in the future,’’ the coach said. “I’m really interested to see how far she can make it.’’

Another Stewart at Masco
Brooke Stewart has followed in the footsteps of her older sister’s illustrious career at Masconomet Regional with a strong start of her own.

Her sister, Caroline, was a Globe Super Teamer in 2008 and finished her high school career with 1,329 points and 1,089 rebounds. She is now a sophomore at Boston University, averaging 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 points per game for the Terriers.

A sophomore guard for the Chieftains, Brooke has averaged 14 points per game in her second season on the varsity. Stewart capped off a 48-46 upset over Lynn English on Monday, draining a three-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining.

“She’s been a solid player for us,’’ said Masconomet coach Bob Romeo. “This was her breakout year. She does a little bit of everything. She’s a big guard so she rebounds well. She can handle pressure, she can shoot it, or she can drive it.’’

Romeo couldn’t compare the two sisters and said that they each have different strengths.

“Brooke is kind of unique,’’ he said. “She’s a 5-11 guard with long arms and is a good strong athlete.

“Caroline was a true post player. Real wide shoulders, a strong, strong girl who played low-to-the-basket basketball. Brooke is a face-to-the-basket guard.’’

The coach said Brooke has the potential to become one of the best players in the state.

Coach is off the sidelines
With assistant coach Mike Carr stepping in on the bench for the suspended Buzzy Barton, the Lynn English boys tapped off the Division 1 North tourney with an 84-66 romp over Malden last Tuesday night. Barton was suspended from coaching the Bulldogs in the state tournament, as well as the first 10 games of next season, by the MIAA for recruitment violations involving an East Boston High player.

Jason Mastrodonato can be reached at jmastrodonato@globe.com.