NORTH ANDOVER — Salem was outscored 18-4 in the fourth quarter but held on for a major upset over previously unbeaten Pinkerton.
The Blue Devils, behind 16 points from Emily Hickey and 12 points from Amanda Bickford, prevailed 51-48 in the first round of the girls Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament.
It was a signature win for second-year head coach Annie Alosa, who took over a Salem program that went a dismal 5-17 in 2010-11.
Alosa led the Blue Devils to an 8-14 record last year and has them at 3-3 this year.
“This is definitely a huge win,” Hickey said. “(Alosa) definitely put the offense in that we needed. She got us running. We’re a small team so we just look to outrun teams and she got that going for us.”
In Salem’s past three games, Hickey has averaged 18.3 points per game.
“I try to lead the team, get them going, and I look for the ball and try to score,” Hickey said. “I think every girl is equally as important in our offense. We like to run. We like to get everyone involved. And Bickford surely did her share today.”
Bickford added: “We have a bunch of scorers on this team but we usually go to (Hickey) in tough situations.”
So how did the Blue Devils hang on in the fourth quarter?
“It was tough,” Hickey said, laughing. “It was hard but we kept our composure. Coach kept us together and we just held on. I was getting a little nervous but I knew we’d pull it out.”
Salem outscored Pinkerton 15-3 in the first quarter.
“It was definitely a good win to go into Christmas with,” Bickford said. “We were working in practice all on our defense. So that was our key in the game. Our defense worked really good. Help side it was just great.”
Brandi Bonneau led Pinkerton with 14 points.
“We got off to a real poor start,” Astros coach John Barry said. “And that happens. To be honest with you, it’s probably good for us because we’re used to being ahead. For young kids, it’s important for them to learn how to be behind also and how you respond to that.”
Salem 51, Pinkerton 48
Salem (51): Amanda Bickford 5-2-12, Brenna Blakslee 2-4-8, Emily Hickey 5-3-16, Ayla Rowell 2-0-4, Jill Tiner 1-1-3, Lizzy Twomey 0-1-1, Danielle Donovan 0-0-0, Allie Sirmaian 3-0-7, Kelsey Perrault 0-0-0, Kelly Lamarre 0-0-0. Totals 18-11-51
Pinkerton (48): Sara McLeman 2-0-4, Skyla Gorman 3-0-6, Emilie LaLiberte 1-0-2, Courtney Collins 0-0-0, Kayla Stacy 0-0-0, Sam Breslin 4-0-11, Marissa Stacy 1-0-3, Colleen Fortier 0-0-0, Brandi Bonneau 5-3-14, Val Martin 0-2-2, Ashley Hugh 0-0-0, Melissa Martel 0-0-0, Corina Moore 2-1-6. Totals 16-6-48
3-pointers: S — Hickey 2, Sirmaian; P — Breslin 3, M. Stacy, Bonneau, Moore
Salem (3-3): 15 13 19 4 — 51
Pinkerton (4-1): 3 16 11 18 — 48