Though there was some turnover with their roster this year, the younger Dracut girls on the Northeast Lady Thunder entered the season as last year's state seventh-grade champs and the 2011 sixth-grade champs. The Lady Thunder knew the target on their back was huge, but the desire and determination of this team could not be denied.
The girls stormed through the semi-finals where they destroyed the Mass Ducks 48-30. With an exciting 53-45 win over the Fieldhouse Sting, the Northeast Lady Thunder ninth-grade AAU Basketball Team was crowned 2013 New England Amateur Athletic Union (NEAAU) Massachusetts State Basketball Champions. What makes the Thunder's back to back to back championships more impressive is that most of the team is made up of seventh- and eighth-graders. The girls come from all over the Merrimack Valley region with a majority of the players from Dracut.
"Throughout the tournament, each and every player made several key contributions throughout this title run," said Thunder Head Coach Peter Witts. "I'm proud of their efforts. The hard work, commitment and dedication to practice paid off. We send our best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to another one of our players from Dracut, Lilly King."
Jeff Marquez, the Director of the Northeast Lady Thunder added, "This team plays with heart and grit and collects championships! All our teams made successful showings at this MA State championship tournament. Our 5th graders finished 2nd, the 11th grade team finished 3rd and our 6th graders came in 5th place.
In front from left are Christina Clark, Kendra Shaw, Danielle Papa, Katie Schlepphorst and Amanda Bishop. At rear from left are Head Coach Peter Witts, Thunder Director Jeff Marquez, Adrianna Martinez, Sydney Oliveria, Jenna Frasier, Meghan Carney and Coach Russ Carney. The team members from Dracut are ninth-grader Sydney Oliveria, eighth graders Amanda Bishop, Adrianna Martinez and Jenna Frasier; and seventh-grader Meghan Carney.