Concord-Carlisle routs Amesbury 16-6 in nonleague softball

Ashlee Porcaro out at the plate as catcher Virginia Ryan applies the tag

Maeve Devlin had one of Concord-Carlisle’s two homers

(Amesbury MA) The undefeated Concord-Carlisle Patriots crushed Amesbury, 16-6, on Saturday morning in a non-league game.

The Patriots (3-0) batted around in two different innings and rapped out twelve hits including two homers in an impressive display.

Amesbury pitchers (Hayley Catania & Emily O’Donnell) were hit hard and surrendered twelve walks.  Seven of those walkers scored.

Senior Nicole Small went the distance for the team from the Dual County League.  Nicole gave up seven hits, two each to Hayley Catania and Karleigh Walker.

Fenceless Perry Field is not the easiest place to hit a home run but there were three in this game.  All three shots (Maeve Devlin, Virginia Ryan, Emma Catania) were to the right side and probably would have left a fenced field.  All three homers were so well hit that there wasn’t a play at the plate in any of them.

The Patriots had their two-run homers within the first three innings and jumped ahead 8-0.

Pitcher Nicole Small fields Emma DiPietro’s bunt

The Indians came back with two runs in the fourth inning.  Emma Catania drove in the first on a fielder’s choice while the other one came in on an infield error (3B Alyssa Attonito).

The visitors took the outcome doubt out of this one in the 6th inning.  A bad combination (for Amesbury) of four CC hits and four Amesbury walks resulted in a seven-run frame and substitutions that I won’t even attempt to describe.

The Indians put four runs up in their half of the 6th.  A two-out infield blooper by Hayley Catania brought in one run (Julia Campbell).  Sophomore Emma Catania went deep right to deliver the other three runs.

Against a good team like Division 1 Concord-Carlisle, the chances for a Division 3 teams like Amesbury to win would necessitate a lot of things going right.  Not on this morning.  Besides the hits and walks, the Indians twice ran into outs at home plate.  Credit CC on one of them: A Julia Campbell bunt, with Ashlee Porcaro on 3B, turned into a double play; pitcher to first to home.

Emma Catania’s home run celebrated

I have seen a few softball games, but I saw something happen in this game that was new to me.  During the 7th inning, CC coach Lisa McGloin visited with batter Nicole Seeley.  The conversation ended with Nicole being given a different bat.  Sure enough, Nicole would use the different bat to drive in the Patriots 16th run.  That’s what I call coaching!

Amesbury has now lost four straight to CC.

Amesbury was 17-7 last season while Concord-Carlisle was 18-3.  Two very successful programs.  Amesbury has won the Cape Ann League Baker division four straight years.

The sun was out but the breeze was too.  At least there weren’t snow flurries like yesterday.  One of the pictures I look today looked like there were ice-glazed trees in the background.

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

3B Alyssa Attonito

RF Audrey McKennitt

Shortstop Colleen Boyle makes a nice running, leaping catch

collision course

Catcher Virginia Ryan sets to throw to first

Virginia Ryan homered for CC

Catcher Virginia Ryan

2B Abby Aponas sets to finish a double play after a nice catch

Emma Catania out by plenty at the plate

Catcher Hannaih Burdick chases a foul ball

infield hit

RF Karleigh Walker catches a fly

Winning pitcher Nicole Small

Maeve Devlin, Madelyn DiPietro, assistant coach Adam Thibodeau

CF Catherine Kingman nailed a runner at the plate

Catcher Virginia Ryan ends the Amesbury 4th

Pitcher Haley Catania


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Sophomore Clay Marengi shines in first varsity start for Lynnfield

Lynnfield starter Clay Marengi allowed only three hits in six innings

Will Garfoli drove in three runs for the Pioneers

(Newburyport MA) Lynnfield sophomore Clay Marengi turned his first varsity start into an 8-1 win over Newburyport on Saturday.

“He (Clay) threw strikes and used a minimal number of pitches,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien afterwards.  “Catcher Nick Giammarco called a great game for him behind the plate.”

The Pioneers (2-1) put the ball in play with regularity collecting twelve hits.  All nine starters reached base.

Joey Mack led LHS with three hits.  Will Garfoli drove across three teammates.

“Lynnfield hit the ball,” said NHS coach Mark Rowe.  “A lot of their ground balls found holes.  I thought that our pitching (Chris Halliday, Parker McLaren) was good enough but when you only score one run in two games it’s never going to be enough.”

The Clippers (0-2) ran into another first-time starter (senior Andrew Manni of Masco) on Friday and came away with no hits and twelve strikeouts.

Today it was Clay Marengi.  Clay held Newburyport to three hits in six innings of work.  Dan Jameson finished off the 7th.

Newburyport threatened in the first with two on and one out, but Clay induced groundouts by Walker Bartkiewicz and Parker McLaren to escape.

The Pioneers started both the fourth inning and the fifth inning with three straight hits and came away with three runs in each inning.  Five of their hits in the 3-run innings were on the ground and on this morning/afternoon they turned into runs.

Joey Mack (three hits) finds his way home

Joey Mack scored Lynnfield’s third run in the fourth inning and believe me it wasn’t easy.  Joey fell down about fifteen feet from home plate and had to stumble/crawl the rest of the way.

NHS shortstop Ryan Archie limited the Lynnfield damage in the 4th inning with a terrific running catch that he turned into an inning-ending double play.

“Ryan has made very good defensive plays in both our games,” said Coach Rowe.

The Clippers got their run in the 6th.  Casey McLaren reached on a fielder’s choice and took third on a single by Walker Bartkiewicz.  Walker’s steal attempt drew a bad throw and Casey scored from third.

Stolen base

Will Garfoli drove across Lynnfield’s final two runs with a bases-loaded single in the seventh inning.

“Our defense was good today,” said Coach O’Brien.  “We had seven errors in our first game.”

The Pioneers were 18-2 in 2017 and graduated ten seniors.  “Seven of those kids are playing college ball,” added Coach O’Brien.

It looks to me as if the Pioneers have reloaded quickly.  Discovering an effective starter like Clay Marengi should certainly help Lynnfield going forward.

Coach Rowe was disappointed with the loss but not discouraged.  “The offense will come.  We have some guys just getting acclimated to varsity pitching.”

I was at Hadlock Field in Portland last night (Tim Tebow, Drew Pomeranz) and it was in the upper 50s.  Today in Newburyport?  40’s, cloudy, and breezy!

Cooper Marengi, Nick Giammarco, and Casey McLaren were listed by the Boston Herald before the season as players to watch in Division 3.

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

NHS starter Chris Halliday

Casey McLaren

3B Tyler Koglin chases a popup

RF Nick White ends the Lynnfield third with a nice catch

Fernando Gonzalez sets to score Lynnfield’s first run

2B John Singer tosses to first

Casey McLaren scores the Clippers run

Walker Bartkiewicz (8), Tyler Koglin (4) and Ryan Archie (2) chase a foul ball

Shortstop Jonathan Luders chats with 7th inning pitcher Dan Jameson

Shortstop Ryan Archie turned an inning-ending double play in the 4th inning

Cooper Marengi scores on a wild pitch

Nick Giammarco had two hits and scored two runs





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Tim Tebow and Drew Pomeranz take part in Portland’s home opener

Tim Tebow

Drew Pomeranz

(Portland,ME) Lots going on as the Portland Sea Dogs opened their 25th home season with a 4-2 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Friday night.

The home opener is always special all by itself but when you throw in celebrity Tim Tebow and rehabbing Drew Pomeranz you’ve got plenty more.

Tim has been a crowd magnet everywhere he plays.  He’s also a media magnet!  Tonight’s game was scheduled to start at 6PM but I arrived early for a chance to watch Binghamton’s batting practice.

My earliness turned into my being part of 10+ media outlets interviewing Tim before batting practice.

Tim Tebow’s press conference

I had heard Tim talk on TV before, so nothing surprised me about the way he handled ten minutes of media questions.  He doesn’t take himself too seriously and appears to enjoy the interaction.

I couldn’t get close enough to activate my digital recorder, but it didn’t matter because I was chasing pictures.  Interviewed players provide the best picture-taking opportunity.

After the Tebow media session ended, there were Portland players available to talk to.  I had not planned to talk with players but moved in on an interview with Cole Sturgeon (Sea Dogs outfielder) and later did a solo interview with Danny Mars (another Sea Dogs outfielder).

Cole referenced the weather: “I am happy to be back home (Hadlock Field), although the weather takes some getting used to since I’m from Florida.”

Cole also talked about Tim Tebow.  Cole was born and raised in Atlanta (“I was a Falcons fan.”) but moved to Florida when he was fifteen.  “I know so much about him.  He’s a legend and getting to play against him is an honor.  It is amazing what he’s doing after taking ten years off from baseball.”

Danny Mars

Danny Mars hit over .300 last season in Portland.  I asked him about what it would take to get to the next level: “My hitting was pretty consistent last year.  I need to work on the little things like defense and baserunning.”  One thing he wasn’t working on was power hitting: “I’m not much of a power hitter.  I did have six homers last year, but I usually try to stay within myself at the plate and not try to do too much.”

I left those two conversations wondering if I might be able to arrange more of them (pre-game) in the future.

I have taken pictures at Hadlock for a few years now, so I have learned where the home pitchers usually warm up.  I positioned myself in the food pavilion along the right field line to await Drew Pomeranz. He showed up and I had several clean shots of him.

Then I moved into the area near the Portland dugout for pictures of him coming there before the start of the game.  I ended up with my best picture of Drew during his walk to the dugout.

Meanwhile, Tim had come back out from the Binghamton locker room and bee-lined it across the field to their dugout.  Tim had interacted with a few fans after batting practice.  There were plenty of autograph seekers near the Binghamton dugout. Many of his fans have UFlorida (Gators) connections.

Tim Tebow swings and misses against Drew Pomeranz

The players from both teams were introduced.  Biggest cheer?  Tim Tebow.  No question that many in the house had come to see him.  You don’t have to have exhaustive brain power to figure out why the New York Mets organization promoted Tim to the next level after a mediocre season: He draws crowds.  Binghamton, which had the lowest attendance in the Eastern League last year, will probably do a lot better this year.  Any EL city the Rumble Ponies visit will have increased crowds.

One thing I wish I had done would have been to interview a Binghamton player and find out what it was like having Tim on the team.

The question of who should throw out the first pitch for the Portland home opener had been discussed within the Sea Dogs organization.  Club President Charlie Eshbach had even prepared a list, but his long-time connection to the team made it certain that on the 25th anniversary, he should be the ceremonial tosser, and he was.

Cole Sturgeon leads off with a home run in the first inning.

Cole Sturgeon greeted the RB’s starter Andrew Church with a home run in the first inning.

Drew gave up four hits in 5 1/3 innings and got the win.

On one of Binghamton’s hits, Peter Alonso connected for a 2-run homer.  Drew claimed afterwards that he didn’t want to walk anyone, so he threw something straight where he might have used a curve and it got hit.

First baseman Peter Alonzo is the #4 Mets prospect.  He was selected in the second round in 2016.

I also got a look at the #17 Mets prospect, Jhoan Urena.

I enjoyed, as always, my visit to Hadlock.  I got there early enough that I was able to park without being charged!

I was able to view the game from a nice spot, with a chair, just beyond the Sea Dogs dugout.

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging the visit.

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

Jhoan Urena

Jordan Betts

Tim Tebow press conference

Josh Tobias

Peter Alonzo – 4th Mets prospect

Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach

Sea Dogs bring equipment

Drew Pomeranz heads to the dugout before the game

Pre-game warmups

Drew warming up in the outfield

Tim in the dugout

Tim meets the press

Tim during batting practice

Tim shares a laugh with a Florida fan

Tim watching from the Binghamton dugout



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Cody Graham (22 points) guides Portsmouth to D1 Title 46-38 over Dover

The final result settles in on Portsmouth and Dover

Cody Graham had answers when the Green Wave got close

(Durham NH) Neither team was supposed to be there.

Portsmouth had heavy graduation losses while Dover hadn’t been to a D1 final since 2005.

But Portsmouth had an 18-2 season and #11 seed Dover upset three higher seeds to gain the Big Game.

The standing-room only crowd at Lundholm Gymnasium, saw Portsmouth excel in the late game and defeat Dover, 46-38, on the UNH campus on Saturday afternoon.  This was the Clippers third straight title.

Senior Cody Graham (22 points) led all scorers and on three different occasions in the second half put up points when Dover had gotten with two points of the lead.

Cody’s most crucial contribution came after the Green Wave (11-11) was within two (40-38) on a Tyler Vitko (18 points) jump shot with 2:52 left.

Dover had the ball twice with that late-game, 2-point deficit but couldn’t find the Big Shot.

When the Clippers started riding that small lead with dribbling and passing the Green Wave was forced to foul and Cody Graham ended up at the line.

Cody Graham (22 points) about to shoot last-minute free throws

Cody (all-time Portsmouth scoring leader) calmly drained two freebies (38 seconds left) and then came back and did it again fifteen seconds later after Tyler Vitko missed a 3-pointer.

Ty Vitko (18 points) surrounded by Clippers

Now up by six (44-38) the Clippers, added two more free throws (Alex Tavares) to take the Division One championship.

“We got it done on defense,” said PHS coach Jim Mulvey afterwards. “They had it down to two.”

Junior Alex Tavares recalled the timeout with the lead at two: “We said, look, if we get a stop here we seal it.”

This was Portsmouth’s fifth straight time in the final game.  Being used to it, probably was a factor in the last few minutes.

Coach Mulvey was quick to praise Cody Graham: “Cody stepped up and made those free throws.  He also covered (Tyler) Vitko who has been killing people.  Cody was unbelievable on both ends of the court.”

John Cantwell surrounded

Dover looked to be on the verge of getting blown out in the first half.  The combination of Portsmouth building an eleven-point lead (23-12) and Dover’s John Cantwell having two fouls, and being on the bench, had me wondering if the #11 seed could recover.

Well, they did!  There were rumors that “everyone” from Dover was there and it sounded like it.  That crowd lifted the GW.

A Devin Cady layup (assist to John Cantwell) had Dover within two (33-31) with 2:20 to go in the third period.  But the next points were scored by Portsmouth’s Cody Graham (layup).

The Green Wave were again within two (35-33) but again Cody Graham answered.  This time it was a 3-pointer assisted by Max Lincoln.

Devin Cady (3), Cody Graham (23), Alex Tavares (22)

Later, as I described earlier, Dover was again within two (40-38) but still yet again it was Cody Graham rescuing Portsmouth.  This time with free throws.

They did not name an MVP but the “answer man” (Cody Graham) certainly would have gotten my vote.

The flawless free throw shooting by Portsmouth didn’t surprise Alex Tavares: “We shoot 50+ every day at the end of practice.”

On December 19th the Clippers had a 63-44 win over Dover at Portsmouth.  I asked Alex Tavares what was different about Dover this time around: “They all jelled.  Their offense flowed.  They were making tough shots.”

Box from the game

The Clippers won their 21st state title this afternoon.

Alex Tavares guards John Cantwell (13 rebounds)

Portsmouth entered this season on a 43-game win streak.  That ended opening night.  The Clippers, after today, now have a fourteen-game win streak running.

Dover was able to put two three-game win streaks together this season.

John Cantwell had thirteen rebounds for Dover.  His time on the bench with fouls was costly in the second quarter.

Starters Alex Tavares and Calvin Hewett will return next season for Portsmouth.  It will be interesting to see how PHS replaces the scoring of Cody Graham.

(All the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Mike Sanborn

Coach Jim Mulvey

Dover coaching staff

Steal by Griffin Carloni (14)

Mike Sanborn shoots from long range

Alex Tavares shoots a three with the Dover crowd in the background

Ty Vitko in front of the Portsmouth student section


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Ashley Sampson explodes in OT leading Foxboro over Pentucket 58-54

The final result settles in on Pentucket and Foxboro

Foxboro coach Lisa Downs switched to a zone in the second half.

(Woburn MA) I preach to anyone who will listen that no one player loses/wins a team game.

I start with that point because individuals on the losing team can think that they lost the game because they missed free throws or turned the ball over.

They may have done those things but in a game thirty-six minutes long, every player on the floor is a contributor to the final outcome.  No one player loses a game!

But can one player win a game?  Wouldn’t have said so before tonight’s Foxboro win over Pentucket but afterwards?  Ashley Sampson was about as good as you can get in overtime, leading Foxboro into the D2 state finals on a win over Pentucket on Wednesday night at Woburn High School.

Ashley (commit to D2 Adelphi on Long Island) finished with twenty-two points but had FOURTEEN of them in the 4-minute overtime.

Ashley Sampson (22 points) had a remarkable overtime for Foxboro

And just to get to overtime, Ashley had the only points in the last minute of regulation.  She had an old-fashioned three to get the Warriors within two (43-41) and then with two seconds left drove the left baseline to tie it.

You never saw two different halves.

Pentucket, led by Casey Hunt (19 points), made shots and played an excellent brand of half-court man-to-man defense.

Foxboro (24-1) didn’t score a point in the final 4 ½ minutes of the second quarter while Pentucket put up nine points.  In that segment, Jelly Hurley (15 points) had a layup and a three. Maddi Doyle had two free throws, and Emily Riley (assist to Liv Cross) added a layup.

All that good defense/offense put the Sachems ahead, 29-14, at the half.

“Our man-to-man defense wasn’t good in that first half,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs afterwards.  “They were penetrating way too much and we weren’t getting a lot of help defense.”

Senior Lily Sykes was more blunt about the Warriors first half: “We were playing like 4th grade basketball in the first half.”

Casey Hunt (19 points) had ten of them in the first quarter

The Sachems would add five more points to their lead to start the second half and to bring their advantage to twenty (34-14) on a Casey Hunt rebound hoop and a Jess Galvin trey.

Down by twenty, one minute into the second half, you had to like the Sachems chances of being on a bus to Springfield on Saturday. The Warriors had other ideas.

Foxboro had been averaging 66 points a game so that first-half, fourteen points was likely to change significantly.

What turned this game around for Foxboro, however, was their defense.  Overmatched by the Pentucket offense, the Warriors resorted to a zone defense in the second half.  Usually when a team is down, they are forced to play man-to-man to change the tempo.  Going the other way, from a man-to-man to a zone, however, struck gold for the team from the Hockomock League.

As their offense picked up, especially long range, the zone defense did what it was supposed to do.

Lily Sykes had five 3’s for Foxboro

The Warriors drained five 3’s in the second half; two by Katelyn Mollica (3rd quarter) and three by Lily Sykes (4th quarter).

The Warriors zone did its part forcing the Sachems to rely on long shots (which weren’t falling) and getting control of the boards.

It was a terrific offense/defense combo for Foxboro and slowly but surely the Pentucket lead began to vanish.

The wildcard was Ashley Sampson and her 19 points per game average.  Sophomore Jelly Hurley came off the bench in the first quarter to shadow Ashley and it worked up until the last minute of regulation.  Ashley had only three points and was on the verge of ending a 1500-point career on a bad note.

“I just didn’t want this to be the last game,” Ashley told me afterwards.

Ashley Sampson was 6-for-6 from the line in OT

Ashley would get the final five points Foxboro needed in the last minute to gain overtime.

Katelyn Mollica (8 points) drives on Angelina Yacubacci

Pentucket had only nine points in the second half after taking that twenty-point lead.  They couldn’t hit from long range and they couldn’t get to the basket.  Almost every possession was one-and-done.

But they still were in good shape after Jelly Hurley nailed a three (from Casey Hunt) with 1 ½ minutes left in regulation.  They were up by five (43-38).

The rest of regulation was a virtual nightmare for the team from West Newbury; two turnovers, misses on the front end of two one-and-one’s, and the inability to secure a rebound on Foxboro’s next-to-the-last possession.  Delete any of those disasters and I suspect that the team from the Cape Ann League would now be a lot happier.

Ashley Sampson tied the score in regulation and then had two three’s in the first two minutes of OT.  A Maddi Doyle layup cut the FHS lead to two, 49-47, but Ashley answered back with a layup.

The rest of the way Foxboro shot free throws.  Grace Tamulionis made one while Ashley was six-for-six.

“Coach always says that free throws win games,” said Ashley post-game.  “Tonight, we hit ours at the end like we practice every day.”

Ashley Sampson tries to get past Jelly Hurley (15 points)

Maddie Doyle and Casey Hunt hit three’s in the last few seconds but Foxboro still won, 58-54.

The Warriors will face Hopkinton on Saturday in Springfield.  Those two faced each other twice this season and each team won once.  Should be a good battle.

Saturday’s title game will be Foxboro’s first one in fifteen years.

Coach Downs: “Ashley played at the end like the MVP she is.  When the pressure is on we want the ball in her hands.”

Lily Sykes: “We knew if we were to get back in the game it would have to be defensively.”

“Once we started making shots in the second half our confidence built up,” said Ashley.

Casey Hunt (19 points) had a terrific game.  The sophomore had ten points in the first half getting freely to the basket several times.

Jelly Hurley dropped three 3’s on her way to a 15-point night.  Her defense on Ashley Sampson was very good until Ashley got it going late in the game.

Casey Hunt passes to Liv Cross

The quality of Foxboro was evident when Pentucket couldn’t turn them over with their pressure.  Foxboro ended up with twelve turnovers while Pentucket had fourteen, including two in the final ninety seconds.

The Sachems (23-3) graduate three from the team but should be very strong next year.

I managed to get lost getting to Woburn High School.  Seems that Montvale Street will get you to a quiet neighborhood.  However, Montvale Avenue will get you to the high school.  Fortunately, for me, a mailman was able to straighten me out on that significant difference and I adjusted my GPS.

Foxboro box

Pentucket box

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

Casey Hunt guarded by Ashley Sampson

Casey Hunt and Lily Sykes

Abby Hassman looks to pass

Grace Tamulionis lines up a three

Maddie Doyle to the hoop in overtime

Late-game free throws

Late-game free throws










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Coyle Cassidy reaches D4 state finals with 55-47 win over Fenway

Kaylee Haynes (13) passes ahead to an open teammate and an easy two points

Kassidy Fields (41) looks for an inbounds pass

(Boston MA) The storm arrived a day early for Coach John Rice and his Fenway Panthers.

That “storm” was the Coyle & Cassidy Warriors.

The Warriors (22-3) never trailed as they won the Division 4 state semi-final game, 55-47, on Monday afternoon at the TD Garden.

“We just played the best team we’ve played all year,” said Coach Rice afterwards.  “They did everything well.”

This was the first time Fenway (21-3) has lost at the Garden in the five times Coach Rice has brought his teams there.

The Warriors started fast (9-0) forcing the Panthers to burn two timeouts in the first four minutes.  Senior Me’ara Carter (10 points) finally got Fenway on the board with a nice spin down the lane.

The team from Taunton built their advantage to as many as seventeen points (40-23) in the third quarter and still were up by fourteen (44-30) two minutes into the final quarter.

Kaylee Haynes trapped by Dasiah Thornton and Colby Upchurch

But a good team like Fenway was not going to go away.

“I told the team at halftime that Fenway would make a run,” recalled Coach O’Brien, “and that was what happened.”

The Panthers put a run of eight straight together and suddenly with 3:20 left in the game the deficit was just six (44-38). Dasiah Thornton had a three during the rally.

Plenty of time for Fenway but on this afternoon C&C refused to let it happen.

A key play for the Warriors was a Kassidy Fields block that led to a breakaway layup.  “Kassidy blocked it and it came to me,” said Sam Hourihan afterwards.  “I outleted the ball and we ended up with a layup.”

The play Sam described was part of the ten points the Warriors put together after Fenway was within six.

Rachel Johnson (12 points) turns the corner on Nattaly David

Kaylee Haynes and Rachel Johnson were also major contributors in the game-sealing segment that gained C&C separation (54-38).

Kaylee had two layups and a free throw while Rachel assisted on the first two baskets in the two minutes of offensive excellence.

The Panthers would add nine points in the last minute, but time was on C&C’s side and they won, 55-47.

“We cut the lead to six but then left one of their players alone and they went down and got an and-one,” said Coach Rice.  “That turned the momentum their way.”

“We perservered,” said Coach O’Brien.  “We made some big shots down the stretch.”

Coyle & Cassidy will play for the state title on Saturday at Springfield against Monson.  It will be the Warriors first time in the state finals since 1987.

Plenty of good guard play by the Warriors.  The Panthers some serious pressure on those guards in the second half. The result was four C&C turnovers as the team from Roxbury cut the lead to six.

“We were too close to the sidelines,” said guard Kaylee Haynes after the game. “That is why they were able to trap us. When we got the ball into the middle we were able to spread them out and get layups.”

Dasiah Thornton (10 points) uses a Me’ara Carter screen

The Warriors ran early in the game with missed Fenway attempts to get that nine-zip lead.  Rachel Johnson, Sam Hourihan, Kaylee Haynes, and Kassidy Fields supplied the points.

Fenway had size (Me’ara Carter is 6-3) and drivers.  The Warriors handled those things with help defense. They also committed plenty of fouls but benefitted from an off afternoon at the line by the Panthers.

Fenway’s poor foul shooting (19-for-35) had a direct connection to the final outcome.  When the Panthers were within six, in the last quarter, they had already missed thirteen freebies.

C&C had success during the game breaking out with Fenway misses and getting layups before the Panthers shot blockers could get back on defense to be a factor.

Juniors Rachel Johnson and Kaylee Haynes led the Warriors with twelve points each.  Rachel had nine in the first half.

Junior Colby Upchurch (12 points) paced Fenway.  Junior Dasiah Thornton and senior Me’ara Carter both collected ten points for Fenway.

Jenna Piatelli at the line

Senior Jenna Piatelli came off the C&C bench to tally six points in short minutes.

“My father coached thirty years and never got a sniff at a state championship,” said Coach O’Brien.  “I’m happy to be in this situation.”

The Warriors were able to contain sophomore Janyah Gulley.  In the tournament, Janyah had twelve rebounds against Lowell Catholic and nineteen points versus Mystic Valley.

John Rice has won sixteen Boston City League titles; five at Fenway and thirteen at Burke.

It is always exciting for the players to play a big game at the Garden.  So much history.  Pretty exciting for a blogger to cover a game there too.

Coyle & Cassidy box

Fenway box

(All pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Post-game pose

Kaylee Haynes (13) gets past Colby Upchurch (11)

Kassidy Fields (9 points) about to cash a breakaway layup

Abbie Kurtzer puts up an open three

Nattaly David (20) looks to shoot

Colby Upchurch (12 points) tries to turn the corner on Kaylee Haynes

Kaylee Haynes (13) drew a charge from Janyah Gulley (25) on this play

Dasiah Thornton (3) heads down the lane with Stacie Leonard (23)

Guard Kaylee Haynes (13) looks one way and passes another

Abbie Kurtzer looks for someone to pass to

Rachel Johnson (12 points)

Me’ara Carter looks for open space

Me’ara Carter at the line

Sam Hourihan defends Colby Upchurch




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Pentucket takes D2 North title with 48-33 win over Wakefield

Hannah Dziadyk harassed by three Pentucket defenders

Casey Hunt on defense against Hailey Lovell

(Lowell MA) Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was that amount of time enough for Wakefield to prepare for Pentucket’s pressure.

The result? A 48-33 win by the Sachems (23-2) over the Warriors (18-6) on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Arena in the Divison 2 North final.

“No team in the Middlesex League plays that type of aggressive, double-teaming defense,” said WHS coach Jason Pavey afterwards. “It was tough to prepare for them in a day.”  The Warriors reached the D2 North final with a win over Wilmington on Thursday.

With today’s victory, Pentucket will return for a sixth time for a tournament game (Tuesday 5:45PM) at the TD Garden.  The good news for Pentucket is that they won’t be facing D3 Archbishop Williams.  The Sachems are 2-3 at the Garden and all three losses have been to the Archies.

The Warriors (18-6) had size and seniors.  After being down by seven in the first quarter, Wakefield started the second on a run of five points on a rebound basket by Allee Purcell and a free throw as well as a layup by Hannah Butler.  That narrowed the Pentucket advantage to 13-11 after two minutes in the second quarter.

Allee Purcell (11 points) ahead of everyone after a Pentucket turnover

That would be as good as it would get for Wakefield. The rest of the quarter the Pentucket defense stymied Wakefield while the Sachems scoring picked up.  Last six minutes of the half?  The Warriors had only a free throw (Hannah Dziadyk) while Pentucket collected thirteen points.

In that breakaway segment, Maddi Doyle had a free throw, but all the other points were on 3-pointers.  Casey Hunt started with an old-fashioned three.  Then it was Maddi Doyle, left all alone, draining a long one from straight away.  The last two?  Angelina Yacubacci set up by Casey Hunt and Liv Cross.

Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) made three 3’s

“The NBA lines on the court made it a little confusing at the start,” said Angelina after the game.

The Warriors trailed 26-12 at the half.

“We were better in the second half,” said Coach Pavey, “but we’d dug ourselves too deep a hole against a very good team.”

Pentucket’s lead was down to eight (33-25) after a buzzer-beating layup by Hannah Butler at the end of the 3rd period.

“They cut the lead to eight but then Angelina (Yacubacci) hit a three which was huge,” explained Pentucket coach John McNamara.

Pentucket applies pressure

The Warriors began the final quarter with four turnovers and the Sachems regained separation, 39-25, for good.  The final was 48-33.

It is easy to notice the Pentucket defense but what I am starting to notice is their ability to run an effective half-court offense when they have to.  Up by double-figures in the final quarter, there was plenty of organized movement that opened up lanes to the basket for layups or resulted in foul shots.

Angelina Yacubacci led all scorers with fifteen points.  Allee Purcell paced Wakefield with eleven points.

One of the keys to the Pentucket win was their ability to contain senior Hannah Dziadyk.  In this year’s post-season, Hannah had five 3’s against Burlington, seventeen points versus North Reading, and twenty-two points against Wilmington.  Maddi Doyle was the primary defender on Hannah although it seemed to me that there were multiple defenders most of the time.

Wakefield used a zone defense for part of the game.  “It was the first time we’ve seen a zone in a while,” said Coach McNamara.  The Sachems had several turnovers in the early going, trying to force passes into the interior of the Warrior zone.

Jelly Hurley hemmed in by Allee Purcell

“Wakefield hasn’t been this far in the tournament for a while, “said Coach Pavey.  “We had a lot of nervous energy and they wouldn’t let us settle in.”

“We want the other team to play at our pace and we try to force turnovers,” explained Casey Hunt afterwards regarding her team’s style of play.

“Our defense will take us as far as we’re going to go,” said Coach McNamara.  “Hopefully it will take us a couple more games.”

I like the Tsongas Arena.  The lighting is terrific.

Pentucket box

Wakefield box

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

Jess Galvin (8 points) puts up a three as Coach John McNamara watches

Maddi Doyle guards Hannah Dziadyk

Pentucket celebrates

Pentucket team

Jelly Hurley (24) gets away from Olivia Dziadyk

Casey Hunt (20) covered by Hailey Lovell (22)

Liv Cross (8 points) in for two

Angelina Yacubacci (22) on a breakaway after a steal

Casey Hunt drives on Allee Purcell







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