Newburyport rallies to 72-64 win over North Reading

Finn Sullivan (10) led the Clippers in their strong finish
Finn Brennan (21 points)

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers dominated the final three minutes and that was enough to earn them a, 72-64, win over North Reading on Friday night.

“They crushed us on the glass over the last 4-5 minutes,” said NR coach Joe Casey afterwards.  “That’s what won them the game.”

Newburyport coach Dave Clay saw things a bit differently: “We won this game with defensive stops.  Those stops led to transition points.”

This game had plenty for both squads to cheer about.  The Clippers (6-4) led by six (23-17) after a quarter, but the Hornets (4-4) owned the middle quarters.  The visitors were ahead by nine (50-41) with 1 ½ minutes left in the third quarter. 

Andrew Boulas (20) paced the Hornets with sixteen points

Newburyport took the game over the rest of the way outscoring the Hornets, 31-14, to gain the victory.

“This group is resilient,” said Coach Clay.  “I’m proud of them keeping the fight in them.”

The tempo of this game was fun to watch because both teams had the same approach.  The defense was full-court, man-to-man and the attack was full-speed after misses.  Rebounds were heavily contested.

Neither team was shy about taking the ball to the basket.  The best of the passes were dropdowns by penetrators.

Craig Rubino guards Ronan Brown (12 points)

High scorer Finn Brennan (21 points) was on the receiving end of quite a few in-close passes.  “My teammates were getting to the rim and giving me easy dump-downs every time,” said Finn afterwards.

The Hornets were led by Andrew Boulas (16 points) and Cody Cannalonga (14 points).  Both players took the ball to the basket and often made the layup or got fouled.  Cody drained seven free throws.

The Clippers came out of a timeout after going down, 50-41, and finished the quarter with seven straight points including a Jack Fehlner three.

Scramble on the floor

Two-plus minutes into the last quarter Owen Tahnk cashed two free throws and the Clippers were on top, 55-54.

Finn Sullivan was the spark for the home team the rest of the way.  He contributed points, assists, and steals and gave the nearby active student section plenty to get excited about.

“The fans are so committed,” said Finn Sullivan afterwards.  “We love having them there.”

Logan Scribner makes a pass to a cutter

“Finn (Sullivan) gives us so much energy and passion on the court and it’s so contagious,” said Coach Clay.  “He’s quite an athlete and a fierce competitor.”

Finn connected on a three assisted by Jack Fehlner and then set up teammates Ronan Brown and James Scali for additional three’s.

The Hornets struggled to respond.

“Give them credit,” said NR Coach Casey, “they hit a couple of tough shots down the stretch.”

James Scali (9 points)

Ronan Brown (12) and Jack Fehlner (11) reached double figures for Newburyport.

Finn Brennan had nineteen of this twenty-one points through the first three quarters.  The Clippers 50-41 deficit late in the third quarter would have been much larger without the inside scoring of the tall freshman.

The Clippers hadn’t played in ten days. 

Finn Brennan at the line

Newburyport won the first meeting between the two teams on January 6th, 57-42.

I’ve done quite a few basketball games this winter and this was easily the noisiest one. 

Finn Sullivan: “We defended hard in the fourth quarter and did the little things you need to do to win.”

Newburyport     23   12   13   24   =   72

North Reading   17   16   17   14   =   64

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Chasing a loose ball
Owen Tahnk (22) gets a block
Finn Sullivan and Brian McKenna
Logan Scribner guarded by Henry Acton
John Jennings
Battle under the basket
Quinn Riesenberg in position to get a block
Alex Carucci
Newburyport student section
Newburyport box
North Reading box

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Pentucket defeats non-league Greater Lowell Tech 56-39

The Pentucket defense was solid the entire game
Danny Hileman (12 points)

(West Newbury, MA) Danny Hileman, have yourself a memorable game!

And he sure did.

The Pentucket reserve had a career-best twelve points, all in the second half, helping the Sachems defeat Greater Lowell Tech, 56-39, on Thursday night.

The Pentucket offense usually revolves around Nick Daly and CJ Condon and those two seniors were again big contributors.

Nick (20 points) drew extra coverage but was persistent enough inside to get points.

CJ (15 points) created his scoring with steals and drives.

But it was Danny who provided the comfortable cushion for the home team in the second half.

David Diaz moved into an open space

He hit four 3’s from right in front of the heavily involved Pentucket student section.

“I’ve been waiting for a game like this,” said Danny afterwards.  “It was good to finally get it.”

“It was fun to do it in front of all my friends,” the Pentucket senior added.  “It put me in a good mindset and gave me motivation.”

Nick Daly gave the Sachems (4-7) the lead for good, 16-15, halfway through the second quarter on a putback in heavy traffic.

“Those kids were tough,” said GLT coach Shane Abrams.  “We got out-muscled.  They got to every loose ball.”

Nick Daly (20 points)

The aggressive Pentucket zone defense was impressive.

“We’ve been really improving our team defense,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey post-game.  “Our defensive effort tonight will keep us in a lot of games.”

It certainly did that in this game because that 16-15 lead in the second quarter was 32-17 five minutes into the third quarter. 

The Gryphons from Tyngsboro had won six straight so I was expecting a point surge at some point but the Sachems defense never let up.

“Their zone spread us out,” said Coach Abrams, “and we couldn’t really penetrate the gaps.  We also had trouble reversing the ball because of how well they defended the weakside.”

CJ Condon (15 points)

Danny struck twice from long-range in the closing minutes of the third quarter and Pentucket was up fifteen, 41-26, at the end of it.

Again Danny struck twice but this time it was in the fourth quarter boosting the Pentucket advantage to, 54-35, with three minutes left in the game to ice things.

“Danny stepped it up big tonight,” said Coach Hickey.  “It was clearly the best game he’s ever played for us.  He’s been earning more playing time with his defense in practice.  He’s capable of knocking down shots and he did it tonight.”

Danny turned to the crowd after every three with a big smile on his face clearly enjoying the moment.

Nesly Sainvil (10 points)

Coach Abrams: “We didn’t recognize that he (Danny Hileman) was a shooter until it was too late.  With the big smile on his face, I think it was a surprise to him, too.  Good for him.  I’m happy for him.”

Coach Hickey: “It’s very exciting to get a home win.  It was nice to have the student body behind us.  We’ve become more connected to each other offensively and defensively.  We’ve been really trying not to settle for an okay shot but really work the ball to get a great shot.”

Chase Dwight rebounds

Nesly Sainvil led the (7-3) Gryphons with ten points.

Plenty of contact under the basket.  Noah Colon, Greyson McDonald, and Collin Abraham made the Sachems earn every basket they scored from in close.

Greater Lowell Tech is in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference. 

Chase Dwight scored one point but I’m betting he had close to ten rebounds.

Pentucket   11   13   17   15   =   56

Greater Lowell   11   6   9   13   =   39

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Austin Gagnon
Tight Pentucket defense
Noah Colon and James Davis
Collin Abraham
Noah Colon
Nesly Sainvil and James Davis
Action under the basket
Loose ball
James Davis and Zion Rodriguez
Mikey Murphy
CJ Condon
Nick Daly
Greater Lowell Tech box
Pentucket box

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Good shooting gets Georgetown past Triton 65-49

Griffin Dupuis and Matthew Torgerson (8 points)

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Grant Lyon (17 points)

(Byfield MA) Georgetown can shoot and they’re not hesitant to give up a shot to get a better one for a teammate.

“It’s all about trusting your teammates,” said senior Matthew Torgerson afterwards.  “They all can shoot.”

There were plenty of extra passes as Georgetown defeated Triton, 65-49, on Monday night.

The Vikings (3-6) hung with the Royals (7-2) for a quarter.

“In the beginning they were really hitting us on the glass,” said Georgetown coach Josh Keilty post-game.  “In the second quarter our guys really committed to rebounding.”

Dylan Wilkinson (22 points)

The Royals limited the home team to just seven points in that decisive second quarter and gained permanent separation (35-21) at halftime.

Georgetown tortured Triton with three’s in the first half netting six.  Junior Cory Walsh (15 points) drained three of them in the second quarter alone.

“Georgetown moves the ball really well,” said Triton coach Ted Schruender.  “They made a lot of three’s, and that’s hard to stop.”

Cory Walsh (15 points)

The Vikings were better in the second half, but the Royals never lost their double-digit lead.

Georgetown showed in the second half that they’re not all about long-range shots although they did have four more 3-pointers.

The Royals interior game was also strong because of their ability to pass into high percentage, around-the-basket, scoring opportunities.

Harrison Lien (15 points) and Grant Lyon (17 points) scored almost all their points from close to the basket.

Dylan Wilkinson shoots from close

Triton’s Dylan Wilkinson led all scorers with twenty-two points.  On at least four of his baskets, Dylan secured a rebound and maneuvered his way through the entire Georgetown defense for a successful layup.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, Dylan was the only one in double figures.  The Royals had three players in that zone.

“We’ve been grinding at every practice,” said Matthew, “and it showed tonight.  “We’ve been playing together all summer and in fall leagues.  We play like a family.”

Harrison Lien (15 points)

“I thought we shot it pretty well tonight,” said Coach Keilty.  “Cory Walsh played great with those five three’s.” 

“Anytime you can make shots like we did it gets your defense going,” added Coach Keilty.

The Royals have now won three straight.  Last year they were 5-0 before ending their season.

Both Georgetown and Triton have lost to Amesbury.

Coach Schruender is still optimistic.  “I know where we’re at, but I like the way my team competed.  We need to reach another level and I think we’re going to get there.”

Jack Lucido in Triton traffic

Jack Lucido was limited to three points tonight.  He had five 3’s in the Royals’ 2-point win over Newburyport.  Fewer points by Jack didn’t matter tonight because they have multiple scoring options and will share the ball to locate the hot hands.

Both schools were well represented in the stands.

Georgetown   16   19   15   15   =   65

Triton               14     7   17   11   =   49 

(The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Quintin McHale gets fouled
Ball on the floor
Griffin Dupuis sees an opening
Battle for the ball
Tegan Mead
Quintin McHale closely guarded
Jared Leonard guarded by Jack Lucido
Enjoying the moment
Triton box
Georgetown box

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Pentucket defeats Triton 60-59

Cole Vuylsteke hit two free throws to give Pentucket the lead

(Pictures will enlarge)

Chase Dwight defends in the closing seconds

(Byfield MA) Clutch free throws by CJ Condon and Cole Vuylsteke in the final minute enabled Pentucket to get by Triton, 60-59, on Friday night.

“It was a crazy, crazy game,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey afterwards.  “It was a tale of two halves.”

The Sachems (3-6) were cooking from long range in the first half draining eight three’s. One by Chase Dwight drew smiles from the surprised Pentucket fans and put the visitors ahead, 32-13.  The halftime margin was 36-21.

Quintin McHale (26 points)

In the second half, Triton came to life.

“We really tightened up defensively,” recalled Triton coach Ted Schruender. 

The Pentucket lead was lessened to nine points by the end of the third quarter (52-43) and then things got very interesting in the final quarter.

The Sachems couldn’t score a point for first five minutes and Triton rallied offensively to even things at 52-52.  Sophomore John Prendergast collected the tying basket off a deflected shot.

CJ Condon (23 points)

With 1:20 remaining, John was again in the right place at the right time.  This time he turned an offensive rebound into a score and the home team led, 57-54.

CJ Condon (23 points) broke in to score a layup but Ethan Tate responded with two free throws.  Triton still had a 3-point lead (59-56) with fifty seconds left.

Pentucket won the game on their next two possessions. They did it with four straight free throws (CJ Condon and Cole Vuylsteke).  The Vikings (3-5) had a rebounding foul and a turnover in their last two possessions.

Dylan Wilkinson (20 points)

“I missed free throws in the first half,” said CJ Condon post-game.  “It felt good to knock them down in the second half.”

The tensest moment belonged to Cole who had not scored a point the entire game.  Now, with eighteen seconds left he was at the line, shooting one-and-one, with his team trailing by a point. Cole nailed both shots.

“Cole stepped up and hit some huge free throws for us,” said Coach Hickey.

Max Ligols finishes

“We had a great comeback,” said Triton senior Quintin McHale (26 points).  “We just couldn’t finish it out.”

“We were down by fifteen at one point and came back and got the lead,” recalled Dylan Wilkinson (20 points) afterwards. “You’ve got to finish it off.”

“I can’t say enough about Dylan Wilkinson and Quintin McHale,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey.  “They were both amazing.”

A crucial defensive play was turned in by Pentucket’s Chase Dwight in the closing seconds.  Quintin got in close to the basket looking to get off a shot or get fouled but Chase was able to force the ball out of bounds instead of fouling Quintin.

Ethan Tate eyes the hoop

Nick Daly (15 points) drew special coverage in the first half.  He had five three’s, but foul trouble kept him on the sidelines for many minutes.

“I had a bad game last week and I was ready to play tonight,” said Nick afterwards.

The Sachems ended a four-game losing streak.  “This was a much-needed win for us,” said Coach Hickey.  “I’m not sure we’ve had our full lineup this year.  Tonight, we hung in there and I’m very proud of our guys.”

Nick Daly (15 points)

Last year the same two teams faced off at Byfield and Pentucket came away with a 47-46 win.

“Last year we were winning and let one get away,” recalled Coach Schruender.  “This year we made a really nice comeback.”

Both squads had active support in the stands.  “I love playing in this environment,” said CJ Condon.

Pentucket 21   15   16   8   =   60

      Triton  11   10   22   16   =  59

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Dylan Wilkinson puts up a three
Ethan Tate made two free throws in the closing minute
Ball on the floor
Quintin McHale double-teamed
Quintin McHale attacks the rim
Cole Vuylsteke tries to block Ethan Tate’s shot
Quintin McHale at the foul line
Dylan Wilkinson shoots from long range
Quintin McHale in close vs Nick Daly
Owen Tedeschi in the lane
Dylan Wilkinson blocks a shot
Chase Dwight double-teamed
Chase Dwight lifts Quintin McHale with an up fake.

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Newburyport routs Lawrence 61-23

Emma Foley led the Clippers with twenty points
MaKenna Ward pressure Tyanna Medina

(The pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)

(Newburyport MA) You never know for sure what to expect in a non-league game.

You read about your opponent and maybe even scout them, but actual conclusions are reserved for the game itself.

Newburyport put the clamps on Lawrence’s best player (Tyanna Medina) and the visitors from the Merrimack Valley Conference never had a chance.

Deirdre McElhinney (12 points)

The final was Newburyport 61, Lawrence 23.

Tyanna displayed all the skills of a next-level player but she was usually kept far from the basket.

“She was a really good player,” said Olivia McDonald who took a turn defending Tyanna.  “Our coaches told me to force her left and there would be help.  Everyone did a good job of helping.”

Sydney Turner, MaKenna Ward, and Anna Seidel also spent time corralling the Lancers’ sophomore and limited her to six points.

Sydney Turner(11 points)

Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Clippers were productive in the first-half, up-tempo approach as well as the second-half, deliberate approach.

The Lancers (1-5) used a zone defense that was slow to set up after missed shots.  The fast-breaking Clippers turned rebounds into open looks and layups.

Newburyport scored all the points in the first four minutes and sped ahead, 14-0.

Emma Foley continues to be able to maneuver into open looks in close.  Her ability to go either right or left, and use either hand successfully, makes her a scoring threat against any single coverage she faces.

Emma Foley – tough in close

Emma had twenty points tonight.

“Our team was really ready to play tonight,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.  “We have to learn to do that against every team, not just against a team that is not that strong.”

The Clippers had a 24-4 first quarter lead and extended the margin to 44-10 at the half.

Olivia Foley eyes the hoop

Deirdre McElhinney (12 points) and Sydney Turner (11 points) scored all their points in the first half.

In the second half, the Clippers resisted the fast breaks and were very patient on offense.

The most entertaining part of the second half was when Tyanna Medina and Olivia McDonald turned up the defensive pressure on each other.

Both are tenacious and confident.  Tyanna is used to being hounded because of her scoring reputation.  Olivia is quick and willing to cause a turnover any way she can.

“I told Olivia that I got goosebumps tonight watching her play such good defense on such a talented player,” said Coach Grutchfield.

Here is a four-picture sequence of the two of them getting after it:

Emerson McCormick had the game-winner in the JV game

Coach Grutchfield had two players on her bench that she couldn’t use.  Why?  Emerson McCormick and Maddie Hopwood had played the entire JV game in which Newburyport won late.  Emerson scored the go-ahead basket while Maddie sealed the win with free throws.

Olivia McDonald: “I think that the reason we are doing so well this season is that our defense leads into our offense.”

Newburyport   24   20   6   11   =   61

Lawrence   4   6   5   8   =   23

(The pictures enlarge if you click on them.)

Lilly Papatola drives
Anna Seidel on a drive
Olivia McDonald breaks in after a steal
Checking the scoreboard
Lancers try to get to the basket
Tyanna Medina gets a rare open look
MaKenna Ward
Maddie Hopwood sealed the JV game with free throws
Lawrence box
Newburyport box

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Amesbury speeds by Lynnfield 74-57

Henry O’Neill gets to the basket against Lynnfield

(Pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Jake Hallinan in for two

(Amesbury MA) “We did what we do best….run in transition,” said Amesbury senior Matt Welch afterwards.

And did they ever.

The Indians (5-2) took a 3-2 deficit and turned it into an 18-3 lead in four minutes of fast action.

The Pioneers (1-8) went cold, and Amesbury rebounded, found the outlet man, and moved quickly into open layups and looks.

Cam Keliher (21 points)

The final was 74-57.

The Indians’ starters didn’t play in the second and fourth quarters.

“We wanted a fast-paced game,” said Amesbury coach Tom Comeau.  “Max (LaPointe) and Nick (Marden) were huge inside early.  When you can rebound like that, it allows you to run.”

Senior Cam Keliher (21 points) keyed the fast start with twelve points and several assists to breaking teammates.

The Indians’ attack was so fast that they were seldom fouled going to the basket.

Mekhi Peters gets a rebound

“Amesbury is a heckuva team,” said LHS coach John Bakopolus post-game.  “They are incredibly difficult to guard.  They got out on us real early in the first half.”

None of the Amesbury starters played in the second quarter and the Pioneers used consecutive three’s by freshman Gavin Deluties (14 points) to lessen their deficit to 38-25 at halftime.

The AHS starters returned in the third quarter and the pace picked up and the shots started falling.

Matt Welch (12 points)

Cam had a 9-point quarter and teammate Matt added eight points in a 23-point AHS period. The Indians’ lead ballooned to 61-37 after three periods.

The final quarter belonged to the reserves from both squads.

“The kids on our bench came in and were ready to play,” said Coach Comeau.  Ten players on the Amesbury team scored points.

Gavin Deluties (14 points)

Freshman Zach Pincus (12 points) connected three times from long range for Lynnfield in the final quarter.

Coach Bakopolus: “We’re not at the level to compete with them yet.  Every mistake we made they capitalized on.  There’s a reason why they’re one of the top teams in the area.”

Matt Welch: “We had good defense and rebounding.  We have good chemistry with each other.”

Coach Comeau: “I’ve been on both sides of games like this.  Lynnfield worked real hard.  They have a group of good kids.  I think they were missing five kids with Covid.”

Lain McCarthy in the lane

Coach Bakopolus: “Our kids didn’t stop fighting.  We’re dealing with some stuff, but I think every team is.  You have to power through it.”

Lynnfield was 4-6 last season and defeated Amesbury, 75-67.

Lynnfield’s win this year was over Rockport on January 4th.

Amesbury   25   13   23   13   =   74

Lynnfield      8    17   12   20   =   57

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Amesbury box
Lynnfield box
Rocco Kokinacis down the lane
Zach Pincus (20) blocks a pass
Amesbury student section gets involved
Matt Heidt drives
Trevor Kimball
Gavin Deluties goes behind his back to get to the basket
Mekhi Peters tries to get past Henry O’Neill
Ball on the floor
Cam Keliher looks to pass
Steven Dreher guarded by Henry O’Neill

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Triton holds off Lynnfield 52-45

Plenty of exciting action in this game

(Pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)

Bella George (13 points) covers Kendall Liebert (22 points)

(Byfield MA) “It was a great game, back and forth,” said Lynnfield coach Sue Breen afterwards.

A tie after the first quarter was followed by both teams having a lead in the second quarter.  Triton had a tenuous one-point lead going into the final quarter.

In the final quarter, however, the Vikings (5-3) early on combined an effective zone defense with some unanswered offense to take a seven-point lead. Triton never trailed thereafter and secured a, 52-45, win over (1-4) Lynnfield on Sunday afternoon.

Molly Kimball was one of four seniors honored today

The win was special for Triton.  “It was Senior Day, and you always like to get a W on that day,” said Vikings coach Bryon Shields post-game.

Sophomore Kendall Liebert had another big game for the Vikings with twenty-two points.  Seven of Kendall’s points were in the final quarter when this game was decided.

When Kendall wasn’t making layups, she was getting contact on the way in. Kendall was an excellent 10-for-12 from the line.

Junior Bella George paced the Pioneers with thirteen points.

Bella George drives

“Bella George is awesome,” said Coach Breen. “Really steady.”

Bella helped the visitors get to a, 22-15, advantage four minutes into the second quarter.

Triton had answers.  Three’s from seniors Molly Kimball and Maeve Heffernan, as well as a layup by Maeve set up by Isabelle Basile put the home team in front, 25-24.

The Vikings had a 30-26 lead at halftime and a one-point lead (35-34) at the end of three periods.

This one had “tight finish” written all over it.

Kendall Liebert to the basket

But something changed. Triton switched to a zone defense.

“We went into it (zone defense) coming out of the third quarter,” recalled Coach Shields.  “They had trouble making shots against it and so we stayed with it.”

For two minutes the Vikings shut out the Pioneers. “Our zone defense is one of our strongest defenses,” said Maeve Heffernan afterwards.

A three by Molly Kimball (six points) and a successful drive by Kendall Liebert put consecutive points together and Triton was ahead, 41-34, with six minutes to go.

Taylor Valiton guards Liv Kiricoples

There was plenty of time left for Lynnfield to get back into it and they started to score consistently as Bella George heated up again. But on this afternoon, Triton responded with their own points. One time it was a Brianna Welch rebound basket.  Another time it was a Lia Hatheway three.  Kendall added two assisted layups.  The Vikings came away with a 52-45 win.

“We had trouble when they went zone,” said Coach Breen.  “You have to put the ball in the basket.  It’s an easy game when you can do that.”

Rebound battle

Coach Shields: “It was a dog fight.  The difference was our intensity on the defensive end late in the game and our rebounding.”

Maeve Heffernan: “It was a hard-fought game.  We’re not a team that gives up.  We kept working hard.”

Coach Breen: “We competed the whole game.  I think that it was the best game we’ve played so far.”

The 12:30PM start made for some interesting lighting. 

Coach Bryan Shields

Coach Breen coached Lynnfield from 1994-99 before switching to North Andover from 2000-2013. 

The Pioneers broke a three-game losing streak with a win over Collegiate Charter School (Lowell) on January 4th.

The Vikings were 2-8 last season ending with eight straight losses.  One of those losses was to Lynnfield, 54-20. 

The two teams will meet again at Lynnfield on January 21st.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Lynnfield box
Triton box
Isabella Basile
Kendall Liebert on a break
Bella George
Ava Gamache on the floor for Lynnfield
Maeve Heffernan looks to pass
Kendall Liebert (22) up for a block attempt
Maggie Ozanian (8 points) in for a layup
Ball on the floor
Taylor Valiton shoots over Paige Leavitt
Jaelynn Moon guarded by Riley Bell
Triton pressure
Rebound battle

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Undefeated Newburyport (6-0) downs North Reading 45-29

Brianne Slattery chased by Olivia McDonald
Deirdre McElhinney (12 points)

(Newburyport MA) Things haven’t gone perfectly for the Newburyport girls’ basketball team.

Tonight was another one of those nights.

“The game was frustrating,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “We didn’t execute very well, and we missed a ton of shots early.”

But despite the imperfections the Clippers are perfect where it counts the most; wins and losses.

Newburyport (6-0) defeated North Reading, 45-29 in Cape Ann League action.

Emma Foley (15 points) led all scorers

Good luck to the teams in the Cape Ann League when Newburyport plays really well!

“She (Coach Karen Grutchfield) has a great team here,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “They play with a level of execution that it takes to win.”

It didn’t start out that way tonight as the Clippers trailed after three minutes, 4-2, and called a timeout.

Not sure what was said in the timeout but the next two minutes of playing time were a showcase for recently returned Deirdre McElhinney. Deirdre had missed several games with Covid.

Faith Newton covered by MaKenna Ward

The talented junior knocked down consecutive three’s and put in a fancy layup after a feed from MaKenna Ward.

Suddenly it’s the Clippers up, 10-4, and their lead would grow from there.

“It’s good to be back,” said Deirdre (12 points).  “I’m feeling much better than I did last week.”

The Hornets (1-5) then sealed their fate by slipping into a nightmarish second quarter getting only three points.

The Clippers pressure the Hornets

“We struggle to score especially when we play really good teams that dig in and play defense,” said NR coach Bob Romeo.

The Hornets, led by Brianne Slattery and Faith Newton, were able to get to the basket but had trouble finishing.  When the Hornets were fouled, they struggled at the line.

“Our foul shooting (1-for-8 in the second quarter) was not good,” admitted Coach Romeo.  “If you can’t make free throws and layups it’s going to be a long game.”

The Hornets struggled from the line

Newburyport led, 25-9, at the half and extended that lead to twenty points (35-15) in the third quarter.

Emma Foley (15 points) got hot from the right baseline collecting eight points in the third quarter.

North Reading played an active zone defense for the entire game.  Newburyport featured man-to-man almost all the way.

“Anna Seidel did a good job on #15 (Faith Newton),” said Coach Grutchfield post-game.  “I thought she made a difference.”

The Hornets surround Emma Foley

North Reading kept Newburyport out of the 50’s for the first time this season.

“They (North Reading) showed that we didn’t run our zone offense very effectively,” said Coach Grutchfield.

The Clippers usually passed into open looks but shot inconsistently from the openings.

“It was good to play against a zone,” said Deirdre.  “We were able to work for shots outside and hit our posts when they came out after us.” 

Ball loose on the floor

Coach Romeo liked the way his team attacked the basket.  “We were getting to the rim against a very good defensive team.  That’s a positive.”

Coach Grutchfield: “It’s fabulous to have Deirdre back.  She’s fun to watch.  She’s such a smart player.  But I do want her to shoot more.”

The two teams will match up again on January 21st at North Reading.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Newburyport box
North Reading box
Sydney Turner drives
Deirdre McElhinney passes to Brela Pavao (13)
Deirdre McElhinney tries to get to the basket
Anna Seidel
MaKenna Ward
Riley Cullen in for a shot
Faith Newton
Lilly Papatola and Sami Patch
Sydney Turner covers Brianne Slattery
Emma Foley in the lane

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Amesbury downs Triton 70-51

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Cam Keliher (20 points) chased by several Vikings
Nick Marden

(Byfield MA) Amesbury got double/doubles from Cam Keliher and Nick Marden tonight.

That was more than enough to defeat Triton, 70-51, in Cape Ann League action.

This game was close for a half, with the Indians only slightly ahead (29-28) at the intermission.

The Indians (3-2) dominated the second half.

“The kids battled the entire game,” said Amesbury coach Tom Comeau afterwards.

Griff Dupuis had four 3’s for Triton

“We wanted to spread them out and battle inside,” Coach Comeau added.  “They’re a big physical team.”

Nick Marden (11 points/13 rebounds) was impressive for Amesbury.  “He’s a beast inside,” said Coach Comeau.

Endicott commit Cam Keliher (20 points/10 rebounds) handled the ball well and registered eight points in the final quarter as the Indians built their lead.

In the third quarter it was Matt Welch (18 points) getting nine of those points as Amesbury put a lead together.

“Matt continues to go to the basket and cause havoc inside,” said Coach Comeau.

Matt Welch

“I thought we started out good in the first half but the game got away from us in the second half,” explained Triton’s Dylan Wilkinson post-game.  “We did our best.  Cam (Keliher) is a tough one to guard.”

Cam said afterwards that the team came into the game confident.  “We had beaten Georgetown before the break.  We knew it would be tough here.  We hadn’t beaten them here in something like ten years.”

Ethan Tate tries for a block

The keys to the win according to Cam were “we pushed the ball and played good defense.”

The Amesbury rebounding impressed Triton coach Ted Schruender.  “Amesbury killed us in rebounding,” he said.  “We also lost our composure in the second half.”

“Our pressure helped wear them down in the second half,” said Coach Comeau. 

I was impressed with the way Amesbury shared the ball.  “These kids have played together for a long time,” said Coach Comeau.  “They trust each other.”

Cam Keliher chased by Vikings

Coach Schruender: “Cam is a great player.  He’s also a classy, classy kid.”

Griff Dupuis and Quintin McHale led Triton with fourteen points each.  Griff connected four times from long range.

Dylan Wilkinson made three 3’s and reached eleven points for the (2-3) Vikings.

Dylan told me that he plans to go to college and hopes to walk-on for a chance to play basketball.

Amesbury  18  11  22  21  =  70

Triton         10  18  15    8  =  51

The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.

Triton box
Amesbury box
Jake Harring and Jared Leonard
Luke O’Leary rebounds
Matt Heidt and Ethan Tate
Cam Keliher guards Dylan Wilkinson
Quintin McHale (14 points) in close
Cam Keliher
Ethan Tate
Dylan Wilkinson guarded by Jake Hallinan
Triton cheerleaders
Nick Marden (33) had thirteen rebounds
Max LaPointe
Andy Daileanes
Scramble on the floor

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St. Mary’s defeats St. John’s 52-42

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St. Mary’s pressures St. John’s
Omri Merryman (10 points)

(Danvers MA) St. John’s Prep didn’t have the firepower to stay with St. Mary’s for an entire game.

When the (6-1) Spartans put baskets together in the second half the Eagles didn’t have answers and fell, 52-42, on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles led at halftime (18-17).

In the second half, St. Mary’s finished well inside while defending the home team into a low percentage outside game.

Kyle Webster (nine points)

Senior Kyle Webster was St. John’s top scorer with nine points.

The Spartans’ David Brown was very effective on both ends of the court.  David had eleven points with five assists plus seven rebounds and five steals.

David also had a crowd-pleasing dunk in the first half and a block in the final quarter. 

The Prep’s Jack Perry looked to be in free for a layup but hustling David caught up and got the exciting block.

David Brown (right) about to block Jack Perry’s shot
Mike O’Brien set to block

Derick Coulanges led St. Mary’s with thirteen points, all in the first three quarters.

Omri Merryman added ten points with seven boards.

Senior Henri Miraka finished with nine points including a dagger three in the final minute to seal the deal for St. Mary’s.

The Eagles’ defense was solid, but they didn’t have the points.  The Eagles graduated forty-two points per game in scoring and lost their best passer as well.  They’ll need to find some answers, but there is time.

Ali Barry was St. Mary’s top scorer last year averaging fourteen points per game.  Today he was limited to one point and few shots.

St. Mary’s is D3 and in the Catholic Central League.

St. John’s is D1 and in the Catholic Conference.

St. Mary’s   6   11   18   17   =   52

St. John’s  11    7    10   14   =   42

(The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

St. Mary’s box
St. John’s box
Eyeing a rebound
David Brown guarded by Steph Patrick
Jack Angelopolus
Steph Patrick
David Brown
Ryan Fraher
Ali Barry (4) and Kyle Webster (42)
Henri Miraka (nine points and six rebounds)
Rebound battle
Nathan Hendriks surrounded
David Brown (2) guarded in the lane
Ali Barry
Mike O’Brien surrounded
St. John’s coach John Dullea
Jack Perry (seven points)
David Brown (2) and Kyle Webster (42)

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