Coming off its first Middlesex League title in 30 years, Reading wasn't set-up this season to continue that success.
The Rockets graduated five all-star starters, and their promising center, 6-foot-tall sophomore Melissa DalPozzo, tore her ACL in their first game of the year. Reading coach Kim Penney said the pressure was on 17th ranked Melrose heading into the two teams' Middlesex League meeting last night. But even though the Red Raiders defeated No. 15 Reading earlier in the season, the Rockets pulled out the 49-40 win.
"Melrose is a great team, so for my team to beat them showed a lot of heart," Penney said.
The Rockets' scoring was led by freshman Olivia Healy (14 points, 11 rebounds) and junior Carlene Kluge (10 points, seven rebounds, five assists).
Reading trailed by a point at halftime. Although Hannah Brickley (18 points) provided balanced offense for the Red Raiders, the key to Reading's win was shutting down Colleen Hanscom. Penney said senior guard Deshanthi Perera (seven points) showed excellent defense against Hanscom, who scored all nine of her points before the break.
Defense was the difference maker between this meeting and their last — Reading (12-2, 12-2 Middlesex League) only surrendered eight turnovers and held Melrose (14-2, 12-2 league) to only five points in the fourth quarter.
The win puts Reading, Melrose, and 16th ranked Stoneham all in a first-place tie in the league.
"I'm just proud of them, that they're creating their own identity," Penney said. "That's our goal is to be the best we can every day. I'm just proud that they're getting better every day, because that's the sign of a very good team."
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.