With its victory over Lowell on Jan. 29, Methuen earned its first playoff berth since the 2009-10 season.
Amanda Petrow, who scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in that game, is a huge reason why the Rangers made the playoffs, have an 11-7 record and won three games against MVC Large teams this year.
In their first two seasons in the MVC Large, they had never won a division game.
Petrow has scored 13.7 points per game this winter. She has had some huge performances, including a career-best 30 points to go along with 18 rebounds against Dracut in early January. She also had an eye-popping 25-point, 19-rebound performance in a win against perennial power Lowell on Feb. 12.
Co-captains Petrow and Abby Galloway-Burke, a pair of 5-10 senior forwards, have been a force in the paint.
“Me and Abby always clean up the boards underneath,” Petrow said. “People around the outside are not afraid to shoot because me and Abby are always there to rebound. And we just put it back up. If I miss it, Abby will probably get my rebound because she’s on the other side. And if she misses it, I’ll get it.”
Methuen, which won just six games two years ago and eight games last year, had to post at least two victories in MVC Large games to make the playoffs.
“We’ve worked a lot harder,” Petrow said. “Everyone on the team wants it — not just one person like, ‘Oh, I really want to make it to the tournament.’ We just really wanted to win as much as possible and get better as a team as much as possible.”
One of Petrow’s few off games this year was against North Andover in the quarterfinals of the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament when she scored just two points. Rangers coach Karen McLaughlin didn’t play Petrow much of the second half because she just didn’t have it that game.
That poor performance has helped motivate Petrow the rest of this season.
“It kind of just pushed me to go that extra step because I didn’t do that well,” she said. “I fixed it the next game.”
Amanda Petrow is hoping to play Division 3 college basketball next year. She has looked at Suffolk, Smith, Eastern Connecticut, Keene and Daniel Webster. She said she has talked with the coaches at those colleges.
She knows she has some things to work on before college.
“My outside shot isn’t as good as I’d like it to be,” she said. “So I think working on that would help me and then also my free throws are a little bit bad.”
Central Catholic senior Darion Summers is headed to play basketball and study nursing at the University of Dallas.
“I love the South,” Summers said.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the South. And they gave me a call when I was a junior and ever since I’ve had a very strong interest. ... They want me to come in as their point guard and kind of step in a pretty big role. So I was lucky.”
She visited the South when she played AAU basketball from her freshman through junior years.
“I went down there for tournaments and I loved it,” Summers said.
Tough week for Astros
Pinkerton suffered its first two Division 1 losses last week. The Astros lost 57-42 at defending state champion Bishop Guertin.
They trailed BG 13-3 after one quarter.
“We had a bad start — not as organized and put ball up too quickly,” Pinkerton coach John Barry said.
“They are strong in the paint. We had trouble there.”
The Astros then suffered a 55-39 setback at Bedford on Friday.
Pinkerton (14-2 in Div. 1) plays its final game of the regular season Friday against Salem in Derry. It should be an interesting game. The Blue Devils had won seven of their past nine games entering last night.
Player of the week
Pentucket sophomore Kelsi McNamara netted 21 points, including converting 6 of 8 free throws, to lead the Sachems 59-48 over Central Catholic Monday to win the IAABO Tournament at Central.
The Sachems won the tourney for the second straight year.