Masco avenges earlier loss downing Pentucket 56-43

Morgan Bovardi (17 points) on the move

Rebound battle

(Boxford MA) Masco coach Bob Romeo told his team afterwards, “if you play the way you did tonight you can play with anyone in Division 1 North.”

Hard to disagree after seeing his D1 Chieftains dominate Pentucket in the second half and take a 56-43 win on Friday night.

The Sachems (17-3) have the best record in Division 2 North.

Masco (15-5) lost to Pentucket in January (39-27) but played with much more poise this time around.

“We knew what this team (Pentucket) was capable of doing,” said Mak Graves (19 points) after the game.  “We practiced hard to be ready for them.”

In the first meeting, Masconomet took a 17-11 lead into the second half and then stumbled through a 10-point second half.

Mak Graves (19 points) gets away from Maddie Doyle

This time around Pentucket had a 21-18 lead at halftime and it was the Chieftains pleasing the home crowd with a 38-point second half.

With the scored tied, 26-26, three minutes into the second half, Mak Graves took over.  The flashy junior put a jump shot, a three (from Cally McSweeney), and two free throws together.  Pentucket had just a free throw (Angelica Hurley) during this three-minute segment.  Masco had separation, 33-27.

The game was far from over.  Early in the 4th quarter two free throws and a Jess Galvin three (from Maddie Doyle) had the Sachems down four, 39-35.

Later, a layup by Angelica Hurley (15 points), a free throw (Anna Wyner), and a three by Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) and Pentucket was within one possession, 44-41, with 3:50 remaining.

Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) chased by Marissa DeLucia and Sara Fogarty

On this evening, Pentucket couldn’t stay close down the stretch.

“We were outplayed in the second half,” explained Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “We just didn’t have the legs to shoot the ball and defend at the end.”

Pressure games, tight games, always seem to come down to free throws in crunch time.

After an Olivia Filmore jump shot on an inbounds play started the final 3:50, the Chieftains paraded to the foul line twelve times.  They made ten!  “We made our free throws when we had to,” said Coach Romeo.

The Sachems had just two made free throws (in four tries) during the final 3:50.

That 14-2 finish for Masco was enough to give Pentucket a rare loss.

“Hats off to Masco,” said Coach McNamara.  “They are aggressive on this court and a tough team to beat.”

Marissa DuLucia covers Angelica Hurley (15 points)

Morgan Bovardi had seventeen points for Masconomet.  In the first meeting, Morgan was in foul trouble early and had a 3-point night.

Having both Mak Graves and Morgan on the court most of the night enabled the Chieftains to handle Pentucket’s non-stop pressure.

“You have to make plays against Pentucket because they play such great team defense,” said Coach Romeo.  “They won’t give you anything easy.”

Coach Romeo: “Jenna DiPietro, Olivia Filmore, and Paige Richardson made important contributions in the win.”

Paige had ten points and ten rebounds.

You had to think that it might be Masco’s night when in their first-half struggle to score points they were able to bank in two 3-pointers.

“We got some breaks early when those bank-three’s went in but it was a good sign,” Coach Romeo said.  “It loosened everyone up.”

In bounds play

Take those two shots away and Masco is down by nine at the half instead of three.

Both teams had surprising losses recently against teams they had defeated soundly in first meetings.  For Pentucket it was Notre Dame (Hingham) and for Masco it was North Reading.

But that’s why we show up to games; you never know what will happen.

The Chieftains honored their two seniors (Sara Fogarty and Marissa DeLucia) before the game.

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

Sara Fogarty

Anna Wyner in for two

Jenna DiPietro

Liv Cross

Mak Graves (19 points) gets loose

Marissa DeLucia

Morgan Bovardi (17 points) floats one up

Olivia Filmore guards Angelina Yacubacck

 

 

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Toskany Abreu gets 29 points but Newburyport edges Beverly 60-57

Micah Davies (34) takes the last shot over Parker McLaren

Casey McLaren made clutch free throws in the final minute

(Newburyport MA) This had the feel of a tournament game.

Close, tense, free throws, last shot, and jumping around in celebration for the winners.

It was the Clippers (16-3) enjoying the happy ending as they defeated a very good Beverly team, 60-57, on Monday night.

“It was an excellent high school basketball game from start to finish,” said Beverly coach Matt Karakoudas afterwards.

Senior Toskany Abreu (29 points) had a monster game for the Panthers (10-6).  The BHS guard was able to get into the lane most of the time for layups despite an assortment of Newburyport defenders trying to stop him.

NHS coach Dave Clay was impressed: “We were trying somehow to stop #3 (Toskany Abreu).  He was terrific.  We tried everything; zone, man-to-man, face guard, diamond-and-one.”

The visitors from the Northeastern Conference took a one-point lead (57-56) into the final 2 ½ minutes after Toskany hit two free throws.

Beverly wouldn’t score another point.

“The key to this win was our effort,” said Coach Clay.  “I love what we brought to the table.”

All eyes were on Toskany Abreu as he scored 29 points for Beverly

Parker McLaren (15 points) finished an eight-point quarter with a jump shot in the lane assisted by Ryan Archie to put the Clippers in front 58-57 with 1:54 remaining.

Both teams then traded turnovers and Beverly had the ball back with thirty seconds left.  After the way things had gone all night, it wasn’t hard to imagine Toskany getting the shot in the crucial possession.

But that’s not what happened.  Harry Bovee defended Toskany well enough so that he gave the ball up.  Teammate Micah Davies tried a pass to Marje Mulumba under the basket that was high and wide.

Casey McLaren honored for scoring 1000 points

Beverly quickly fouled Casey McLaren and the pre-game honoree rattled two free throws in to increase the NHS lead to 60-57 with twenty-three seconds left.  Still plenty of time for Beverly to tie it.

Again, I imagined Toskany doing something but the Clippers defense forced the ball out of his hands.  Instead, senior Micah Davies attempted to tie the game with a three over Parker McLaren.  It rimmed out, Newburyport secured the rebound, and the celebrating soon followed.

Beverly build up a 10-point lead in the second quarter (27-17) putting a 13-2 run together.  Contributors were; Micah Davies, Marje Mulumba, Toskany Abreu, Jack Crowley, and Kyle Camara.

Casey McLaren beats the half-time buzzer

The Clippers used the final 2 ½ minutes of that second quarter to erase most of their deficit.  Casey McLaren’s long-range, buzzer-beater had NHS within three (29-26) going into the second half.

Casey ended up with fourteen points.

“Toskany played very, very well,” said Coach Karakoudas.  “We needed to give him a little more help in scoring.  Give credit to Newburyport and Coach Clay because they did an excellent job on our big man, Jack Crowley. They limited him to ten points which is below his norm.  Jack still did very well but they did a good job focusing on him.”

Jack Crowley tries to get away from Ryan Archie

The Clippers controlled the first period while the Panthers controlled the second period.  The second half was small leads, ties, and back-and-forth.

“What more could you ask for as a fan?” asked Coach Karakoudas afterwards. “I could ask for a win, but the fans had to love it!”

Nice crowd on hand including a collection of Pentucket players.  The Sachems won a big one from Newburyport on Friday night.

Casey McLaren was honored pre-game by state representative James Kelcourse for reaching 1000 points.

Newburyport box

Beverly box

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

Closing second

Parker McLaren leans in for a tough layup

Toskany Abreu guarded by Max Gagnon and Casey McLaren

Toskany Abreu shoots a 3 from the corner

Decisive free throws by Casey McLaren

George Coryell sets to pass

Jacob Roberton gets to the hoop

Marje Mulumba guards Casey McLaren

Parker McLaren denied a layup by the Beverly defense

 

 

 

 

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Lynnfield qualifies for the tourney with 47-18 win over Triton

Pioneers’ defense forced 31 Triton turnovers

Tori Morelli (15 points) for Lynnfield

(Byfield MA) Friday night was a special night for the Lynnfield Pioneers girls basketball team.

Lynnfield defeated Triton, 47-18, and qualified for the post-season.

Extra special because the Pioneers (10-8) were 5-52 over the past three seasons and lost their coach (Jim Perry) in April.

“It means a lot tonight,” said Coach Peter Bocchino afterwards.  “I was supposed to share the moment with (Coach) Jim Perry but unfortunately he’s not here.”

Another tough loss for Triton (3-14).  “Our struggle all year has been trying to score,” said Vikings coach Dan Boyle.  “We can’t find any consistency on offense.”

The visitors came out in a zone and defended Triton into a night full of turnovers and missed shots.

“We’ve been working hard on defense,” said Tori Morelli (15 points).

Battle in the lane

“Our zone defense has stifled a lot of people because we’re pretty long and athletic,” said Coach Bocchino.

The Pioneers had their share of struggles with turnovers (22) but, unlike Triton, they put points on the board regularly.

The direction of this game was set in the first quarter.  The Pioneers put eleven unanswered points together while the Vikings put twelve turnovers together.  Triton’s only points (two Caitlin White free throws) of the quarter came with fourteen seconds left. Lynnfield 11, Triton 2.

Sophomore Ava Buonfiglio (11 points) had two three’s for LHS in their fast start.

The Vikings lessened their miscues thereafter, but they didn’t get their 11th point until there were only three minutes left in the game.

Ava Buonfiglio (11 points)

The Pioneers put nine straight together at the end of the 2nd quarter, into the 3rd quarter, and a 17-6 lead bulged to 26-6.  Ava, Riley Hallahan, Tori Morelli, and Catherine MacDonald contributed points.

Lynnfield collected fourteen in a row in the second half and a 26-10 spread became 40-10 in the final quarter.  Melissa Morelli totaled six of the fourteen points.

Melissa/Tori Morelli: “We’ve worked hard all season and it’s finally paid off.  We’re no longer a team you just roll over.  We’ve played the season for Coach Perry.”

“Some role players stepped up, Ava (Buonfiglio) had big three’s and Riley (Hallahan) was killing the boards,” said Coach Bocchino.

Coach Bocchino: “I kept telling the team that we weren’t going to take the Sullivan Rule bid.  I wanted to get into the tournament the real way and we did it tonight.”

Seniors Colleen McCarthy and Emily Karvielis each had six points for Triton.

Neither team shot “lights out,” but the lights did go completely out with a few minutes remaining.  Both teams shot better after the lights came back……..I’m not sure what to make of that!

Lynnfield box

Triton box

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

Emily Karvielis chases a loose ball

Battle for control

Caroline Waisnor (10) and Kerry Power (11)

Catherine MacDonald

Colleen McCarthy launches a three

Grace Klonsky catches an inbounds pass

Jump pass by Grace Klonsky

Melissa Morelli to the hoop

Paige Volpone (33) tries to get by Riley Hallahan (22)

Scramble in the lane

 

 

 

 

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Masco dominates Newburyport 57-30

Mak Graves (16 points) heads to the basket after a steal

Good Masco defense

(Newburyport MA) “Stay solid on D and execute on offense.”

That’s what Masco coach Bob Romeo wanted, and he certainly got it as the Chieftains routed Newburyport, 57-30, on a chilly Friday night of Cape Ann League girls basketball.

The Clippers (8-7) scored the first basket (Meg Winn) but it was all downhill for them from there.

“They got the first hoop and went up 2-0 and I started thinking that this could be a tough night up here,” said Coach Romeo. “But we got that hoop back and had a whole bunch of stops.  Once we were up, 11-2, everyone relaxed.  Makayla got off to a great start.”

Paige Richardson looks to pass

Masco (12-4) had unanswered point streaks of eleven, eight, and sixteen before Coach Romeo permanently benched his starters with three minutes left in the third quarter.  The Chieftains had a 49-14 lead at the time.

The first Masco run of points (eleven) answered NHS’s two-point start.  A three by Mak Graves (16 points), a drive by Morgan Bovardi (16 points) and three baskets set up by Morgan sent Masco ahead, 11-2.

The second run of points (eight) happened soon after the first one.  Free throws by Paige Richardson started it and that was followed by two Mak Graves drives and a Morgan Bovardi drive.  This collection of points put Masco on top, 22-5, early in the second period.

Mak Graves gets an open three

Masco was able to get to the basket with ease.  Lacking for the Clippers was any sort of help defense.  Mak Graves hit from long distance and got to the hoop for twelve first-period points.  Mak had only two points in the first meeting.

On this evening it was quickly obvious that the Clippers would have their hands full trying to defend the Clippers.  Sometimes a team can score enough points to make up for it.  Didn’t happen tonight!

The Newburyport offense had an even tougher night than the defense did.  Anyone connected to NHS basketball may want to skip the next paragraph.  Consider yourself warned!

Alex Locke (33) and Sadie Vandenberg (22) battle for control

Two free throws late in the second period by Maggie Pons put the score at, 33-14, with 1:50 left.  The Clippers didn’t score for the next eight minutes of playing time (a full quarter of playing time).  The visitors tallied sixteen points in a row.  Morgan Bovardi had eleven of the points.  The worst part of it all for Newburyport?  They had thirteen turnovers during this trying time for them.

From where I was watching, most of the turnovers were bad passes in their half-court offense.  The Masco defenders jumped passing lanes with great success.

The deadly combo of less-than-the-best offense/defense left Newburyport down, 49-14, with plenty of playing time remaining.

The Clippers totaled twenty-nine turnovers for the night.  Masco had eight.

Olivia Filmore (24) covers Jess Rosseau (25)

“We play a team defense,” said Coach Romeo.  “Everyone is helping.”

“We executed some good stuff and we had some good looks,” added Coach Romeo.  “It’s that time of year.  We should be executing.  We’ve been in the gym for two months.”

Newburyport has two more tough games in the next six days; Amesbury and Pentucket.  The games are at Newburyport.  Pentucket had a two-point win over Amesbury on Tuesday.  Pentucket has a win over Masco.  Pentucket & Masco have a rematch this month at Masco.

Pretty impressive rendition of the National Anthem by a Newburyport freshman.

Newburyport box

Masco box

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

Tie-up in the lane

Jenna DiPietro guarded by Anna Hickman

Lily Troupe to the hoop

Lucy Palmer (2) catches a lob pass beyond Sami Cavanaugh (5)

Meg Winn (14) into the lane guarded by Jess DeLucia

Meg Winn guards Mak Graves

Morgan Bovardi gets an open look

Morgan Bovardi (16 points) gets to the basket

 

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Pentucket holds off Amesbury 50-48

Angelica Hurley (12 points) looks for an opening

Flannery O’Connor (16 points) guarded by Arielle Cleveland (11 points)

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury was ahead 20-7 after 5 ½ minutes.

Pentucket was ahead 26-24 seven minutes later.

“It was back-and-forth a lot,” said Angelica Hurley afterwards.

That back-and-forth thing took time to materialize in the early going but in the final 2+ quarters it happened often.  Seven ties.  Eight lead changes.

In the end, it was Pentucket (14-1) making the big shots, at the line and from the floor, and turning defense into offense, that carried them to a tough 50-48 win on Tuesday night over Amesbury (12-2).

Pentucket coach John McNamara

Pentucket has the best record in Massachusetts in Division 2.

“I’m proud of our girls,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos after. “We hung in there.  Pentucket is a good team.”

The Sachems took the lead for good (47-45) on a Liv Cross layin with 2:25 left.

Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) had a steal and made two resulting free throws a minute later to stretch the Sachems advantage to 50-46.

Freshman McKenna Hallinan (7 points) answered with a layup to close the gap to two with 1:04 left, but the Indians (12-2) couldn’t complete the comeback in their two possessions thereafter.

Turnover

“It was a great high school girls’ game,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “We knew they were good coming in.  They have maybe two of the best players in the Cape Ann League.  Amesbury will be a tough out in Division 3.”

The Indians got off to a tremendous start.  Shots were falling and uncontested layups were showing up.

Senior Flannery O’Connor (16 points) dominated the 20-7 getaway with twelve points.  She had four layups, a free throw, and even a three.

“They were clearing out for her,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “We had to adjust.  We did everything we could in the second half to keep her from getting good looks inside.”

Flannery O’Connor guarded by Megan Reading

The adjustment worked because Flannery saw multiple defenders in the second half and ended up with just one free throw.

The other noticeable defensive effort was Maddie Doyle covering Alli Napoli.  Significant size difference but Maddie kept the athletic Alli from direct routes to the basket.  Alli had one full-court layup in the 2nd half.

How did Amesbury stay with Pentucket in the second half if Flannery and Alli weren’t putting up points? Solid man-to-man defense and terrific rebounding.

The Sachems had only one rebound basket the whole game – Arielle Cleveland at the very end of the first half.

“We wanted to stop fast breaks and second-chance points,” explained Coach Dollos.

The Indians led 24-17 at the 6:15 mark of the second quarter.  The next three minutes?  All Pentucket.  While the Indians were defended into five turnovers, the Sachems put nine unanswered points together to take their first lead, 26-24.

Liv Cross (9 points) lines up a free throw

Maddie Doyle and Angelina Yacubacci finished the nine-point comeback with 3’s.

I thought at the time that this might be the beginning of a long evening for the Indians, but I was wrong.  Amesbury began to answer with points and “back-and-forth” was what we witnessed the exciting rest of the way.

Pentucket made 3-of-4 free throws in the end game.  “Free throws are always important,” said senior Liv Cross.  “Every coach I’ve ever had always says that these kinds of games come down to free throws.”

Ciara Sullivan gave Amesbury a quick 43-38 lead with five straight points to start the final quarter.  Back came Pentucket, however, with two Angelica Hurley layups and two Liv Cross free throws.  It was all part of that back-and-forth thing.

Amesbury had twenty-three turnovers and Pentucket nineteen.  The 3-minute collection of five of them in the second period may well have cost Amesbury the game.  Credit the Pentucket defense.

Coach McNamara: “The way we started we could have given up, so I give credit to our girls for recovering.”

Ciara Sullivan lines up a three

On Maddie Doyle guarding Alli Napoli: “She gave away about two feet but she’s scrappy and tough.”

On Angelina Yacubacci’s steal late in the game: “She’s a very smart defensive player.  She reads passes and lanes very well.  Her steal was huge.”

Coach Dollos: “Foul trouble hurt us.  I’m happy with what we did.  Losing isn’t fun but I’ll say we played pretty well.”

Things to work on: “We needed to move the ball better to get it inside.  We also could have used better shot selection at times.”

The best assessment of the game belonged to Coach Dollos, “It easily could have gone either way.”

Angelica Hurley had twelve points for Pentucket and teammate Arielle Cleveland added eleven. Alli Napoli collected ten points for Amesbury.

The victory extends the Pentucket winning streak to eleven.  Only loss was to Westford Academy.

The Amesbury defeat stops their win streak at eleven.  They had an early-season loss to North Reading that I covered.

Liv Cross on next year: “I got into Northeastern the other night.  It’s my top school but expensive.  Nursing is what interests me.  I might go to UMass Lowell because I got into their nursing program.”

The intensity of the two coaches spread into the stands.  It seemed as if every whistle was challenged by the side whistled against.

Amesbury box

Pentucket box

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

Plenty of contact

Mary Bullis defends

Turnover

Angelica Hurley eyes the hoop guarded by Flannery O’Connor

Arielle Cleveland (11 points) looks to pass

 

 

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Gia Bramanti’s big final quarter leads Andover past Masco 45-41

Plenty of tough defense on display

Gia Bramanti (19 points) was huge in the final quarter for Andover

(Boxford MA) Andover’s Gia Bramanti came alive in the final four minutes and led the Warriors to a, 45-41, win over Masco on Sunday afternoon.

“Gia is a special player,” said Masco coach Bob Romeo afterwards. “Great players find ways to make big shots.”

Who could argue?  The 6-1 senior shouldered the scoring load for AHS after Tatum Shaw’s 3-pointer put the Warriors close, 35-34, with 3:48 left in the non-league contest.

In the next 2+ minutes, Gia put five points on either side of a Morgan Bovardi triple and the visitors pushed ahead, 44-38, with 1:39 remaining.  Masco had enough possessions thereafter to catch up, but the Andover defense wouldn’t allow it.

Gia Bramanti in the lane

“Gia made the big plays when she had to,” said Warriors’ coach Alan Hibino.  “She wasn’t surprised by the moment.  She wants the ball in those situations.”

Gia paced the Warriors with nineteen points.  Morgan Bovardi led Masco with seventeen points.

The defense for both sides was tenacious.  Open shots vanished after warmups.  “Our kids played hard on defense,” said Coach Romeo.  “There was nothing easy for either team.  Andover is used to it every night in the Merrimack Valley Conference.  We don’t see it as often in the Cape Ann League.”

Gia Bramanti turned out to be the shooting star at the end but for almost three quarters the Masco defensive combo of Marissa DeLucia and Cally McSweeney limited her to six points.  But then in the final seconds of the 3rd quarter, Gia drained her first three as the quarter ended tied at 29-29.

Shea Krekorian (2) made shooting difficult for Mak Graves (3)

This game had six ties and six lead changes.

The Chieftains (10-4) went up by seven (21-14) in the second quarter, eight (24-16) in the 3rd, and six (35-29) early in the final quarter.  Sophomore Morgan Bovardi (17 points) had a part in each of the Masco point surges.

Andover, however, was always able to put streaks of offense together and recover. They put eight straight in place in the third (two drives Taylor Landry, free throw Gia, triple Tatum Shaw) and ten unanswered in the fourth (two free throws Sarah Sullivan, triple Tatum Shaw, triple & layup Gia Bramanti).

A key to the Warriors’ win?  The defensive job junior Shea Krekorian did on Masco’s top scorer, Mak Graves.  Mak averages fourteen points per game and had two 3’s in the first quarter and a layup in the first two minutes of the second quarter.  After that?  Nothing.

“We’ve seen them (Masco) play a couple of times,” said AHS coach Alan Hibino.  “Mak is the engine that makes them go.  Shea Krekorian did a nice job on her.”

Morgan Bovardi (17 points) takes on three Andover defenders

The Warriors showed a zone defense in the last quarter.  Normally Masco’s shooters make that into a bad idea.  “Our shooters can make outside shots but Mak and Morgan need space and their defenders had length,” said Coach Romeo.

“I have no regrets on our level of effort,” added Coach Romeo.  “Andover averages close to 70 points per game.  Our kids played so hard on defense.”

Coach Hibino expected a tough game. “Coach Romeo reached out to us this summer to play this game.  It’s nice to go out of conference and play an opponent of Masco’s caliber.  Mak and Morgan are fantastic players.”

Gia Bramanti: “It was hard work out there.  Masco is very good.  Their two guards are definitely going to play in college if they want to.”

Hard screen

Andover’s thirteen wins give them more wins than any other team in Division 1 North.  Masco, also in D1, has already qualified for the post-season.  Plenty of D1 coaches in the crowd getting a look at two possible tournament opponents.

I asked Gia about her plans for next year: “I am looking to do a post-graduate year.  I haven’t really decided where yet.”

Regarding her late-game heroics Gia said, “It always feels great when I can connect.  It was when it really mattered.  The adrenalin kicked in and I knew that I had to make a few shots.”

Taylor Landry scored ten for Andover and Tatum Shaw added eight including two 3’s.

Paige Richardson and Mak Graves each had eight for Masconomet.

Andover box

Masco box

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

Olivia Fillmore (24) shoots

Paige Richardson defends Taylor Landry

Saran Sullivan (22) gets into the lane

Taylor Landry (10 points) breaks in

Cally McSweeney guards Gia Bramanti

Floor pass

Mak Graves covers Taylor Landry

 

 

 

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Oceanside hits fifteen 3’s in 73-47 win over Waterville

Jaden Martin (21) and Amos Anderson (12) were part of a tight Oceanside defense.

Cooper Wirkala (11) found enough open spaces to collect thirty points.

(Rockland ME) It wasn’t raining outside but it sure was inside.

Raining three’s, that is, as Oceanside poured fifteen of them on Waterville in a 73-47 dousing on Friday night.

The Mariners (11-4) nailed ten of those triples (on sixteen attempts) in the first half and raced away, 42-20.  The five long ones added in the second half were pure gravy.

Cooper Wirkala registered a double/double for the home team scoring thirty points and taking in ten rebounds.

“This was a typical Cooper game,” said OHS coach Matt Breen. “He’s a gifted offensive player.  He has length.  He can shoot.  He can handle.  He moves the ball.  He’s a difficult guard.”

Trevor Reed ready to take one of many open three’s for Oceanside

Waterville (2-12) tried a zone defense against Oceanside.  It didn’t work. The Mariners patience on the perimeter turned up open 3-pointers all night long and on this evening, they hit half of their thirty attempts.

“We did a good job of moving the ball,” explained Cooper Wirkala afterward.  “We really hit our shots tonight.” Cooper struck five times from deep.

Coach Breen was glad for the win and happy that the long shots were falling.  “I thought we played pretty well.  We moved the ball at times.”

David Barre guarded by Cooper Wirkala

Relying on the long-range shot had the coach worried, however: “Long range was good tonight, but we don’t want it to become a habit.  We need to be versatile enough to score on the inside.”

On this night, the perimeter shots never ran dry.  Waterville never had a chance, as a result, to challenge the Mariners.

In an earlier meeting at Waterville, the Panthers only lost, 54-46, and despite the unfavorable won/loss record Waterville had lost five game by four points or less. That’s why the quick separation in tonight’s game was a surprise to me.

The Mariners’ offense went on a game-long roll, but their defense was equally good.  Their man-to-man defense ganged up on the Panther shooters inside and forced nineteen turnovers, including twelve in the breakaway first half.

Waterville was within four points (10-6) after a Jack Lloyd layup in the first quarter.

Next two minutes?  All Oceanside.  The Mariners had 3’s from Jack Lombardo (14 points) and Cameron Kingsbury (9 points) and four free throws from Cooper Wirkala.

Jack Lombardo (14 points) and five Waterville defenders

Waterville during that same segment?  Three turnovers and no points.  Off went the Mariners, 20-6, and they never let up.

In tonight’s game senior Jaden Martin (9 points) made every three he attempted.

Trafton Gilbert paced Waterville with seventeen points.

“When we hit from the outside it spreads the floor and we can make cuts inside and it opens up the whole game for us,” said Cooper.

“If we hadn’t been making three’s we would have changed the style we played,” said Coach Breen.  “We would have moved Cooper in behind the zone or gone with Amos (Anderson) behind the zone.  Tonight, we just spread it out and played five out because we were knocking down shots.”

Cooper Wirkala could reach 1000 points in Belfast

Oceanside’s next game is at Belfast on Tuesday night.  Might be a special game for Cooper Wirkala.  Cooper, after tonight, is sitting with 979 points.  A 21-point night for him is certainly not out of the question in Belfast.

I asked Cooper about his decision to play for the Colby Mules next year: “Everyone I’ve talked to says great things about Colby.  They have a very good basketball program and are building all sorts of sports complexes.  I can’t wait to go there.”

Waterville box

Oceanside box

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

Oceanside fans

Tight defense on David Barre

Cooper Wirkala (11) finds teammate Amos Anderson (12)

Freshman Liam VonOesen

 

 

 

 

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