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The tradition continues: Big Three leading Brooks girls to basketball glory

Sam Dewey, Taina Mair, and Kendall Eddy have enjoyed every moment of a perfect start for the defending NEPSAC champion Brooks girls' basketball team.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Any game-day and social media chatter surrounding the Brooks girls’ basketball team always starts with one moniker: The “Big Three.”

It stands for the buzzsaw trio of seniors Taina Mair and Sam Dewey, and junior Kendall Eddy, who have evoked oohs and aahs from every crowd as they carve up NEPSAC competition.

“We definitely love the [nickname],” Eddy said. “It started off as just like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s kind of cool.’ And now we’ll be like, ‘Oh, got to get a photo of the Big Three; the Big Three are out there on the court.’ It stuck.”

Mair, Dewey, and Eddy have propelled Brooks, which won the 2019-20 Class B title, to a 12-0 start. Ten of its 12 wins this season were by at least 10 points, including Saturday, when the trio outscored then-unbeaten Tabor Academy by themselves in a 79-57 rout.


Each is on a Division I trajectory, with Mair committed to Boston College; Dewey headed to Illinois; and Eddy holding offers from Merrimack, Monmouth, and Lafayette. But the three are more than an on-court juggernaut.

Kendall Eddy eyes a free-throw attempt during a recent game against Tabor.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

They’ve become inseparable friends who leaned on each other during the lost 2020-21 season. The only three returners from two years ago, they’re leading Brooks back to the top.

“They demand excellence from one another, which is so fun, because it doesn’t cross the line that they can’t coach each other and call each other out,” coach Ushearnda Stroud said. “Because they know each one of them is rooting for the other one to be successful.”

Mair is the squad’s floor general — a 5-foot-8-inch combo guard who has already logged four triple-doubles this season. Eddy, her backcourt mate at 5-7, leads the team in scoring. Then there’s the 6-2 Dewey, a physical interior presence on both ends with 16-point and 18-rebound per-game averages.


The three met through AAU competition with Lady Rivals, but they started their high school careers in different places. A Dorchester resident, Mair won a Class D title as a freshman in 2018-19 at Holderness. Dewey earned Middlesex League MVP at Melrose as a sophomore before reclassifying. Eddy also reclassified after her freshman year at Haverhill. All three transferred to Brooks in the same season.

Taina Mair has her eyes set on a future at Boston College.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

“I was kind of skeptical about going to Brooks and the whole boarding school aspect,” Dewey said. “But T [Taina] told me she was going there and I was like, ‘OK, we’re really good friends . . . Let’s do it.’ And then Kendall decided to go too, and that was even better.”

After winning a championship in spring 2020, Brooks had to grapple with a complete season shut down by the NEPSAC due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a precaution, the school also required all students to choose to either learn entirely remotely or be a full-time boarding student. All three chose to board, and for an entire winter, the program’s development was confined to closed-door workouts.

“Just having to be a leader and teach the younger girls how it’s done and how we play, I think that’s it — that’s the most important thing I’ve learned,” Mair said.

Practices were held six days per week despite having no games on tap. All three say they significantly improved. Dewey in particular credits those hours for honing her jump shot; she can now stretch the floor, and canned multiple 3-pointers against Tabor.


Samantha Dewey, center, goes strong to the basket in a recent contest against Tabor.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

“[Shooting] was something that I needed to get a lot better at, and with being in the bubble, that was just the perfect time to work on it,” she said.

The Big Three has also refined its off-court chemistry. In search of on-campus entertainment, they stumbled upon squash and frequently snowshoed. Games of UNO can turn just as heated as any on-court competition.

“We do everything together,” Mair said. “We sleep over at each other’s houses. We go in and work out together. We do a lot of activities other than basketball together.”

A repeat Class B title is obviously the end goal. Mair could earn her third championship in three NEPSAC seasons, at a school that went 6-15 the year before the trio arrived.

“It just kind of shows how much work we’ve put in on and off the court — bonding together and translating it right onto the court,” Eddy said.

Courtside chatter

▪ Woburn (11-0), ranked 8th in this week’s Globe poll, is on the hunt for its seventh Middlesex-Liberty title in the last nine seasons. The Tanners, who won the Division 1 North championship in 2016 before falling to Bishop Feehan in the state semifinals, have emerged as D1 contenders this season.

Led by senior captain Jenna Taylor (12 points, 10 rebounds per game), senior captain Carley Dangora (6 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists), and junior Cyndea Labissiere (13 points, 6 steals, 5 rebounds), the Tanners have relied on a blend of steady veteran leadership and an influx of young talent.


Woburn generates much of its offense from its defense, and that transition attack has been instrumental in its success. Regardless of how the offense is flowing, coach Steve Sullivan knows he can count on his team to grind defensively and compete every night. The Tanners can win games in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.

“Things aren’t always going to be easy,” Sullivan said. “It’s the mentally tough teams that find a way to win close games.”

▪ Central Catholic coach Casey Grange is consistently impressed by the unselfishness, coachability, and positivity of her group.

As the No. 6 Raiders have flown out to a 9-2 start, they’ve averaged 16.5 assists per game. Grange credited senior captain Claire Finney for setting the tone. Finney was passing up decent shots to find her teammates for great ones Tuesday against Lawrence, two days after hitting six 3-pointers herself against Haverhill.

“When your senior captain is doing things like that, it becomes contagious,” Grange said.

She also praised senior captain Leah Deleon for fueling the Raiders defensively, senior point guard Lenny Veloz for serving as a vocal leader, and Deleon and junior Kathleen Smith for boxing out to pave the way for sophomore Ashley Dinges to grab rebounds. Grange pointed out that Dinges recently dived on the floor for a loose ball with her team up 25 points.

“It was totally unnecessary in the realm of the game, but for the leading scorer to be getting on the floor to save a possession, I think that’s just how this team is,” Grange said. “That’s what’s leading us now.”


▪ Bridgewater-Raynham’s Amber Silva, sidelined this season with a knee injury, has earned a spot on the Saint Joseph’s College of Maine basketball team.

Games to watch

Friday, Attleboro at Mansfield, 6:30 p.m. — No. 20 Attleboro has won seven straight and Mansfield four of five, and they’ll meet in a Hockomock Kelley-Rex battle.

Monday, Bridgewater-Raynham at Bishop Feehan, 6:30 p.m. — The No. 13 Trojans will try to get some redemption against the No. 10 Shamrocks after Bishop Feehan cruised, 59-36, in December.

Tuesday, Whitman-Hanson at North Quincy, 6:30 p.m. — Orlagh Gormley and the No. 12 Raiders face their toughest test yet against a balanced, defensive-minded No. 7 Panther squad.

Tuesday, Andover at North Andover, 6:30 p.m. — North Andover will get another crack at No. 2 Andover in a rivalry game.

Tuesday, Newburyport at Amesbury, 6:30 p.m. — Both sides have shined in their respective Cape Ann divisions, and they’ll go head to head in a Kinney vs. Baker clash.

Globe correspondent Trevor Hass contributed to this report.