Everett’s girls basketball season came to a crashing halt Wednesday night, Feb. 26, as the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide fell to the cat-quick and sharpshooting Reading Memorial High School Rockets, 78-52, at Everett High School.
The upset closed Everett’s season with a 16-5 record.
Everett came into the game having lost two in a row for the first time this season, dropping season-ending contests to North Reading and Saugus. But the Crimson Tide’s strong season vaulted them to the upper quartile of the 16-school Division 1 North sectional.
Wednesday’s opening quarter of the game was telling, however, as Reading continuously clogged Everett’s passing lanes and stifled the Crimson offense. Meanwhile, it became apparent that Reading’s offensive firepower would be tough to contain.
Everett trailed 14-10 after one quarter, and Reading stretched the lead to 18-10 in the first minute of the second quarter. Everett responded on a full court effort and layup by junior Maya Kirnon, followed by a steal and breakaway layup by senior Carolann Cardinale, and those two baskets quickly cut the margin to four points. But that was as close as the game would be the rest of the night. In the final minute of the first half, Everett got sloppy with the ball and Reading guard Jackie Malley started to heat up on her way to 23 points on the night as the visiting Rockets opened up a 33-22 halftime lead.
Reading blew the game open in the third quarter. While Everett came out pressing on defense, Reading answered with a pair of Malley 3-pointers that made the score 39-22 after less than a minute of the second half. Everett struggled offensively and had no answer for Reading’s defense and offensive accuracy. By the end of the third-quarter Reading seemed well on its way to a win with a 57-30 lead.
But the Crimson Tide wasn’t finished. Everett got hot and Reading got cold as sophomore Andrea Manley and Cardinale led an Everett barrage with three 3-pointers as Everett slashed the lead to 57-39 in less than a minute of fourth-quarter play. Everett pulled a little closer, cutting Reading’s lead to 17, before the Rockets righted themselves, leading 65-45 with four minutes left and guarding the lead the rest of the way on the way.
Manley finished the night with 15 points and Cardinale with 10. Freshman Kaylee Rossi chipped in 9 points, junior Maya Kirnon had 8, sophomore Arielle Charles 6, senior Maddy Duraes 3, and sophomore Sara Thompson had a pair. With a strong group of underclass players, Everett looks to be back in the mix next year, but Wednesday the floor belonged to Reading.