From the moment this North Reading youth basketball phenom stepped on the court for St. Mary’s High School, it was clear that she could do the single most important thing in the game: score points.
A prolific long-range shooter, Jennie Mucciarone could also dribble, drive, and pass with the best of them, thus earning an immediate spot in the St. Mary’s starting lineup as a freshman. Mucciarone helped lead that 2011 Spartans team to a Massachusetts state title and she has since developed into one of the best players in the state under the tutelage of head coach Jeff Newhall and his staff.
Friday night Mucciarone, a 5-feet-7-inch guard, had another typically complete game, netting 14 points in St. Mary’s 65-34 win over Arlington Catholic. The 14th and final point of the night, a free throw, was history making as Mucciarone became a 1,000-point scorer for her high school career.
Newhall had the game stopped for a brief ceremony during which Mucciarone humbly accepted flowers and gold balloons adorned with the number 1,000.
“Jennie has been a great player for three-plus years and we’re hoping for another whatever how many games we can possibly play,” Newhall told reporters after the game.
St. Mary’s Principal Dr. Mark DiFabio, who was in attendance, was among those congratulating Mucciarone on her achievement.
“I think it’s a testament to our scholar athletes at St. Mary’s and to our fantastic coaches here – Jeff Newhall has done a phenomenal job with the program and as AD, and I think Jennie personifies the scholar-athletes that we have here at St. Mary’s,” said DiFabio.
“It’s fantastic that Jennie is going to Tufts. She is really a student who works hard and tries to focus on her academics and really that holistic approach to what it means to be a graduate of St. Mary’s – not just academics but also athletics. She’s a phenomenal young woman as well.”
Mucciarone entered the game with 986 points for the Spartans who are 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the Catholic Central League.
“I knew I was close [to 1,000 points], but I wasn’t sure,” said Mucciarone. “When he [Newhall] kept me in with four fouls, it was a little bit of a sign.”
Mucciarone said she was proud to join an illustrious list of 1,000 point scorers at St. Mary’s.
“You always look up to people who are 1,000-point scorers like Tori [Faieta] and it’s definitely an honor,” said Mucciarone. “It’s been an aspiration of mine but I never really knew if it would happen or not. I’m happy to have gotten it done.”
Bob Mucciarone wore the look of a proud father and said his daughter, Jennie, couldn’t have made a better choice for her high school destination.
“I am so proud of her. I’m so glad she went to St. Mary’s – that was the biggest difference,” said Mr. Mucciarone. “She’s had four great years. When she was in North Reading, you would have never anticipated this would happen to her.”
Mr. Mucciarone also credited coach Jeff Newhall for his guidance of his daughter’s career and the success of the program.
“Jeff has been the best thing that’s ever happened to her as far as being her coach and mentor,” said Mr. Mucciarone. “Everything has gone as perfectly as I could have imagined. And I hope to see a perfect ending to it all: a state title.”