In front from left are Julia Otoski, Erin McMeniman, Lindsey Emond, Jaxy Mar quez,Lilly King and Melissa Iannuzzo. At rear from left are coach Russ Carney, Erica Clark,Olivia Pantano, Julianna Fagan, Emily Cloutier, Meghan Carney and Head Coach Jeff Marquez.

As the defending champs of last year’s Waldie Tournament, the Dracut Girls 7th Grade Travel Basketball Team knew they would be targeted early going into this season.

The Lady Middies focused on their trademark defense and brought ferocious intensity throughout the tourney as they repeated as champions of the 12th Annual Ken Waldie Memorial Tip Off Classic. The Lady Middies outscored their opponents 180-73 as they defeated some of the best teams from the Merrimack Valley.

In a 34-7 drubbing of Westford, the Lady Middies were sparked by the constant defensive pressure applied by Lilly King. Dracut beat Methuen 47-15 in their second game behind the scoring of Lindsey Emond (9) and Julia Otoski (7). The Lady Middies improved their record to 3-0 as they defeated an unbeaten Billerica squad 33-20 after a great game by Melissa Iannuzzo (12 points and 9 rebounds) and Emily Cloutier’s 7 points.

Excellent outside shooting by Julianna Fagan and Olivia Pantano, along with Erica Clark’s rebounding helped Dracut pound North Reading 30-12. Meghan Carney came up huge in the 36-19 championship win over Tyngsboro with 9 points and 10 rebounds, as Erin McMeniman made 6 steals and hustles all over the court.

The 5-0 start for Dracut makes them serious contenders for the upcoming Merrimack Valley League season. The Lady Middies send out their prayers and hope for a quick recovery for their gifted teammate Jaxy Marquez. Great job, girls!