EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 4, 2013

Norgaisse back after long ACL recovery

Girls Basketball
Christopher Smith

---- — Brooks power forward Alex Norgaisse of Haverhill bumped into a defender when she went up for a layup during a basketball game with her club team spring of her freshman year.

“I fell down not so right and it (knee) just kind of came out from underneath me,” Norgaisse said.

The prognosis wasn’t good. She had torn her ACL.

But she finally is back on the court as a junior after having her ACL repaired in July 2011, a second surgery in September 2011 to repair a build up of scar tissue in her knee and a lengthy recovery.

“The year I didn’t play I kind of just gained perspective in different ways and became interested in music,” Norgaisse said. “I still have my love for basketball, and I’m still going to always love it. But it really made me see things differently — like my life isn’t just based around basketball. There are other things.”

Norgaisse’s passion for basketball though has helped her not only return to the court but also be productive this winter. She has gotten better as the season has progressed. She is averaging 7.2 points per game. Her best game thus far came Jan. 26 when she poured in 18 points vs. Cushing Academy. She netted 10 points against rival Phillips last Wednesday.

“My recovery has been hard,” she said. “I’ve been working hard. I’m still going through the process. I feel like I’ve been doing good so far. Each day, I get up and challenge myself and every day is a new challenge and I get better every day.”

Music certainly did become a hobby for Norgaisse while she was sidelined. She began music production over the computer.

“We do this thing called Winter Term in January (at Brooks),” she said. “They’ll offer different courses and for the whole month of January we’ll focus on that course. And mine happened to be music producing.”

Monster months

at Salem

Salem junior guards Brenna Blakslee and Emily Hickey had monster Januarys. Blackslee averaged 17.3 ppg in six January games while Hickey averaged 19.0 ppg.

The two helped lead Salem to a 4-2 January record.

“They are very good friends and have grown up together,” Salem coach Anne Alosa said. “Brenna does a good job of attacking (the basket). Hickey has shot very well. She our leading 3-point shooter and leading scorer.”

Methuen tourney bound

Congrats to Methuen, which made the tournament for the first time since 2010 and since joining the MVC’s Large Division.

“The younger kids are really contributing,” Rangers coach Karen McLaughlin said.

One of those younger players is 5-5 sophomore guard Kelly Dorandi who began the year on the bench but began starting because of injuries to teammates.

Dorandi had seven assists and four steals in Methuen’s win over Lowell last Tuesday.

“Kelly has stepped up and she is really handling ball well for us,” McLaughlin said.

Sensational sophomore

Val Martin has had a nice season for Pinkerton, including netting 17 points — three points shy of her career high — on Friday in a win over Londonderry. She scored seven of her teams first 12 points during a 12-2 run to begin the contest.

“Val is an extremely talented player,” teammate Sam Breslin said. “She’s got a lot of great things to come in the coming two years she has at Pinkerton. She’s a very strong girl. She has a good insight for the game. And I think she’s only got up to go from here. I think working with coach (John) Barry, as long as she takes advantage of that, she can go really far.”

Player to watch

Greater Lawrence 5-8 sophomore forward Jasmine Severino had 14 rebounds in a win over Notre Dame this past Tuesday.

She is a transfer from Whittier.

“She just works hard,” Greater Lawrence coach Tara Mansour-Neilon said. “She’s raw. We’re trying to get her to go to basket. But she’s someone to watch for the next couple years.”

Parece and Paitchel

Pelham lost by just one point to Hollis-Brookline this past Tuesday. It marked the second time this year the Pythons suffered a one-point defeat to Hollis-Brookline.

In both losses, guards Hannah Paitchel and Jordan Parece played well. Parece netted 12 points in the first meeting and 11 on Tuesday. Paitchel scored nine points in the first meeting and 11 on Tuesday.

“Parece is a point guard and she leads the offense and guards toughest player on the other team,” Pelham coach Bob Shepard said. “Paitchel is leading our team in 3-pointers and is a very good passer.”

Paitchel also brings the ball up the court.

“She’s cool under pressure,” Shepard said.

Pinkerton impressive

Pinkerton had a relatively easy schedule during the first half of the season. As noted in last week’s column, February will be much tougher for the Astros.

They began the month off on the right foot with a 55-44 over rival Londonderry on Friday. It definitely was a signature win for Pinkerton, which hadn’t beaten the Lancers since March 2010. The Lancers also are returning four starters from their Division 1 runner-up team last year.

Player of the week

Colleen Fortier netted a career-high 21 points, including pouring in four 3-pointers in Pinkerton’s win over Londonderry on Friday. She poured in two 3s in consecutive Pinkerton possessions early in the third quarter to give the Astros a 30-21 advantage. A 3-pointer from the corner with 3:55 left in the game put Pinkerton ahead 45-34.

Game of the Week

Central Catholic will get a rematch against Billerica tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Billerica. In the first meeting, which was at Central Catholic, the Raiders were beaten 57-55.