GLOUCESTER -- They didn’t make it easy.
Losers of 10 of their first 16 games, the Gloucester girls basketball team entered the final four games of its regular season with its back against the wall.
Another loss, and the Fishermen would have been officially eliminated from state tournament contention.
Starting last Thursday with a win against Swampscott, though, the Fishermen got the ball rolling, and by the time they toughed out a 43-34 win over Manchester Essex last night in their season finale, the Fishermen had completed what few believed they could.
At 10-10 with the win, Gloucester will have at least one more game to play in the Division 2 North tournament.
“They did their job,” Gloucester coach Brandon Lewis said. “That’s all I can say: They did their job. We finished with all five seniors on the court which is what I wanted to do because we don’t know if we’ll see this court again. They did their job.
“It wasn’t pretty, but actually if you look back at the four-game run, none of them were really that pretty, so we’ll take it. We’ve got some things work on, we’ll be practicing this week, but I’m very, very, very proud of them for pulling off something that, quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of people thought was going to happen.”
Throughout their four-game winning streak to close the season, the Fishermen rarely made it easy on themselves. Outside of last week’s throttling of Swampscott, the Fishermen had to scrap for each of their wins -- beating Marblehead in a back-and-forth contest and Danvers in overtime.
Last night was no exception. After jumping out to a commanding 33-15 lead over the visiting Hornets through three quarters, the Fishermen appeared primed to cruise to the win and, by extension, the tournament.