Newburyport’s fast start enough to defeat Haverhill 47-35

Lindsay Joulbert faces tight defense by Jackie Doucette.

Makenna Ward (14) moves quickly after a Haverhill turnover

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport had the defensive heat on high from the get-go and gained permanent separation early against Haverhill.

The Monday night non-league game was an unsavory 47-35 loss for the Hillies.

“That was not Haverhill basketball you saw out there,” explained a disappointed HHS coach Melissa Tarpy afterwards.  “We didn’t play basic basketball.”

It certainly didn’t help the Hillies (3-6) that Merrimack Valley League All-Star McKayla Dingle was not in uniform.

“We were missing a player but that is no excuse,” added Coach Tarpy.  “Teams step up in those situations and we didn’t.”

The Clippers (6-2) turned full-court man-to-man defense into ten Haverhill turnovers and a nineteen-point first quarter. Haverhill never recovered from the 19-7 deficit.

Sami Cavanaugh covers Kya Burdier (9 points)

“We got turnovers and layups,” said Sami Cavanaugh afterwards.

Sometimes turnovers merely change possession.  The Clippers had the kind that led to points.

“If our defense is strong, everything else is dictated by that,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We’ll never win a game with that many turnovers,” added Coach Tarpy.

The home team started the second quarter with two more hoops (Abby Gillingham layup from Sadie Vandenberg, Deirdre McElhinney steal and layin).  The Clippers’ advantage became, 23-7, and had me wondering why I thought this might be a competitive game!

The rest of the way, however, was competitive.  Haverhill outscored Newburyport 28-24 in the remaining twenty-three minutes of action, but the closest the Hillies would get to the lead was, 35-28, in the first minute of the final quarter.

Newburyport immediately answered by getting baskets when, first Makenna Ward, and then Ann Affolter, got the ball in to 6-3 Abby Gillingham on the block.  Abby was able to turn and get consecutive layups against out-sized opponents.

Makenna Ward sends a bounce pass to Abby Gillingham

Abby gets good positioning to receive a pass in close

Abby (14 points) gets a layup

“We have tall forwards,” said Sami.  “It was important to get the ball in to them because Haverhill couldn’t match up with them.”

Kya Burdier set to block Sami Cavanaugh’s shot

Sami added two free throws to run the Clippers consecutive-point total to six and boosted their margin to thirteen (41-28).  The NHS defense kept Haverhill from getting inside of double figures over the final five minutes.

The Clippers had one turnover in the breakaway first quarter but fifteen more (by my count) after that.  “We turned the ball over a lot,” said Coach Grutchfield, “and that helped them get back into the game.”

Against North Reading, last Wednesday, the Clippers struggled to get the ball inside without losing possession.  Much better job tonight.

Neither team did themselves any favors at the free throw line; Newburyport (8/18) & Haverhill (9/26).

Senior Leandra Kwo led HHS with thirteen points.  Sophomore Kya Burdier added nine points.

Deirdre McElhinney (9 points) looks to pass

Abby Gillingham (14 points) led all scorers.  A jumper from the corner was part of her collection of points.  Freshman Deirdre McElhinney added nine points including a triple.

Coach Grutchfield: “We have good depth.  We did a good job of getting the ball inside to Abby.  It was good to see Makenna (Ward) looking for her shot tonight.”

Coach Tarpy: “It was probably one of the worst games we’ve played defensively.  We’ve got more than half the season left.  We will also face Newburyport again.”

Haverhill is a D1 team from the Merrimack Valley Conference.  The Hillies had their best season in sixteen years last year when they were 16-6 and won a tournament game.  Haverhill was 17-62 in the four seasons before last year.

Kya Burdier was All-MVC last season.  Leandra Kwo was an Lawrence Eagle-Tribune All-Star in the same season.

Newburyport box

Haverhill box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Abby Gillingham sets a screen for Sami Cavanaugh

Anna Affolter

Christina Firek

Deirdre McElhinney drives right

Opening tip

Sami Cavanaugh

Sami Cavanaugh gets by Haley Phillips

Carli Quinlan

fight for possession

Jackie Doucette

Kya Burdier in for two

On the floor



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Pentucket struggles in 57-50 win over non-league Notre Dame Academy (Hingham)

Angelina Yacubacci (22 points) puts up a floater

Neither team backed down

(West Newbury MA) Both teams were aggressive and neither team backed down.

The result?  A whistle fest.

Pentucket (7-1) took the lead for good midway through the third quarter and survived non-league Notre Dame Academy (Hingham), 57-50, on Saturday night.

The visitors were within two points (51-49) with 1:17 left but the Sachems (7-1) dominated the rest of the way. A beautiful interior pass by freshman Abby Dube set up teammate Mackenzie Currie for a layup, boosting the lead back to four. After a NDA free throw (Ava Orlando), senior Angelina Yacubacci (22 points) surrounded a Cougar turnover with foul-producing drives.  Angelina sank all four freebies and the defending D2 champs had a victory.

“It was a good win,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards, “but we’ve got some things to work on. Our defense needed to get better.  We’re fouling too much.”

Angelica Hurley in the lane chased by Ava Orlando

“We did not do a good job of containing the drive,” explained Notre Dame coach Nicole Orlando.

Pentucket shot thirty-five free throws and the Cougars twenty-six.

There was hardly a possession that didn’t earn a whistle for something, because the teams also combined for thirty-five turnovers to go along with all the fouls!

The teams were tied at 8-8 with a minute left in the first quarter.  At this point Pentucket put a 13-2 run together that stretched into the second quarter.  Their 21-10 lead threatened to take the suspense out of the final outcome.  Five different Sachems contributed points as their dangerous pressure defense kicked in.  Hannah Lambert had a three in the collection of Pentucket points.

Megan Reading and Haley Roberts tie up

Some teams fall apart when the Sachems put a run of points together……..NDA wasn’t one of them. The excessive fouling started to hurt the home team.  The Cougars went to the foul line seven times and made six of them.  With Pentucket cooled down, their big lead vanished and NDA tightened things to 23-22 in the closing seconds.

At this point, Angelina Yacubacci fired the beyond half-court buzzer beater that seldom goes in……..but this time it did.  Pentucket had a four-point lead (26-22) at halftime.

Notre Dame (5-2) was able to take the lead in the first two minutes of the second half.  A rebound basket by Ava Foley and a layup off a Pentucket turnover put NDA in front, 29-26.

The defending champs in trouble?  Not for long.

Megan Reading (33) puts up a shot

The Sachems headed toward the basket on almost every possession thereafter and when they didn’t score, they did get free throws.  Pentucket put seven unanswered points together and three minutes later they were in front, 34-29.  A key possession for the Sachems in this successful sequence was when an offensive rebound led to a corner three by Alyssa Thompson.

Pentucket led the rest of the way but the Cougars were never far away.  They were within one point several times but Pentucket had answers.  Rebound baskets.  Floaters in the lane and free throws kept the Cougars from actually catching up.

The Sachems depth was crucial in the end game.  Coach McNamara was able to have his starters on the court in the closing minutes.  Coach Orlando had three starters (Ava Foley, Haley Roberts, Ellie Hilsabeck) foul out.

Impressive for NDA was senior Kristin Barrett.  Kristin ended up with eighteen points including eight in the first five minutes of the final quarter that had the Cougars only trailing, 48-46.

Kristin Barrett (18 points) chased by Abby Dube (23) and Lana Mickelson (32)

“Notre Dame has always been a good team,” explained Angelica Hurley post-game, “especially #13 (Kristin Barrett). We always struggle to contain her.  She’s really fast.”

“We kept them in the game with our fouling,” said Coach McNamara. “There was no flow to the game as a result.”

Angelica Hurley: “We definitely need to work on our gap defense.  We do it well in practice, but it doesn’t show in the games.  We also can’t get frustrated with each other.”

Coach McNamara: “We have been playing Notre Dame for thirteen years.  Somehow their coach and I started talking and we ended up playing them. They now have a new coach, but I hope we can continue to play them in the future.”

Coach McNamara had daughters play for him a while ago.  Coach Orlando had her seventh-grade daughter playing for her tonight.

Ava Foley covered by Angelica Hurley

“You have to focus on the game and not on your kid playing,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “Coach Orlando’s daughter is pretty good for a 7th grader.”

“It’s exciting to have your daughter play for you,” said Coach Orlando.  “We don’t put a lot of emphasis on it.  I don’t coach her differently.  She is very poised for her age.”

A first for me tonight: Both coaches thanked me for covering the game.

Junior Arielle Cleveland injured an ankle on Friday night during Pentucket’s win over Triton.  Could be out a couple of weeks.

Notre Dame box

Pentucket box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Abby Dube

Abby Dube (23) and Angelica Hurley (24) try to trap Kristin Barrett

Alyssa Thompson at the line

Alyssa Thompson leads a break

Notre Dame coach Nicole Orlando

Angelica Hurley shoots over Ellie Hilsabeck

Angelina Yacubacci and Haley Roberts get tied up

Anna Wyner defends

Julia Foley (4) defends

Lana Mickelson at the line





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Newburyport holds off North Reading 38-36 in defensive struggle

Newburyport celebrates their fifth win

Deirdre McElhinney scores in the last minute

Julia Howse left with an injury in the second half

(Newburyport MA) Freshman Deirdre McElhinney turned a last-minute North Reading miscue into an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Newburyport the cushion needed to hold off the Hornets, 38-36, on Wednesday night.

Both D2 teams had scoring strengths, but tenacious defense minimized those strengths.

The Clippers (5-1) wanted to take advantage of their height inside, while North Reading (3-3) wanted their long-range shooting to spark them.

“It was a battle,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “We told the team before the game that this would be a one-or-two possession game, and it was.”

After a missed free throw (Sami Cavanaugh), the Hornets had twelve seconds to either tie the game or win it.  They got two shots off but under heavy pressure and couldn’t connect.

Ali Grasso led all scorers with twelve points

“I’m thrilled with how tough our kids were down the stretch against a good team,” explained NHS coach Karen Grutchfield.

The half-court man-to-man defenses kept either team from gaining significant separation.

North Reading had a six-point lead (10-4) after a Lauren Sullivan (9 points) breakaway in the opening period.

Abby Gillingham looks for her shot

Newburyport had a six-point lead of its own in the third quarter (24-18) after an Abby Gillingham layin.

The rest of the time it was close between the two Cape Ann League opponents.  There were six ties and five lead changes.

The visitors had a 3-point edge (32-29) five minutes into the final quarter after an Ali Grasso (12 points) long one.

The Clippers answered with their best collection of consecutive offense (six straight) over the next minute.  In the crucial run, senior Sami Cavanaugh started it by setting up junior Leah Metsker for a layup and then added a jump shot.  The other two points came on a perfectly executed inbounds play: Abby Gillingham set a screen for teammate Sadie Vandenberg along the foul line.  Sadie used the screen and rolled wide open into the lane for an uncontested layup.

Perfectly executed in-bounds play gave NHS a layup

That run of points put NHS ahead by three.

Makenna Ward has a shot blocked by Lauren Sullivan

The Hornets cut that lead to one (Lauren Sullivan rebound basket) and had the ball back in the last minute with a chance to do even better.  But the Clippers forced a turnover on the NR perimeter and Sami sent Deirdre off for the outcome-sealing layup + one.

“I felt that Anna Affolter (9 points) and Deirdre (7 points) really stepped up,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “Sami led us.  She’s the heart of the team.”

North Reading had five three’s.  Four of them came in the second half.

“We hit some big shots in that stretch when we got back into the game in the second half,” said Coach Romeo.

“North Reading is a good team with great shooters,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “We did a good job defending Ali Grasso.  She’s a very good player.”

Several of the Clippers had turns guarding Ali including Anna Affolter and Deirdre McElhinney.

Ali had twenty-three points the last time the Hornets visited Newburyport.

Leah Metsker looks for a pass

NR’s top inside presence (Julia Howse) injured herself diving for a ball going out-of-bounds early in the third quarter and didn’t return.

“We were a little short-handed when Julia (8 points) went out,” admitted Coach Romeo.

The Clippers (8-12 last year) are off to a nice start with their 5-1 record.  They have yet to face Pentucket, Masconomet, and Amesbury.  North Reading (3-3) has losses to Pentucket and Amesbury.

“We’ll be okay,” said Coach Romeo.  “We’re getting better.”

Pentucket coach John McNamara was in the house.

Coach Romeo on wearing green after all those years wearing Masco red: “I was due for some new clothes.”

North Reading box

Newburyport box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Makenna Ward tries to pass inside

Lauren Sullivan gets a timeout for North Reading

Sami Cavanaugh spots Deirdre McElhinney ahead and in the open

Sami Cavanaugh lofts a pass toward Leah Metsker

Sami Cavanaugh layup attempt with Ali Grasso over her shoulder

Senior Sami Cavanaugh

Freshman Makenna Ward

Freshman Emma Foley

Freshman Anna Affolter drives with Kiley McCarthy defending

Elle Doucette

Deirdre McElhinney adds the plus one in the closing minute

Ali Grasso pass in transition to teammate Lauren Sullivan



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Manchester-Essex bests Bishop Fenwick 76-74 in 2 OTs

Manchester-Essex celebrates win over Bishop Fenwick

Jason Romans defends AJ Pallazola

(Peabody MA) The two coaches called the game, “great” and “awesome,” and who could argue?

Manchester-Essex defeated Bishop Fenwick 76-74 in double overtime on Sunday afternoon.

There were fifteen lead changes and six ties and there could have been one more lead change if Jason Romans (27 points) had connected on the game’s final 3-point attempt.

The Crusaders (4-2) had four-point leads in both overtimes but the Hornets (6-0) just wouldn’t go away.

Kellen Furse (29 points) down the lane

Senior Kellen Furse (29 points) had ten of his points in the fourth quarter as ME rallied back from a seven-point deficit.

“We press and we fast break,” said Kellen post-game.  “I was exhausted after the first quarter, never mind after two overtimes.  Our ability to sub in our one-minute guys to give us a break is huge.  Our depth is awesome.”

Fenwick led, 74-70, in the second OT after a Hornet turnover led to a Kobe Estes layup with 1:34 left.  Those, however, would be the last points the home team would get.

A rebound basket plus one by ME junior Jack Shaw (15 points) and an AJ Pallazola layup after a BF five-second inbounding violation put the Hornets on top for good, 75-74.  Kellen Furse would add a free throw in the closing seconds.

Jason Romans (27 points)

“We competed hard,” said Fenwick coach Kevin Moran afterwards.  “That’s a credit to the players.  Our execution probably wasn’t as good as it should have been.  That one is on the coaching staff.”

A turning point in the game may well have been when Fenwick’s tallest player, junior Christian Loescher (12 points), fouled out in the first overtime.

“My eyes lit up when that happened,” said ME coach Tim St. Laurent post-game.  “Christian is a very good player.  With him out, I knew that we could go right at them.”

“When we lost Christian’s presence, it made a difference,” recalled Coach Moran.  “He does tend to get himself in foul trouble once in a while.  He’s one of the better athletic big guys around.”

Jack Shaw at the line late in the game

The two teams were tied 59-59 with three minutes left in regulation.  Neither team could score in those last three minutes.  The Hornets missed four straight free throws in the final ninety seconds; two each by Kellen Furse and Jack Shaw.

“We haven’t shot much from the free throw line in a tight game like this,” explained Kellen Furse.  “Tomorrow at practice we’ll most definitely be running……..and shooting free throws!”

Sophomore AJ Pallazola covered high-scoring Jason Romans during most of the game.  “He’s a very good player,” said AJ.  “He can shoot and he’s tough coming off screens.”

Jack Shaw finished with fifteen points including seven in the first quarter.  He had two 3’s.

Teammate Mason Paccone registered eighteen points.  He had four 3’s and produced eight points in the second quarter.

The Crusaders turned a 26-25 deficit in the second quarter into a nine-point lead with a run of ten unanswered points.  Both Jason Romans and Christian Loescher contributed two layups and Jason added two free throws for BF.

Manchester-Essex was down 40-32 in the third quarter before consecutive three’s (Mason Paccone, Alex Furse, Jack Shaw) put the Hornets ahead 41-40.

Max Grenert (13 points)

Fenwick had thirteen points from junior Max Grenert (three 3’s) and twelve points for junior Alex Gonzalez (two 3’s).

Bishop Fenwick used a zone defense while ME pressed full-court for the first half and went to a half-court man-to-man during the second half and in the two OT’s.

Coach Tom Comeau of Amesbury was in the house.  The Indians, like Manchester-Essex, are in the Cape Ann League and will face each other twice.

ME and BF played twice last season.  Both games were close.

Coach Moran: “Manchester-Essex is one of the top teams in D4.  We knew that they would be competitive.  They have seniors with lots of experience.”

Coach St. Laurent: “This was two of the best teams in Division 4 going at it.  This was high school basketball at its best.  Fenwick has great guard play and they have bigs that crash the boards.”

Kellen Furse: “This was such a big team win.  They are an incredible D4 team.  This gives us momentum going into our league stretch.”

AJ Pallazola: “It was very intense out there.  They were banging us, and we were bumping them.  We have to improve our foul shooting.”

Bishop Fenwick box

Manchester-Essex box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

AJ Pallazola

Christian Loescher

Christian Loescher (33) blocks a shot

Frank Wood (23) and Alex Gonzalez (24) reach for a pass

Jack Shaw (15 points) to the basket

Jack Shaw surrounded by Crusaders

Mason Paccone (18 points) guarded by Alex Gonzalez

Max Grenert and Jason Romans double-team AJ Pallazola

Kellen Furse draws a foul on Christian Loescher

Kellen Furse in for two

Kobe Estes (10) puts up a three in the 2nd OT

Manchester-Essex traps










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Western Connecticut takes title 80-52 over Alfred

Gabby Hurlbert (11) gets to the basket for two of her twenty-one points.

Captains Genesis Torres, Gabby Hurlbert, and Jessica Davis with the title award

(Danbury CT) Western Connecticut won the Hat City Tournament, 80-52, over Alfred on Monday night.

Third time in four years for the Colonials.

West Conn senior Gabby Hurlbert (21 points) was named tourney MVP.

Gabby also won the award as a freshman.

WC coach Kim Rybczyk used her entire bench to press full-court from the get-go.  The resulting defensive heat created twenty-seven turnovers that led to twenty-six points.

The Saxon (4-7) had trouble scoring early and went down, 24-11, in the first quarter.  It looked like the start of a long evening, but the visitors from western New York made a game of it in the second period.

Sydney Gouveia (10 rebounds) and Ana Ion (All-Tourney)

“Our key word for this weekend was “persistence,” explained AU coach Mike Moskowitz.  “You’re going to get knocked down.  You’re going to turn it over four straight times but that doesn’t decide the fifth time.”

The Saxons got within six points (33-27) and only trailed by eight at halftime.

“I kind of expected that our pressure would tire them out,” said WC coach Kim Rybczyk afterwards, “but it didn’t.”

West Conn’s offense picked up considerably in the second half.

“Sometimes we struggle fundamentally,” said Coach Rybczyk.  “We don’t make layups.  We don’t make the right pass.  We struggled in those areas in the first half but really pulled it together in the second half and made our breakaway.”

Senior Gabby Hurlbert keyed WestConn’s third period success getting twelve of her twenty-one points during that quarter.

Gabby Hurlbert on a drive

Gabby was quick to the basket and set up teammates for scores.

“I was trying to find openings to the basket for myself and my teammates,” explained Gabby post-game.

The Colonials found openings to the rim most of the game.

“We chose to defend the perimeter,” said Coach Moskowitz, “and they only made four from out there.  But we gave them openings to the basket.”

WC had a remarkable fifty-four points in the paint.  During the first half some of the West Conn paint shots weren’t falling.  The second half they were and a 14-4 start to the second half gave the home team the separation needed to win the title game.

West Conn applies pressure

Last year the Colonials pressed full-court and shot quickly.  “I liked the style,” said Coach Rybczyk, “but we didn’t have the numbers to play it.  We had them at the start and put up some impressive stats but then we had injuries.  That style is not something you modify.  You can’t be in and out of it.  This year we’ve kept the full-court press but on offense we push the ball up the court quickly and we settle if we don’t have a shot.”

Jamie Wilcox (1000-point scorer) shoots a free throw

“Their press was very good,” said Coach Moskowitz.  “They have fourteen players used to that style and who are probably in better shape than we are at this point in the season.  We rarely see teams that press the way they do.”

Sophomore Kate Fanning made the All-Tourney team.  Kate had seventeen points in the opening round blowout of SUNY Delhi.

AU’s Ana Ion was selected for an All-Tourney award.  Ana (freshman) tallied twenty points versus Elms in the Saxons’ win on Friday night.

“Ana is a serious offensive threat,” said Coach Moskowitz.  “She can attack off the dribble.”

Gabby Hurlbert – Tourney MVP

Gabby Hurlbert had nineteen points in the championship game in 2016 against Trinity to capture the MVP trophy that year.

Coach Moskowitz: “We spent a day in New York City.  We have kids from California, Texas, and Florida who hadn’t been.  Some of our western New York players hadn’t been, or hadn’t been recently, to NYC.  It was nice to be able to give them that opportunity.”

Gabby Hurlbert (about the team): “I was drawn to Western Connecticut by the family atmosphere.  From freshman year to my senior year I have loved every player I’ve played with.”

Gabby Hurlbert (about her future): “I will probably take a year or two of schooling beyond West Conn.  I want to be an ultra-sound or a radiology technician.”

Last time I was at the Feldman Arena was for my youngest granddaughter’s graduation in June from Newtown High School.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Ana Ion – All-Tourney

Coach Kim Rybczyk

Gabby Hurlbert (11) gets her hand in the passing lane.

Sunsana Almeida (3)

Sydney Gouveia (34) guards Gillian Flint (20)

Gabby Hurlbert dribbles in front of the WestConn bench

Hannah Maghini (22) puts up a runner

Jessica Davis (4) and Gillian Flint (20)

Kate Fanning (30) and Lyndsey McCoy (11)


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Zac Gula (20 points) leads Northampton by Quakertown 82-55 in Salisbury tourney opener

Zac Gula (22) in for two of his twenty points

Zac Gula – gave Northampton points at the end of three different quarters

(Allentown PA) Zac Gula (20 points) made the end of the first three quarters a personal showcase and led Northampton to an 82-55 win over Quakertown on Friday night at Salisbury High School.

The victory puts the Konkrete Kids (5-2) into the Salisbury Holiday Tournament finals tomorrow.

Northampton will be looking to win the tournament for the third straight year.

Quakertown (0-7) came out with plenty of energy and made shots.  The Panthers were in a tie game (19-19) three minutes into the second quarter.

“We hadn’t played a game for a week,” said Northampton coach Coy Stampone.  “I wasn’t sure how we’d start out.”

The Kids came out missing and had to change their approach on offense.

“We started to go inside to score points,” explained Coach Stampone.  “When they doubled, we kicked it outside and got shots in rhythm.  I was pleased with the way we adjusted.”

Junior Jon Altomare (6-6) was the key force inside for Northampton and had nine first-half points.

Jack Gordon (11) and Spencer Cole (1)

Senior Zac Gula was a marvel at the end of each of the first three periods.  Zac ended up with twenty points but sixteen of them came within the last minute of each of those quarters.

First quarter? Converted a rebound and hit a runner in the lane.

Second quarter? Scored on a drive.  Scored on a drive + one.  Hit a fall-away three.

Third quarter? Scored on two drives.

These were all within in the last minute of each of those quarters!

Zac didn’t reference his last-minute heroics when I talked with him after the game.  “We started out slow and picked it up,” said Zac.  “We scored a lot of points.  I’m excited about the way this season is going.”

Matt Catalano (12 points)

Matt Catalino (12 points), Kayden Roley (12 points), and Jake Hallowell (10 points) led the Panthers’ scorers.

Matt’s three from the left earned Q’Town a 19-19 tie three minutes into the 2nd quarter.

The Konkrete Kids took the lead for good, 21-19, on a Jon Altomare layup in close.

The Panthers’ deficit was only four (27-23) after a Luke Bauer layin.  But then Zac Gula went off for eight unanswered points in the last minute and Northampton had a 35-23 halftime lead.

The margin reached twenty-one (58-37) in the third quarter.  Sophomore Isaac Harris (17 points) led the Kids with nine points in that frame.

“We’ve got great senior leadership,” said Coach Stampone.  “A bad quarter isn’t going to rattle them.”

Northampton is from the East Penn Conference while Quakertown is in the Suburban One League.

The best play of the game may have been a 4th quarter save Quakertown’s Luke Bauer made.  Not only did the junior keep the ball from going out but he also flipped the ball in to teammate Kayden Roley who made a layup.  Luke ended up out-of-sight behind the Quakertown bench.  Good hustle!

Luke Bauer

Northampton coach Coy Stampone

The Kids were in the district championship game two years ago.

Coach Stampone: “Our defense tonight eventually transitioned into some pretty good offense.  When we get stops, rebound, and transition, I like our game.”

Northampton box

Quakertown box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Spencer Cole (1) and Luke Bauer (23)

Ball on the floor

Donte Rodriguez

Isaac Harris (17 points)

Isaac Harris (24) and Matt Catalano (1)

Jake Christman passes

Jake Hallowell (12) shoots

Jon Altomare (9 points)

Kayden Roley (3) shoots over Isaiah Tyler

Kayden Roley (12 points)

Matt Catalano shoots a three



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Maddy Mandalinci (32 points) leads Pingree to 69-54 tourney title over Cushing Academy

Pingree celebrates victorious ending

Pingree – tournament champions

Tori Farrell (34) and Savannah Gibbs (12) trap Fanta Kone (22)

(Hamilton MA) Pingree defended well and senior Maddy Mandalinci (32 points) shot even better as the Highlanders won the Pingree Holiday Tournament, 69-54, over Cushing Academy on Saturday afternoon.

“I think that we were able to wear them down with our pressure,” explained Pingree coach Dave Latimer afterwards.

When pressure defense will make its mark on a game varies but when it happens the points will come in a cluster.  And that’s what happened in this game.

A jump shot by Cushing sophomore Katie Dolan tied that score at 29-29 with two minutes left in the second quarter.  This had the makings of a close game with an exciting finish.

But in a short period of playing time the closeness vanished, as well as the possibility of a tight finish.

Maddy Mandalinci (10) presses

The Penguins didn’t score a point during the next 3 ½ minutes, stretching into the second half.

Pingree during that time?  Sixteen unanswered points.  A tight game became 45-29 and Cushing never recovered.

“I called a timeout in the last minute of the first half to try to settle us down,” said Cushing coach Emily Roller.  “We were only down four.  Credit Pingree, they kept their run going.”

Maddy Mandalinci (32 points) was the tourney MVP

Maddy Mandalinci (tourney MVP) made shots all afternoon.  “When our defense is working and Maddy’s making shots, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Maddy made nine of Pingree’s sixteen points in the game-deciding run.  She had three layups as well as a three assisted by Savanah Gibbs.

Cushing, meanwhile, had four turnovers during the segment in which the game got away from them.

“That press sped us up,” said Coach Roller, “and he (Coach Latimer) has the depth to keep running it.”

The Penguins (4-2) controlled the early part of the first period.  A jump shot by Katie Nolan (11 points) and consecutive three’s by Lily Stone (9 points) gave the visitors from Ashburnham (MA) a, 13-7, lead four minutes into the game.

Freshman Tori Farrell (14 points), however, helped Pingree rally back before halftime.  “Tori has a motor that doesn’t stop,” said Coach Latimer.  “She is a great defensive presence.”  Tori made the All-Tourney team.

Erin Rutherford (14 points) covered by Abbey Skinner

In the second half, Cushing put an 11-2 segment together and trailed only 49-42 with two minutes left in the third quarter.  Steals by junior Fanta Kone led to layups by Natahsa Shade and Erin Rutherford (14 points).

Seven points would be as close as Cushing would get.  An injury took sophomore Katie Nolan off the court and the tiring Penguins had no answers for Maddy Mandalinci’s late-game, hot shooting.

How hot was Maddy?  She scored fourteen of Pingree’s final sixteen points.  Cushing went zone in the second half and that gave the Union College commit open looks.

“I work hard on shooting,” said Maddy post-game.  Maddy had three 3’s in the final period.

Erin Montigny looks to pass

“We all worked together on defense,” said Maddy.  “Everyone has to contribute to make the press work.”

“She (Maddy) is very composed and steady offensively,” added Coach Roller.

Cushing had a player (Katie Nolan) injured during the game and were missing senior captain Kate Montigny.  “Kate is a six-footer and could have helped us do a better job on the offensive glass.”

Coach Latimer: “It’s great to see the girls have some success winning a championship early in the season.  It gives us confidence.  Nine of our players are sophomores or freshmen.”

The Highlanders (4-2) have moved up from Class B to Class A this year.  Plenty of tough competition ahead for them.

Coach Emily Roller in the Cushing huddle

Coach Roller: “It’s early in the season.  There was lots of good stuff to build on for both teams.”

Maddy on choosing Union College: “I had an instant connection with all the coaches and players.  I am not sure what my major will be.  It might be psychology.”

I hadn’t been to Pingree since the new facility was built.  All I can say about it is, “Wow!”  Clean, nice lights, and plenty of space including an extra gym.  Nicely done.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Fanta Kone

Fanta Kone – All-Tourney

Fanta Kone and Samantha Jones

Fanta Kone (22) defends an inbounds lob attempt

Kendall Traveis

Maddy Mandalinci (10) shoots with her left hand

Pingree captains Maddy Mandalinci and Abbey Skinner

Abbey Skinner puts up two

Aicha Ndour

Aicha Ndour tries to drive past Abbey Skinner

Alexa Garcia breaks in for Pingree

Cushing defenders close in on Abbey Skinner

Coach Dave Latimer

Erin Rutherford floats in for two

Alexa Garcia (left) and Erin Rutherford (right)

Tori Farrell – All-Tourney

Tori Farrell defended by Natasha Shade




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