There is no question who the best player in the Division 3 state tournament was this year — Pentucket's Sarah Higgins.
She may have had the best all-around tournament of any player in the state, even Andover's Nicole Boudreau, according to her coach, John McNamara.
Higgins was dominant at both ends, playing her best basketball when it mattered most. She averaged 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 2.0 assists for the tournament. She scored a career-high 24 points against Newburyport in the opening round, averaged 21 per game over the final two games, and her numbers could have been higher had Pentucket not blown out its competition by an average of 21.8 points per game for the entire tournament.
"We just won the state championship; I don't see how you couldn't put her right there with what she's done for us and carried us," McNamara said, as to whether he thought she was the best player in Division 3 this season. "She's been one of the top players around, and I'd put a couple of our other kids there just because they do so many other things. People look at the scoring, and (Sarah) does a lot of things — steals, assists, rebounds. Other girls like Tess (Nogueira) and Alex (Moore) do all the grunt work, so we have other people step up, and it's been a great group.
"She was the most dominant player consistently in that tournament," McNamara said. "Sarah had a spurt in every game, and she just finished her career playing her best basketball."
Seeing red: Masco game turning point
Ask anyone on the Pentucket team this year, and they will tell you the Masconomet win on the road Jan. 29 was a season-changer.
"I definitely remember the Masco game," Higgins said. "That was one of my favorite games because it was intense; the atmosphere was just positive. We were all running the floor working hard and especially because we seemed like the underdogs. We lost that tournament (the Masconomet Christmas Tournament), and after (the Masco win), we just went on a roll."