Mike Norton (27 points) leads Oceanside past Nokomis 53-49 in Class A North QFinals

It wasn't until Cooper Wirkala made two free throws with 2.3 seconds left that Oceanside had a win assured over Nokomis

It wasn’t until Cooper Wirkala made two free throws with 2.3 seconds left that Oceanside had a win assured over Nokomis

Josh Smestad (22 points) guards Mike Norton (27 points) on an inbounds play

Josh Smestad (22 points) guards Mike Norton (27 points) on an inbounds play

(Augusta ME) This game was there for the taking until Oceanside’s Cooper Wirkala sank two free throws with 2.3 seconds left.

The two free throws put the Mariners up by four and sealed a 53-49 win over plucky Nokomis in the Class A North quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

#3 Oceanside (16-3) made it to the Class A championship game last season but graduated eight players.  They have quickly rebuilt around junior Mike Norton.

Mike (6’2”) ended up with twenty-seven points today getting in close for layups and making room for jump shots in the lane.

Mike had eighteen of those points during Oceanside’s rally from a 16-4 deficit in the first period to a 28-22 lead early in the third period.

Mike had two steal/layups in his collection of scoring.

The hustle play of the game?  Mike Norton catching a Warrior dribbler with his back turned and diving to force a jump-ball turnover on Nokomis in the 4th period.

Junior Mike Norton above the rim after a steal

Junior Mike Norton above the rim after a steal

Mike’s heroics were important to get the Mariners going after Josh Smestad (22 points) punished the Rockland team with half his points in the first quarter.

The thing about Nokomis (11-8) was that after squandering their great start they did not fold thereafter.

Down by six (28-22) early in the 3rd quarter, the team from Newport rode the shooting of Zach Hartsgrove (17 points) to get to within two points of the lead five different times in that quarter.

With 4:25 to go in the game the Warriors actually took the lead, 42-41, on a baseline jumper by Captain Brad Allen.

Back came Oceanside, and after two more hoops by Mike Norton, one assisted by Nate Raye, they were in front, 46-44, with 2:48 remaining.

Key point in the game?  Mike Norton fouled out with 2:10 left.  How would Oceanside get points the rest of the way?

Here’s how: four Oceanside free throws came from Nate Raye and Sam Atwood surrounding a Nokomis turnover.

Now up five (50-45) with a minute left things looked good for Oceanside.  Not so fast!

Josh Smestad (#2) converts a rebound with 24 seconds left

Josh Smestad (#2) converts a rebound with 24 seconds left

The Mariners missed five of their next six free throws and had a turnover.  Meanwhile, Zach Hartsgrove made two free throws and teammate Josh Smestad converted an offensive rebound.

The Warriors were within two twice, with the ball, in the final twenty-two seconds.  Zach Hartsgrove missed contested shots in both possessions.  After the second miss, Cooper Wirkala took in the rebound, was fouled, and sealed the deal with two straight free throws.

This was definitely a game that could have gone either way.

Oceanside gets to play in the North semi-finals on Wednesday at the same location.  The North finals will be on Friday.  The Class A title game will be in Augusta on March 4th at 2:45PM.

Oceanside has now won six straight.

The Mariners lost to undefeated Medomak Valley, 55-51, on January 27th.

Oceanside box

Nokomis box

There were eight charges called in this game.

The Nokomis band performed (nicely) the National Anthem.

It was a blessing to have dry roads and sunny skies.

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

Oceanside coach Matt Breen

Oceanside coach Matt Breen

Sam Atwood

Sam Atwood

Mike Norton shoots over Jakob Erskine

Mike Norton shoots over Jakob Erskine

There were eight charges called. Jack Lombardo gets called on this one

There were eight charges called. Jack Lombardo gets called on this one

Cooper Wirkala was four-for-four from the foul line

Cooper Wirkala was four-for-four from the foul line

Zach Hartsgrove (17 points) defended by Leo Reid

Zach Hartsgrove (17 points) defended by Leo Reid

Joseph Cloutier defends

Joseph Cloutier defends

Mike Norton breaks

Mike Norton breaks

Nate Raye drives past Josh Perry

Nate Raye drives past Josh Perry

Floor scramble. Brad Allen with the ball.

Floor scramble. Brad Allen with the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport stuns Lynnfield 67-55

Billy Arseneault (16 points) tries to get past Cam MacRae (14 points)

Billy Arseneault (16 points) tries to get past Cam MacRae (14 points)

Casey McLaren (18 points) eyes the hoop

Casey McLaren (18 points) eyes the hoop

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport turned in an impressive win on Senior Night as they took down Lynnfield, 67-55.

The Pioneers (15-2) had a twelve-game winning streak snapped.

The Clippers (14-3) took the lead in the first two minutes and never gave it back.

The Pioneers went down by thirteen (34-21) three minutes into the second half but battled back to within three points (39-36) in the final two minutes of the third quarter.

Nick Rogers (18 points) ends the third quarter with a three

Nick Rogers (18 points) ends the third quarter with a three. (Ball is above the scoreboard)

Nick Rogers (18 points) pushed the NHS lead back to nine (47-38) with a pair of three’s.

Cam MacRae and Zack Shone (14 points)

Cam MacRae and Zack Shone (14 points)

Later, Cam MacRae (14 points) strung five points in a row to boost the advantage to double digits (57-44) with 3:35 to go and sealed Lynnfield’s fate.

Lynnfield hadn’t lost since December (non-league Melrose) but were in trouble early versus Newburyport because top scorer Louis Ellis was a foul magnet.  Two minutes into this game he had two fouls.  LHS coach Scott McKenzie had to bench him for the rest of the quarter.  Two minutes into the second quarter Louis picked up his third foul.  Again, he was benched for the rest of the quarter.

Did it affect Lynnfield?  For sure!  The Pioneers tallied just eighteen points TOTAL in the first half.  Louis played only four of the sixteen minutes.

Over a year ago, in the MIAA tournament, Louis collected a career-high thirty-four points against Newburyport to help oust the Clippers from the post-season.

What I’m trying to tell you is that when Louis Ellis is on the bench for twelve minutes of the sixteen-minute first half, and then is held to two points in the second half, Lynnfield is in trouble.

Brendan Powers gets off a shot in the lane

Brendan Powers gets off a shot in the lane

Credit Newburyport for much of the Lynnfield trouble. They constantly took the ball to the basket.

After halftime, Louis Ellis was back on the court but another starter, Dan Jameson, wasn’t.  He was sick.

And then there was the Lynnfield foul shooting.  A very unfortunate six-for-eighteen.  I swear that I saw the Pioneers’ terrific point guard (Billy Arseneault) put a free throw in off the backboard.  Things didn’t make sense for Lynnfield on this night.

Again, credit Newburyport for taking advantage despite a dreadful first half shooting-wise of their own.  Casey McLaren ended up with eighteen points but fourteen of them came in the second half after an apparent lid was removed that gave him trouble in the first half.

Casey McLaren (18 points) takes the last shot of the first half

Casey McLaren (18 points) takes the last shot of the first half

Despite tough shooting the Clippers had a 23-15 halftime lead.

Consecutive three’s starting the second half, by Casey McLaren and Nick Rogers from in front of the NHS bench, put the visitors down by eleven (29-18).

The best moments for Lynnfield were in an 11-2 run later in the 3rd quarter that included several spin moves down the lane by Billy Arseneault (16 points).  That collection of good offense narrowed the NHS advantage to three (39-36) with plenty of game left.

Nick Rogers ended that third quarter with a three and added another one (he had four in the game) early in the final quarter.  LHS fell back away from one-possession territory and never got that close again.

Lynnfield had defeated Newburyport 67-48 on December 23rd.  The Pioneers raced off to a 20-5 first quarter lead.  Billy Arseneault had twenty points in that game.

Newburyport made seven of its eight triples in the second half.

Good crowd with many there to honor the Clippers seven seniors.

Luis Ellis - Long night for a talented player

Louis Ellis – Long night for a talented player

Both teams used zones and man-to-man’s.

There were plenty of drives to the basket and attempted three’s.

Newburyport has now won fourteen of the last fifteen games.

In contrast to the Pioneers’ weak free throw shooting, Newburyport cashed thirteen of sixteen FT attempts.

Both teams are in Division 3.  No doubt both teams will have home games in the MIAA tournament.  There is also the possibility that they will meet for the 3rd time this season in the tourney.

Lynnfield box

Newburyport box

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

Robbie Shay

Robbie Shay

Louis Ellis

Louis Ellis

Dan Jameson tries to shoot over Casey McLaren

Dan Jameson tries to shoot over Casey McLaren

Nick Roger's step-back three gives Newburyport a 37-25 lead

Nick Roger’s step-back three gives Newburyport a 37-25 lead

Newburyport was thirteen for sixteen from the foul line

Newburyport was thirteen for sixteen from the foul line

Zack Shone (14 points)

Zack Shone (14 points)

Bryant Dana in the lane

Bryant Dana in the lane

Tussle on the floor

Tussle on the floor

 

 

 

 

 

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Masco runs streak to eight in dominating 59-31 win over Newburyport

The Clippers had few openings inside against Masco

The Clippers had few openings inside against Masco

Mak Graves (15 points) finds a way to split two Newburyport defenders

Mak Graves (15 points) finds a way to split two Newburyport defenders

(Newburyport MA) No second-half comeback needed in this one.

Masco dominated from the get-go and routed Newburyport, 59-31, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.

The Chieftains (12-4) had needed to rally after halftime in three of their previous four games to get a W.

Masco now has won eight straight.  They face North Reading and Pentucket next week.

Newburyport (8-8) has reached the seriously struggling stage having dropped six of their last seven.  Getting the ten wins needed to get to the tournament is going to require a major turnaround in quality of play.

Mary Erb at the line - Masco made 12-of-16 free throws

Mary Erb at the line – Masco made 12-of-16 free throws

The best the Clippers did all night was put five points in a row at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, by then they were already behind, 39-14.

In the first 3 ½ minutes of the game the visitors pulled away 9-2 on two rebound baskets (Marissa DeLucia, Grace Fahey), plus two free throws and a triple by Mak Graves.

How did Masco win?  They dominated the boards and were very accurate at the line and beyond the arc.

The Clippers were outrebounded by twenty (49-29).  The killer stat here was sixteen offensive rebounds for the team from Boxford.  Paige Amyouny was the board master with fifteen.

I have seen Newburyport twice now.  Free throws were a glaring problem in both games.  A one-point loss to Amesbury included missing the front end of two one-and-one’s in the last minute.  In tonight’s game, NHS connected just four times in fourteen tries.  Masco, on the other hand, was twelve-for-sixteen taking freebies.

Long range things followed the same pattern.  Masco clicked seven times from beyond the arc while Newburyport just once.

Paige Amyouny in for two

Paige Amyouny in for two

Mak Graves (twice), Grace Fahey, Paige Amyouny, and Andrea Faia were successful from long distance in the first half.

The Clippers trailed 18-10 late in the first quarter but the next seven points belonged to Masco.  That fifteen points lead was still in place (29-14) 2 ½ minutes into the second quarter.

The last four minutes of the second quarter were all Masco.  They tallied ten straight points, including the last five by Andrea Faia, and had permanent separation, 39-14, at the half.

First look for me at Masco.  Impressed with the defense and the rebounding.

Marissa DeLucia took on Newburyport’s best player (Krysta Padellaro) and held her to eleven points.

The Clippers were keen to get the ball inside to Katie Hadden and were able to.  However, once Katie had the ball an extra defender showed up and left the sophomore with little room to maneuver.

Marissa DeLucia shadowed Krysta Padellaro

Marissa DeLucia shadowed Krysta Padellaro

Turnovers were not a factor in this game.  Each team had seven, according to my stat collection.  There was full-court pressure by both teams but few miscues resulted.

Freshman Mak Graves (15 points) led all scorers.  Nice article today about her in the Salem News.  I was not sure which one she was during warmups tonight and was surprised to find out which one she was.  Mak was easily the shortest girl on the floor but convinced me that she belonged out there with the “big” girls.  Mak dribbled and passed well and even took in six rebounds.

Mak leads Masco with twenty-five three’s for the season.  She had three against NHS.

Mak was a Cape Ann League All-Star in field hockey.

Grace Fahey (12 points) and Krysta Padellaro were CAL All-Stars in basketball last season.  Paige Amyoung was a second teamer.

On January 4th Masco defeated Newburyport 43-35 at Masco.

Missing from the Newburyport team is sophomore Anna Hickman with a torn ACL suffered against North Reading.  The Clippers desperately missed her point-scoring ability and tight defense in tonight’s setback.

Thanks to Andy Tappin for two stat sheets.  No better place to get information on what is going on with Masco girls’ basketball.

Mak Graves covered by Sam Cavanaugh

Mak Graves covered by Sam Cavanaugh

Masconomet has now qualified for the state tournament THIRTY-THREE straight seasons.

Masco box from the game

Newburyport box from the game

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

Mak Graves

Mak Graves

Katie Hadden floats in the lane

Katie Hadden floats in the lane

Katie Hadden tries to get between Lily Polakiewicz and Grace Fahey

Katie Hadden tries to get between Lily Polakiewicz and Grace Fahey

Late game action

Late game action

Grace Fahey (12 points) guarded by Maggie Pons

Grace Fahey (12 points) guarded by Maggie Pons

Lily Polakiewicz and Katie Hadden

Lily Polakiewicz and Katie Hadden

Sam Cavanaugh gets to the hoop

Sam Cavanaugh gets to the hoop

Paige Gouldthorpe

Paige Gouldthorpe

Katie Hadden looks for a pass with Stephanie Mini defending

Katie Hadden looks for a pass with Stephanie Mini defending

Plenty of Masco defense led here by Lily Andrews (2)

Plenty of Masco defense led here by Lily Andrews (2)

Krysta Padellar (11 points) in the lane

Krysta Padellaro (11 points) in the lane

 

 

 

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Second half eruption sends Newburyport past Triton 83-68

Triton's Jack McCarthy shoots a free throw facing the active Newburyport student section

Triton’s Jack McCarthy shoots a free throw facing the active Newburyport student section

Brendan Powers (guarded by Liam Spillane) had an 18-point third quarter

Brendan Powers (guarded by Liam Spillane) had an 18-point third quarter

(Newburyport MA) You knew going in that something had to give.  It would either be Triton’s perfect road record (6-0) or Newburyport’s lengthy win streak (eleven).

Turned out it was Triton’s road record that took a hit as Newburyport erupted in the second half to down the Vikings, 83-68, on Friday night before a full house.

The Newburyport (12-2) winning streak now reaches twelve.  They have not lost a game in 2017.

Who saw the amazing Clippers second half coming?  Not anyone crowded into the NHS gym in the first half.  Newburyport averages 65 points per game and they had twenty-six in the first half.  A little more offense and the Clippers would reach their game scoring average in the second half.

But what we saw was a point-adding barrage by Newburyport.  Twenty-nine in the 3rd.  Twenty-eight in the 4th.  That’s NBA level!

Will Parsons in the lane with Casey McLaren

Will Parsons in the lane with Casey McLaren

It is fair to say that in a normal high school game a team could well have one big quarter.  Two quarters like that…..not so likely.

For those who haven’t seen Newburyport, and this was my first look, they can score in a hurry.  Looking for some long-range offense?  The Clippers made thirteen 3’s.  Want some layups?  The Clippers spread the floor and penetrated off the dribble often.

The most noticeable thing about Newburyport, in my opinion, was their ability to break after baskets and long rebounds.  They caught Triton (10-5) frequently this way.

At the money end of many of the breakouts was Brendan Powers (22 points).  You talk about going wild in a quarter: Brendan had eighteen points in just the third quarter.

Triton did not go quietly in this one.  Will Parsons (27 points) and Jack McCarthy (20 points) wouldn’t let it happen.

Jack McCarthy drives baseline

Jack McCarthy drives baseline

The Vikings were still standing after the Clippers 29-point 3rd quarter because they had nineteen points of their own.

In fact, three minutes into the final quarter, the visitors only trailed by four (60-56) after a Will Parsons triple.

The Clippers had put ten unanswered together in the 3rd quarter.  With a four-point lead in the final quarter they created a second run of the same size.  There was no recovery for the Vikings this time.

The decisive run of ten points included an arc-three by Casey McLaren (14 points), an old-fashioned three by Nick Rogers (17 points), and layups by Cam MacRae (12 points) and Robbie Shay (16 points).  That run took just under two minutes to put together.

Now down, 70-56, Triton did not have the time or energy to cut into the lead the rest of the way.

Terrific crowd.  Plenty of support for both teams.  I am a fan of chanting as long as it doesn’t get personal.  The Triton side was quick to reference football while those on the NHS end referenced the scoreboard.  Good clean fun, I thought.

Nick Rogers and Chris Trotta

Nick Rogers and Chris Trotta

The moment in this game that made me laugh was in the final two minutes and Newburyport in command with a 75-64 spread.  There had been a timeout and I’m sure that NHS coach Tom L’Italien stressed taking time off the clock.  Ten seconds into the next possession Nick Rogers, who had made a three just thirty seconds earlier, could not resist launching a three from in front of the NHS bench.  On this night, Nick hit that shot (his 4th three of the game) and that left Coach L’Italien with his hands on his head wondering why the shot was even taken.

The Clippers lost to Lynnfield, 67-48, at LHS in December.  The rematch will be in two weeks.  The Pioneers are undefeated in the Cape Ann League.

Both Triton and Newburyport are in Division 3 and have qualified for the post-season tournament.

Colin Brennan (11 points) and Liam Spillane (10 points) reached double figures for Triton.

Newburyport box

Triton box

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

End of game

End of game

Nick Rogers

Nick Rogers

Robbie Shay blocks Liam Spillane

Robbie Shay blocks Liam Spillane

Cam MacRae

Cam MacRae

Brendan Powers gets two of his eighteen third quarter points

Brendan Powers gets two of his eighteen third quarter points

Colin Brennan

Colin Brennan

George Coryell defends Dylan Shute

George Coryell defends Dylan Shute

Colin Brennan looks to get away from Robbie Shay

Colin Brennan looks to get away from Robbie Shay

Jack McCarthy (21) tries to get a shot off against Casey McLaren

Jack McCarthy (21) tries to get a shot off against Casey McLaren

George Coryell

George Coryell

Will Parsons launches a three

Will Parsons launches a three

 

 

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Lynnfield runs streak to eight with 52-46 win over Triton

 

Billy Arseneault (22 points) guarded by Dylan Shute

Billy Arseneault (22 points) guarded by Dylan Shute

Liam Spillane's collects a rebound

Liam Spillane’s collects a rebound

(Byfield MA) Lynnfield defeated Triton, 52-46, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.

The Pioneers (11-1) have now won eight straight.  Their lone loss was in December to non-league Melrose.

The Vikings (8-4) started slow and ended even slower.  In between?  Wow!  They dropped five 3’s (three by Colin Brennan and two by Will Parsons) on the visitors in third period and turned a 32-24 halftime deficit into a 42-41 lead at the end of the 3rd.

Triton was still close enough to taste it after Jack McCarthy put in a runner in the lane with 3 ½ minutes left in the game.  The Vikings, at that juncture, were then only down by one, 45-44.

The rest of the way belonged to Lynnfield.  Led by Billy Arseneault (22 points) the Pioneers tallied the next seven points to gain outcome-deciding separation.

Junior Billy Arseneault had a hand in all seven crucial points.  He started with a triple, followed with a drive down the left side of the lane, and then missed a free throw.  On this night, even the missed free throw turned out good for LHS as Lou Ellis snared the rebound and put in the rebound.

Triton ended up with a 4-point final quarter and I’m guessing you don’t win very often doing that.

Lou Ellis defends Colin Brennan

Lou Ellis defends Colin Brennan

A factor in the Triton drought was the move by Pioneers’ coach Scott McKenzie to put Lou Ellis on Colin Brennan (16 points) in the final quarter.  Lou is taller than Colin and he made the clean looks vanish for the Triton junior.

Both teams had players willing to take the ball to the basket.

One concern for Triton going into this game was if they could rebound against Lynnfield.  It turns out that they could.  What they couldn’t do was make shots in the last quarter.

Key player in the game?  Easily Billy Arseneault: Clever off the dribble and able to make 3’s, jump shots, and layups.  In the last minute, he had a steal and there were assists earlier.  Other than that…………..

Jack McCarthy (12 points) and Will Parsons (10 points) struggled to finish around the basket.  Along with Liam Spillane, the Vikings had chances in close but they weren’t falling on this night.

Lou Ellis ended up with seventeen points getting thirteen of them in the first half.  His late-game defense was significant.

Mike Carangelo (11 points) also reached double figures for the Pioneers.

Both teams played man-to-man for the most part with an occasional zone defense tossed in.

Lynnfield box

Triton box

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

Liam Spillance

Liam Spillane

Lou Ellis takes a three from the corner

Lou Ellis takes a three from the corner

Triton cheerleaders

Triton cheerleaders

Bryant Dana

Bryant Dana

Mike Carangelo

Mike Carangelo

Jack McCarthy with the ball

Jack McCarthy with the ball

Colin Brennan

Colin Brennan

Will Parsons among Pioneers

Will Parsons among Pioneers

Liam Spillane on the ball

Liam Spillane on the ball

Chris Trotta got the worst of a collision

Chris Trotta got the worst of a collision

Billy Arseneault covers Gabe Butts

Billy Arseneault covers Gabe Butts

Colin Brennan (16 points) to the hoop

Colin Brennan (16 points) to the hoop

Lou Ellis (17 points)

Lou Ellis (17 points)

Billy Arseneault steals from Jack McCarthy.

Billy Arseneault steals from Jack McCarthy.

 

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Late three by Abbie Sartori pushes Amesbury past Newburyport 40-39

Abbie Sartori at center court

Abbie Sartori at center court

Maddie Napoli pressures Krysta Padellaro

Maddie Napoli pressures Krysta Padellaro

(Newburyport MA) Amesbury won a thriller over Newburyport, 40-39, on a three-point shot by senior Abbie Sartori with twelves second left.

The win was the 13th for the Indians and it erased the sting of their lone loss last week to Pentucket.

The Clippers made three 3’s in the final quarter and nearly had a fourth in the final seconds after Abbie’s 3-pointer.

Paige Gouldthorpe had the final shot.  She had already made two three’s in the quarter.  How she could be so wide open must have had AHS coach Matt Willis wondering.  Of course, how Abbie Sartori (11 points), who had a triple in the game, could be wide open near the arc with Amesbury down by two, probably had the same effect on NHS coach Gregg Dollas.

This game was not sloppy.  The shooting was.  The total on both sides for missed layups, and wild shots in traffic, was large.  On this night neither defense was giving much ground and there were few second shots.

Free throws?  Both teams missed six.  The report of Newburyport’s loss last week to Hamilton-Wenham placed the blame on poor foul shooting.  Versus Amesbury the FT shooting wasn’t necessarily poor, just off at the wrong time.

Krysta Padellaro at the line

Krysta Padellaro at the line

Katie Hadden's FT try

Katie Hadden’s FT try

Twice in the final thirty seconds the Clippers were at the foul line shooting one-and-one’s with a two-point (39-37) lead.  Misses both times (Krysta Padellaro and Katie Hadden).  Amesbury turned the ball over after Krysta’s miss but after Katie’s they produced the winning 3-pointer.  Maddie Napoli found Abbie for the clincher.

The Clippers (7-5) fell behind early (4-3) after a Flannery O’Connor drive and stayed there for most of the game.  The AHS lead was eight at the half (25-17) and after the third quarter (34-26).

The Clippers hadn’t made a three and the AHS interior defense was limiting most good looks inside.  The exception being Anna Hickman (14 points) who managed four layups through heavy AHS traffic in the second quarter.

Anna Hickman (14 points) in the lane

Anna Hickman (14 points) in the lane

That Amesbury eight-point lead looked safe entering the final quarter.  But it wasn’t.  The home team put a 13-1 run together to grab a 39-34 lead with 2 ½ minutes left.  Now who’s in control!  It’s the Clippers.

In the 13-1 run, the Clippers made shots from everywhere.  Krysta Padellaro had a layup.  Katie Hadden a jump shot.  And then there were the three’s: one by Anna Hickman, and two by Paige Gouldthorpe.

Amesbury was in trouble but was able to recover as Newburyport did not score a single point over the final 2 ½ minutes.  The Clippers had chances but they couldn’t cash them on this night.  I did think that Paige’s late 3-point try was a good bet after one of her three’s earlier in the quarter had come from the same spot.  But not this time.

Amesbury had nine unanswered in the second quarter to get a ten-point (18-8) lead.  A jump shot and a three by Abbie Sartori, a jump shot by Chelsea Lynch, and full-court drive by Flannery O’Connor (12 points) did the damage for AHS.

Both Julia LaMontagne and Mikayla Porcaro turned up layups in the final thirty seconds of the third quarter.  Mikayla’s just beat the buzzer.

Krysta was injured the in the 4th quarter but a quick tape job by the NHS trainer enabled the junior to be on the floor in crunch time.

Paige Gouldthorpe (singer/defender)

Paige Gouldthorpe (singer/defender)

Paige Gouldthorpe easily transitioned from singer to starter.

The big surprise for me was seeing Krysta and Maddie Napoli held to only two points each.  Maddie did a good job of denying passes to Krysta.  I saw her do the same thing to Triton’s Tessa Lafrance in AHS’s win over Triton.

NHS now has three straight losses.  They face a tough one (Pentucket) away on Friday night.  Later they will get Pentucket at home.

Amesbury hosts Manchester-Essex on Friday night.  In the games ahead, the Indians will face four teams that they have already beaten this season.  You have to like their chances of being a near-the-top seed in Division 3 North come tourney time.

Amesbury box

Newburyport box

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

Abbie Sartori stopped by Katie Hadden

Abbie Sartori stopped by Katie Hadden

Julie LaMontagne goes for a baseline drive

Julie LaMontagne goes for a baseline drive

Katie Hadden stops Julia LaMontagne

Katie Hadden stops Julia LaMontagne

Flannery O'Connor tries to get the ball from Katie Hadden

Flannery O’Connor tries to get the ball from Katie Hadden

Abbie Sartori blocks Anna Hickman's shot

Abbie Sartori blocks Anna Hickman’s shot

Flannery O'Connor (12 points) looks to score

Flannery O’Connor (12 points) looks to score

Crucial late-game jump ball

Crucial late-game jump ball

 

 

 

 

 

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Manchester-Essex gets 39-34 road win over Triton

Kaitlyn O'Connell (#23) makes a key left-handed layup over a Triton defender.

Kaitlyn O’Connell (#23) makes a key left-handed layup over a Triton defender.

Kaitlyn O'Connell (led all scorers with eleven points)

Kaitlyn O’Connell (led all scorers with eleven points)

(Byfield MA) Freshman Kaitlyn O’Connell sparked a fourth quarter rally that gave the Manchester-Essex Hornets a 39-34 win over the Triton Vikings on Monday night in Cape Ann League action.

Both teams entered the game with eight W’s.  Tonight’s ninth for the Hornets moves them one game closer to the ten wins needed to qualify for the MIAA tournament.

This was a poor-shooting affair with few fast-breaks.  The half-court defenses for both teams were excellent forcing low-percentage shots and limiting second-change opportunities.

Kaitlyn’s heroics came in the second half as she canned all eleven of her points.  Her last-minute three in the third quarter moved her team to within three (27-24).

Early in the fourth quarter ME sophomore Grace Brennan struck from beyond the arc and added two free throws to give the Hornets the lead for good, 29-28, with 6:22 remaining.

Then Kaitlyn put her own six-point package together and this run gave the visitors the separation needed to win this one.

Kaitlyn’s three baskets in crunch time gave a glimpse of the kind of player she could become at ME.  The first one was a floater in the lane.  (The floater is the great equalizer for a point guard shooting over shot blockers.)  In the second one, Kaitlyn stole the ball from Tessa Lafrance and turned it into a layup.  In the final basket, the freshman got down the lane and successfully used her left hand to keep her layup attempt from being blocked.

Kaitlyn’s 6-point run gave the Hornets a 35-30 lead with 1:10 to go.

Alex Kennedy tries to find a way to get a shot off against Sarah Robinson.

Alex Kennedy tries to find a way to get a shot off against Sarah Robinson.

In the last minute, Triton (8-5) had free throws by Alex Kennedy and a cashed jump shot from Izzy Cambece but those scores were offset by four ME free throws (Mel Carter and Sarah Robinson).

Another key to the Hornets’ win?  High-scoring Tessa Lafrance was held to only four points.  Credit Mel Carter with a little help from Bridgett Kiernan and Emily Jacobson for denying Tessa many clean looks.

Triton’s best moments were when they put nine unanswered points together to turn a 14-10 deficit in the first half into a 19-14 lead in the first minute of the second half.

In that mix of points was an old-fashioned three by Alex Kennedy (feed from Tessa Lafrance) and a Tessa fast-break layup after a ME turnover.

The Vikings had the lead to six (27-21) late in the third period before Kaitlyn O’Connell influenced the outcome in favor of ME in the final going.

The Vikings have only played at home five times in thirteen games.  On Friday night they will host winless Lynnfield.

Manchester-Essex (9-3) have won all five games at home including victories over Pentucket and North Reading.

My previous looks at both teams had two things in common: the teams lost (ME to Newburyport, and Triton to Amesbury) and both had one very bad quarter.

The Hornets visit 12-1 Amesbury on Friday night.

In Triton’s last win (40-38 over Ipswich), it was Erin Savage making two free throws in the last minute that got the job done.

Classy move by ME's Sarah Robinson

Classy move by ME’s Sarah Robinson

Classy move by ME’s Sarah Robinson.  After Erin Savage made an all-out attempt to make a steal in the last minute of the game (and was called for a foul), Sarah talked to Erin and patted her on the back.

I was impressed with the gritty style of Bridget Sheehan and Alex Kennedy.  Both play serious defense and are willing to take the ball to the basket.

Prettiest play of the game?  Triton fast break in which Tessa Lafrance found Alex Kennedy breaking in from the left for a layup.

Manchester-Essex box

Triton box

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

Izzy Cambrece and Kaitlyn O'Connell

Izzy Cambrece and Kaitlyn O’Connell

Bridget Sheehan locates the ball

Bridget Sheehan locates the ball

Bella Pomeroy defends a Tessa Lafrance layup attempt

Bella Pomeroy defends a Tessa Lafrance layup attempt

Bridget Sheehan gets her shot blocked by Mel Carter (#12) and Sarah Robinson (#24).

Bridget Sheehan gets her shot blocked by Mel Carter (#12) and Sarah Robinson (#24).

Mel Carter plays denial defense on Tessa Lafrance

Mel Carter plays denial defense on Tessa Lafrance

Mel Primpas sets up teammate Bridgett Sheehan for a layup with a nice pass

Mel Primpas sets up teammate Bridget Sheehan for a layup with a nice pass

Alex Kennedy guarded by Kaitlyn O'Connell

Alex Kennedy guarded by Kaitlyn O’Connell

Kaitlyn O'Connell hits a third-quarter three

Kaitlyn O’Connell hits a third-quarter three

Bridgett Sheehan covered by Grace Brennan

Bridget Sheehan covered by Grace Brennan

Bella Pomeroy shoots in the lane

Bella Pomeroy shoots in the lane

Erin Savage gets a rebound

Erin Savage gets a rebound

Bella Pomeroy looks for a pass

Bella Pomeroy looks for a pass

Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson

ME coach Lauren Dubois and Bridgett Kiernan

ME coach Lauren Dubois and Bridgett Kiernan

 

 

 

 

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