Tournament Begins This Week for Local Basketball Teams


The MIAA tournament kicks off in earnest this week for local basketball teams, and both the Manchester Essex girls’ and boys’ squads have a chance to make a run deep into the postseason.

Both teams finished with winning records and earned high seeds in the Div. 4 tournament.  The girls finished the regular season with an overall record of 15-5, giving them the number 18 seed.  The Hornets were slated to begin the playoffs with a home game against 47-seed Madison Park RVT.  The Roxbury-based vocational school finished with an overall record of 11-5.  There is little familiarity between the two teams.

“We don’t know much about Madison Park, just that they have and 11-5 record,” explains Manchester Essex girls basketball coach Lauren DuBois.  “We don’t play any common teams.”

Perhaps because both teams know so little about each other, it will be imperative for the Hornets to continue to do the things that helped the team to 15 wins in 2023-24.

“We want to focus on playing our style of basketball,” says DuBois.  “We want play great defense and generate offensive opportunities through our defense.  We
need to focus on the fundamentals – defense, rebounding, executing the offense.”

Experience will be key throughout the tourney: Both basketball teams are not only talented and deep, but they are also veteran teams with players who have experienced tournament basketball at the varsity level.

“We have a lot of players with playoff experience who know that the level of play is
going to go up,” says DuBois.  “We need to focus on doing the little things right and focus on what we can control.”

There is also the potential for the boys’ basketball team to play Madison Park Vocational in the first round as well: Manchester Essex is scheduled to play the winner of the Feb. 27 first-round matchup between Frontier Regional (the 28th seed in Div. 4) and 37-seed Madison Park.

The boys earned a bye thanks to a spectacular regular season, one in which the Hornets went 19-1 and earned the no. 5 seed in the tourney.  The Manchester Essex team closed out its regular season with a three-game win streak, picking up wins against Randolph, Amesbury and Ipswich after suffering their only loss of the season to Burke on Feb. 12.

Not to be outdone, the girls team finished up the regular season with a five-game winning streak, highlighted by close wins against Newburyport on Feb. 5 and Danvers (the season finale) on Feb. 16.  Since that time, both teams have been practicing and playing scrimmages against other schools to keep the momentum going.

“We have been practicing over vacation and working a lot on skill development,” says DuBois.