Newburyport rallies to defeat Dracut 67-57 in D3 North First Round

Parker McLaren (23 points) in the lane

Adrian Torres (10 points) for Dracut

(Newburyport MA) “I was getting flashbacks from last year in the first half,” said Newburyport coach Dave Clay afterwards.

And he probably wasn’t the only one.

Dracut, last year, came to Newburyport and stunned the higher seeded Clippers. The Middies would go on to stun a few other teams and win the Division 3 North title.

But that was last year. This time around, the Clippers turned things around offensively and defensively in the second half and defeated Dracut, 67-57, on Monday night in a D3 North First Round game.

Parker McLaren (23 points) and Jake Robertson (21 points) led Newburyport.

Jake Robertson (21 points)

Tyler Guerriero (19 points) and JC Santiago (14 points) paced Dracut.

The Clippers (16-5) were in front early, 12-6, and then fell apart defensively. The Middies whacked Newburyport with a 25-point second quarter and were in front, 35-29, at halftime.

“The tone at halftime was that we had to be the tougher team in the second half,” said Jake Robertson.

“We needed more effort defensively,” said Coach Clay. “We needed to help earlier and be tougher with our on-ball defense.”

The Clippers may have been doing those things to start the second half but for four minutes the scoreboard told a different story.

Tyler Guerriero (19 points)

Dracut was up, 45-38, with four minutes to play in the third quarter. The Middies were making tough shots against the taller Clippers.

Was Newburyport on its way to another shocking loss to Dracut?

Not tonight.

The #3 seed Clippers overwhelmed Dracut (8-14) on both ends of the court for the next 5 ½ minutes of playing time.

The tightened NHS defense didn’t allow a single point while the offense rolled up an unstopped fourteen straight points.

That 45-38 score turned into 52-45 one minute into the final quarter.

Parker McLaren and Jake Robertson each had 3’s during the scoring surge. There were also two well-run backdoor cuts that led to layups for Jack Fehlner and Trevor Ward.

Coach Brian Myers watches Adrian Torres and Jack Fehlner

Jack Fehlner did a nice job defending sophomore Adrian Torres. Adrian (10 points) was the one last year who nailed the game-deciding three in the last minute.

“Coach (Clay) told me to stay in front of him,” explained Jack. “He a great player. Very shifty. I just held my ground on defense.”

Adrian had four 3’s last year but none this time around. Jack added ten points tonight including seven in the comebacking third quarter.

The Middies were still within striking range (54-50) with 4 ½ minutes to play. Then junior Jake Robertson took over.

The next nine Newburyport points came from Jake hitting a three, finishing twice at the rim, and making two free throws.

“Jake is not one-dimensional,” said Coach Clay.

“In the second half, guys did a good job of pushing the ball up the court and I got some easy looks because of it,” explained Jake.

Parker McLaren to the hoop

“He (Jake) came up super clutch in the fourth quarter,” said Parker McLaren. “We were able to get out and run and he was found open on the wing. We know he’s going to knock those down every time.”

Jake’s run of nine points boosted the Clippers advantage to, 63-52, with two minutes left. Dracut didn’t have the time, or long-range shooting, to duplicate last year’s finish.

“We guarded for the first half,” said Dracut coach Brian Myers. “In the second half we got away from it. That’s been us all year. We haven’t been able to guard a unit for an entire game.”

It certainly helped the Clippers to have Parker McLaren stay out of foul trouble.

“It was a focus of mine going in,” said Parker. “I knew that they were going to attack me and try to get me into foul trouble. As it turned out, I had fouls I could use in the second half.”

“Parker is a physical presence,” said Coach Clay. “He’s huge. They did a good job of collapsing on him and taking away his driving angle. He hit some three’s to stretch out the defense.”

Scramble in the corner

Coach Myers: “Newburyport played with a greater sense of urgency in the 3rd and 4th quarters. They are a good team. They get the right guys the ball. You help a little bit and they make you pay.”

Jake Robertson: “It kind of felt like that Dracut game last year in the first half. We needed to play better help defense.”

Last year against Dracut the Clippers missed fifteen free throws. “We tried as a team to learn from our mistake of missing free throws,” added Coach Clay. “The team spent a lot of time in the off-season practicing pressure free throws.”

Parker was sure that his brother Casey, who was in the crowd, enjoyed the win over Dracut. “They ended his career last year.”

The Middies lost nine of the last eleven games.

The Clippers have now won six of seven games. They play again at home on Wednesday night.

The Middies play in the Merrimack Valley Conference.

Newburyport box

Dracut box

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

Adrian Torres

Farai Zuvaradoka

Jack Fehlner tries to get off a shot

Jake Robertson ended the first at the foul line

JC Santiago (14 points)

Loose ball coming my way

Max Gagnon

Parker McLaren rebounds

Ronan Brown on the move

Tyler Guerriero

 

 

 

 

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New Hampshire strong down the stretch in 56-53 win over Albany

Amanda Torres hit two free throws in the closing seconds for UNH

Helene Haegerstrand (15 points) guarded by Ashley Storey

(Durham NH) Albany went turnover, turnover, and missed three in the closing minute and it cost them.

New Hampshire took advantage and registered a, 56-53, American East Conference victory on Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats (10-16) have now won three straight.

“It was a great win on Senior Day,” said UNH coach Maureen Magarity afterwards.

Albany coach Colleen Mullen’s team has now lost three in a row, but her eyes are on the big picture: “Although we didn’t win, we were better than the last two game. No one is getting an at-large this year so the (American East Conference) playoffs ahead are crucial.”

New Hampshire has Maine (home) and Binghamton (away) on the rest of their schedule.

Helena Delaruelle had a big steal in the last minute

“It’s cooking now with three wins in a row, but we know that we have tough games ahead,” said Coach Magarity. “If we can finish in the top four, we will host a playoff game.”

Binghamton (8-6) is currently one game ahead of the Wildcats (7-7) in 4th place.

The Wildcats had a woeful second quarter (1/14 – 3 points) and trailed, 22-15 at the half.

“We focused on finishing (at halftime),” said Coach Magarity. “I told them that they work so hard and execute so well that they deserve to finish.”

The Great Danes (9-18) were without junior point guard Kyara Frames. Kyara was a preseason All-Conference selection this year as well as a third team American East All-Star last season.

Albany struggled with turnovers (22 in the game) all afternoon.

Freshman Izzy Om

“Without (Kyara) Frames it was tough on them,” said Coach Magarity. Kyara played forty minutes on Wednesday versus Binghamton but was not in uniform today.

“We knew that they didn’t have many ball-handlers so getting up into them was a huge key to our game,” explained senior Caroline Soucy. Caroline had three of UNH’s nine steals.

“Twenty-two turnovers to their six is never a good stat,” said Coach Mullen. “The two down the stretch really hurt us.”

Albany was in front, 48-41, with six minutes left. Caroline Soucy started UNH on the way back with a steal/layup and a backdoor/layup (pass from Ashley Storey). Helena Delaruelle assisted on Maggie Ahearn’s layup and suddenly the Wildcats were within one (48-47).

Amanda Torres

The Wildcats took the lead (52-51) after an Amanda Torres steal/layin.

Two free throws later (Helene Haegerstrand), Albany was ahead, but not for long. Helena Delaruelle got to the hoop and now New Hampshire was on top with 1:21 left.

The rest of the way the Great Danes had three unproductive possessions.

“We had a freshman guard (Izzy Om) in there playing thirty-six minutes,” said Coach Mullen. “They have athletic guards that put pressure on the ball.”

One of those athletic guards (Helena Delaurelle) created the second turnover of the final minute and UNH had possession, and a one-point lead, with thirty-three seconds left.

Albany was going to get the ball back with several seconds left even if New Hampshire used the entire thirty seconds.

“With two seconds left there were a lot of things we could do,” explained Coach Mullen. The Great Danes opted to defend for the thirty seconds instead of fouling.

“It was a coaching strategy,” said Coach Mullen. “I was trusting my defense to get a stop and not foul doing it.”

“You never know it that situation,” added Coach Magarity. “You can foul and put the other team on the line and know you’re going to get it back or just play really good defense.”

“We moved the ball,” said Coach Magarity. “We waited because if you go too early you give them the ball back with more time left.”

With the shot clock running down, Amanda Torres got past Khepera Stokes and drew a foul from Helene Haegerstrand.

Amanda Torres drives by Khepera Stokes

Amanda Torres drives toward Helene Haegerstrand

Amanda cashed both free throws with two seconds left to give UNH its biggest lead (three points) of the game, 56-53.

Amanda Kantzy (9 points,7 rebounds) took the Great Dane’s last shot

After a timeout, Albany got off a tying attempt (Amanda Kantzy) but it went wide.

“You can’t say enough about Amanda Torres’ toughness,” added Coach Mullen. “She was able to draw the foul at the end of the game. I wish that one of us had stood up and taken a charge on that drive, though.”

The Wildcats had won the first meeting (48-47) in January on a last-second, inbounds, lob pass to Ashley Storey by Helena Delaurelle.

UNH struggled big-time to score points in the first half. “The first half was not pretty to say the least,” said Coach Magarity.

The Great Danes, despite thirteen first-half miscues, were in front 22-15 at the half. Freshman Helene Haegerstrand contributed eleven points.

Caroline Soucy – 11 points,3 steals

“I thought that our zone affected them in the first half,” explained Coach Mullen. “We wanted to slow them down.”

“Their pressure made us feel uncomfortable even from the start of the game,” said Coach Mullen.

Ashley Storey, Amanda Torres, and Caroline Soucy each had eleven points to lead UNH. Maggie Ahearn added ten points.

Helene Haegerstrand (15 points) paced Albany. Lexi Schecter finished with ten points.

Coach Magarity: “We were much more patient in the second half. We had great production from Ivy (Gogolin) and Brooke Kane. Maggie Ahearn was a difference maker in the second half with her aggressiveness, timing, rebounding, and defense.”

Ashley Storey and Lexi Scheter

Senior Ashley Storey: “It was fun today, but we have more things to do.”

Albany is now 5-9 in the America East.

Seniors Caroline Soucy, Ashley Storey, Maggie Ahearn, and Sarah Clement were honored pregame.

Thanks to the UNH media staff, especially Doug, for taking care of me.

Box from the game

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

Ashley Storey (11 points) in for two

Ashley Storey in shot blocking position vs Kumsai Aslan

Ashley Storey up for an inbounds pass

Caroline Soucy

Albany coach Colleen Mullen

Faith Bonett covers Helena Haegerstrand

Helena Delaruelle drives

Khepera Stokes

Maggie Ahearn (10 points)

Mariah Gonzalez guards Helene Haegerstrand

Senior Sarah Clement entertains

shoeless

UNH seniors honored

UNH wins third straight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cheyenne Nessinger scores 25 points but Newburyport defeats Danvers 48-37

Sadie Vandenberg tries to deny Cheyenne Nessinger (25 points) the ball

Abby Gillingham (12 points) shoots over Maddie Montanari

(Danvers MA) Cheyenne Nessinger was awesome tonight.

But Newburyport had the balance to offset Cheyenne’s big game and downed Danvers, 48-37, in the opening round of the Gieras Memorial Games.

The Clippers will face Reading in the title game tomorrow night.

Cheyenne had twenty-five points, twelve rebounds, and five blocks to literally carry Danvers on her back.

Cheyenne seemed as surprised as anyone regarding her special night: “I can’t explain the good game. We did have a shoot-around this morning and that probably helped.”

The Clippers (12-7) broke away from a close game (21-20) late in the first half while Cheyenne was on the bench.

While the Falons (10-9) went scoreless during the final 2 ½ minutes of the half, the Clippers put up nine straight points thanks to Deidre McElhinney (15 points) and Abby Gillingham (12 points).

Deidre’s part was a three and two free throws.

Deidre McElhinney (15 points) at the free throw line

Abby’s part was a jump shot (assist Jackie Doucette) and a nice put-back seconds before the halftime buzzer sounded.

Newburyport’s halftime lead was 30-20.

The Falcons were down 40-26 in the closing seconds of the third quarter but Sabrina Auciello drilled a three to give Danvers hope as they entered the final period.

Anna Affolter and Reese Pszenny

A free throw and a layup by Cheyenne Nesseinger and a layup by Kristina Yebba started things on a positive note for the Falcons in the final period. They were within six (40-34) with four minutes left.

The home team continued to stay close (43-37) with 1 ½ minutes left after Kristina Yebba dropped in a three-pointer.

But those would be the last points Danvers would score.

Key steal by Sami Cavanaugh along with a blocked shot by Makenna Ward protected the shrinking lead and helped earn the Clippers a win.

Newburyport had nine different players score points.

The Clippers guards were able to pressure the Danvers guards enough to limit their passes inside. That made perfect sense because it seemed that every time Cheyenne had the ball inside she scored.

Makenna Ward passes

Coach Crutchfield: “We had lots of contributions off the bench. Deidre had a good game tonight. Emma Foley helped us a lot off the bench. Makenna was composed and played tough defense.”

Deidre McElhinney: “We were looking for our offense tonight. When they got within six we had stop that run and end their momentum.”

Sami Cavanaugh: “I don’t think that the Danvers girl saw me. That was why I was able to steal it. I am committed to Holy Cross. I am interested in law. I expect to play club sports.”

This two-day tournament is the result of the love Danvers coach Pat Veilleux had for his friend Ed Gieras. Pat wanted to create a memory of his friend and has succeeded nicely.

Danvers box

Newburyport box

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

Cheyenne Nessinger at the line

Cheyenne Nessinger was money in close

Deidre McElhinney defends

Deidre McElhinney in the middle of Falcons

Gabby Chisholm with the ball

Jackie Doucette gets a rebound

Jackie Doucette in a trap

Julia Vaillancourt and Anna Affolter

Sami Cavanaugh

Sami Cavanaugh and Makenna Ward reach in

Sydney Turner looks to pass

 

 

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Medfield takes Spartan Classic title 47-42 snapping Pentucket’s 17-game win streak

Camilla Silk defends for Medfield

Tourney MVP Kayla McNeil

(Lynn MA) “Beating Pentucket, I’m pretty excited about that,” said Medfield coach Mark Nickerson afterwards.

And who could blame him.

Pentucket, now 20-2, is the defending D2 state champs.

They had won seventeen straight games.

But the Warriors (17-2) held off the Sachems, 47-42, on Monday night to win the Division 2 Spartan Classic and end a long (17-games) Pentucket win streak.

This was a one-possession game (44-42) with thirty seconds left and Pentucket had the ball.

Greta Mauer crowds Tess Patry

During most of this game, Medfield’s length and their zone defense severely disrupted Pentucket shot attempts close to the basket. The Warriors were tall enough inside that they discouraged as many inside shots as they blocked.

Both Angelina Yacubacci and MacKenzie Currie put up game-tying attempts through a host of tall defenders in the closing minute but neither shot fell.

Kate Olenik & tourney MVP Kayla McNeil then combined for three free throws to give Medfield the 47-42 win.

Lillie Cumming led Medfield scorers with 13 points

Lillie Cumming (13 points) and Annie McCarthy (11 points) led the Warriors in scoring.

Angelica Hurley (15 points) and Angelina Yacubacci (12 points) paced Pentucket.

Fatigue was likely a factor in the Pentucket loss. The Sachems rely on a high-energy defense and have a short bench. Playing at that pace for two straight days is tough.

Medfield pressed early but spent most of the game in a half-court zone defense. That approach kept them out of foul trouble and required less exertion.

The Sachems had a 17-13 lead after an Angelina Yacubacci layup and one MacKenzie Currie free throw four minutes into the second period.

The next seven minutes of playing time were a complete disaster for the team from West Newbury. They didn’t score a single point while Medfield added fourteen in a row!

Angelica Hurley

Shots weren’t falling for Pentucket and there were six turnovers mixed into the unproductive minutes.

Medfield ran the last seven points of the second period and the first seven points of the third period without an answer from Pentucket. When the Sachems finally recovered, they were down by ten (27-17) 2 ½ minutes into the second half.

Lillie Cumming had a three and a rebound basket during this unanswered run of points and teammate Annie McCarthy hit a jump shot and took a Pentucket turnover in for a layup.

Being down ten in the second half is very unfamiliar territory for Pentucket but they found the energy to cut their deficit to one, 28-27, over the next three minutes.

MacKenzie Currie looks to score against Kate Olenik

It was four straight Hannah Lambert free throws and two Angelica Hurley triples that did the trick for Pentucket

Despite the impressive comeback, the Sachems could never make the big shot or get the big stop to get even with Medfield.

Pentucket was within three (39-36) with three minutes left when Kayla McNeil nailed a back-breaking triple. The shot clock was being counted down by the Warriors bench and Kayla hurriedly fired away. The shot-clock buzzer sounded as her shot got into the net and Medfield was back up by six.

Triples by Angelina Yacubacci and Angelica Hurley followed surrounding two clutch free throws by Tess Patry.

The teams went into the final minute with only two points separating them (44-42) but Medfield escaped with the win.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” recalled Coach Nickerson, “but we overcame them at the end.”

Pentucket coach John McNamara won his 300th game in the First Round win over Wilmington yesterday

Medfield is out of the very tough Tri-Valley League.

The Warriors are in the Central Division and the only place a rematch with Pentucket could happen would be in the state D2 championship game.

Medfield won the D2 title in 2013.

“We’ve been trying to prove ourselves all year long,” said Coach Nickerson. “We’re still doing it but hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

The Warriors have now won nine straight.

Pentucket had won the previous two Spartan Classics with a win over Groton-Dunstable last year and Arlington Catholic the year before.

Angelica Hurley had twenty-five points in Pentucket’s opening round win over Wilmington. She had six 3’s in that one.

Traditionally the tourney MVP comes from the team that wins the championship. Angelica added more three’s this afternoon and probably deserved the award…….but I digress.

Medfield’s only losses have been to Norwood (18-1) and Medway (17-2).

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

Medfield celebrates

Angelia Hurley fires from long range

Angelina Yacubacci at the line

Angelina Yacubacci guarded by Tess Patry

Annie McCarthy (12 points) finds an opening down the lane

Annie McCarthy looks for a pass

Arielle Cleveland tries a three

Freshman Kate Olenik shoots free throws late in the game

Kayla McNeil layup

Tess Patry eludes Greta Mauer

 

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Amesbury edges Fenway 68-63 and gets St. Mary’s in Spartan Classic final

Avery Hallinan (27 points) in for two of them

Fifty turnovers in this game – Fenway (28), Amesbury (22)

(Lynn MA) This game was hardly smooth.

Sixty-four free throws and fifty turnovers.

Whistles galore.

Amesbury rode their accurate free throw shooting (29-for-35) to a 68-63 win over Fenway in the First Round of the Division 3 Spartan Classic.

Amesbury will face St. Mary’s in the title game Monday night. It is not a reach to think that one of these two teams will be playing at the TD Garden on March 9th or 10th in the D3 state semi-final game.

Fenway has two six-footers (Janyah Gulley & Kayana Armbrister) but Janyah fouled out in the third quarter and Kayana in the fourth quarter with five minutes left.

“Their big girls getting into foul trouble certainly helped, “said Amebury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “His subs, however, did a good job of keeping them in the game.”

Alli Napoli (21 points)

This was a one-possession game (62-59) going into the last minute. Then an Alli Napoli (21 points) layup, assisted by Sadie Kermelewicz, raised the lead and Avery Hallinan (27 points) sealed the deal with four straight free throws.

Avery struggled from the floor tonight, but at the line? Wow! The sophomore made 17-of-19.

Avery also had several steals and took three charges.

“We focused on taking charges and making our free throws,” added McKenna Hallinan.

“We scored sixty-eight and we didn’t shoot well,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas. “Avery on the line was huge. Our free throw shooting saved us because our outside shots weren’t falling at all early on.”

The Panthers (11-6) got off to a terrific start.

Imani Terry (16 points) helped Fenway get off to a fast start

In the first twenty seconds, senior Imani Terry (16 points) hit a three, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and made a layup.

The next points after that were on a rebound basket by sophomore Wynter Neal (14 points).

Coach Dollas immediately went for a timeout after the 7-0 beginning. “I’ve never seen a start like that,” he said.

“That timeout settled us down,” recalled McKenna.

Amesbury (18-1) has not been behind very often, or for very long, this season but against a quality team like Fenway there was no quick recovery.

The Indians put a run of eight straight points together in the second quarter to get to within two (22-20) but D4 Fenway was still ahead (29-26) at halftime.

Janyah Gulley fouled out in the 3rd period

Amesbury got the unanswered run of eight off a successful inbounds play (Alli Napoli) and a full-court Alli drive. Avery Hallinan made two free throws and then took a steal in for a layup for the other four points.

Alli drained Amesbury’s only three, 1 ½ minutes into the second half, to tie the score at 31-31.

Shortly after the score was tied, the first of Fenway’s two tallest players (Janyah Gulley) fouled out.

Sophomore Kayana Armbrister (20 points) soars into the lane

It would have been easy at this point to think that Amesbury would take advantage but Fenway’s Kayana Armbrister (20 points) had other plans. Kayana made free throws and started the final quarter with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Fenway led, 43-40.

Amesbury then made their run to the front for good.

Free throws (Avery Hallinan), a layup (Gabby Redford) assisted by Alli Napoli, and a drive (Avery) put the Indians ahead, 46-43, with six minutes left.

A minute later, Kayana Armbrister was gone on fouls after Avery Hallinan took the charge.

The Panthers were in trouble and down, 59-51, with 2:20 left. But they weren’t out.

Consecutive three’s (Wynter Neal & Imani Terry) vaulted the team from the Boston City League to within a possession, 59-57, with 1 ½ minutes left.

Alli Napoli got a point back on a free throw before Fenway committed their 28th turnover.

McKenna Hallinan shoots a free throw

Two free throws by McKenna Hallinan were answered by two from Wynter Neal….62-59.

Amesbury tallied six points in their next three possessions while Fenway picked up four points. The Panthers had another free throw point but lost it on a lane violation.

“It cost us not having our six-footers late in the game,” said Fenway coach John Rice post-game. “You’ve got to play the game. You’ve got to do the best you can with the players you’ve got.”

Fenway was missing starter Omariah Ashley.

The Panthers have won the Boston City League three straight years.

Alli Napoli looks inside

Fenway’s 11-6 record is misleading. Three of their losses were to D1 schools.

Amesbury’s only loss was to D2 defending champs Pentucket on January 28th.

Pentucket’s coach John McNamara picked up his 300th win tonight. He’s reached that total in fifteen seasons. That’s a 20-wins-per-season pace!

Avery Hallinan: “The game was interesting. We started really, really, really bad. Then we slowed it down and got fouls on their best players which we like to do. We started to hit our shots and passed to get layups.”

Fenway box

Amesbury box

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

Wynter Neal and Avery Hallinan

Surrounded by Indians

Sophomore Kayana Armbrister

Senior Alli Napoli

McKenna Hallinan

Janaiya Printemps and McKenna Hallinan

Fenway coach John Rice

Inbounds play

Izzy Cambece

Ciara Sullivan

Alli Napoli guards senior Janyah Gulley

 

 

 

 

 

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UNH downs UMBC 56-51 with solid second half

Ashley Storey (18 points) puts the finishing touch on UNH’s win over UMBC

UNH senior Caroline Soucy (12 points) looks to pass

(Durham NH) The UNH Wildcats missed a ton of easy shots in the first half and visiting UMBC was able to hang around for a half trailing only by two.

The second half was a different story.

UNH made shots and defended well enough for the Wildcats to get a 56-51 win over the Retrievers on Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.

UNH is now 5-7 in the America East while UMBC drops to 4-8.

Despite the losing conference records both teams will make the playoffs. How? Hartford is currently winless in the conference and there are only four games left in the regular season. The rest of the season will be about positioning (getting a home game) come playoff time.

The first half today was about missed layups for the Wildcats and turnovers for the Retrievers. The negatives offset each other and there were eleven lead changes along the way.

“We came together in the locker room at halftime,” explained UNH senior Caroline Soucy post-game, “and said that this wasn’t the way it was going to go in the second half. We were going to make shots and we’d stay together. Obviously, we did it.”

UNH coach Maureen Magarity

UNH coach Maureen Magarity switched her team away from the man-to-man very quickly. “They were getting into the paint way too easily,” she said.

That move was important because on this afternoon UMBC strugged against it.

“Them changing defenses definitely affected us,” said UMBC coach Johnetta Hayes afterwards. “We didn’t adjust to it quick enough. It took us two-or-three possessions to figure it out.”

One player definitely impacted was UMBC high scorer Te’yJah Oliver. Te’yjah was limited to six points including a three off the backboard from straight away.

Te’yJah Oliver was held to six points.

“She averages eighteen and she only had six,” said Coach Hayes. “That changes the game a little bit. She wasn’t aggressive enough.”

The UNH zone had two players near Te’yjah almost every time she touched the ball. “Helen (Delaruelle) and Amanda (Torres) did a nice job against her on the perimeter,” added Coach Magarity.

Te’yjah ended up with a season low (eight) in shot attempts.

Senior Ashley Storey (18 points/7 rebounds) paced the Wildcats in both categories.

Junior Amanda Torres (15 points) and senior Caroline Soucy (12 points) also scored in double figures for UNH.

Amanda Torres (15 points) eyes the basket

“We had three players in double figures,” said Coach Magarity. “We have been stressing that we have to get better scoring balance. The magic number seems to be getting three in double figures.”

“Almost everyone contributed today,” said Ashley Storey. “We have struggled scoring. We only got fourteen in the first half on Wednesday in the loss to Vermont. We’ve been working on our offense lately rather than our defense.”

The balanced scoring was missing from UMBC. Junior Janee’a Summers (16 points) was the only Retriever to reach double figures.

“We won’t win if we don’t get at least three kids in double figures,” said Coach Hayes. “We had only one today. Our turnovers (21) held down our shot attempts.”

UMBC coach Johnetta Hayes

UNH broke away from a 27-27 tie with 1:32 left in the first half. They would score eight straight points stretching into the second half.

Freshman Helena Delaruelle had a hand in the six points that started the second half. She hit a shot in the paint and assisted on layups by Amanda Torres and sophomore Maggie Ahearn.

Helena had eight assists in the game.

An old-fashioned 3-point play helped UMBC narrow their deficit to three (35-32) with 4:37 to go in the 3rd period.

A Caroline Soucy three and an Ashley Storey layin (assist Maggie Ahearn) enabled the Wildcats to get their biggest lead (48-36) two minutes into the final quarter.

Janee’a Summers (16 points) led the UMBC scorers

UMBC did not go away. Three minutes later they had cut the UNH lead to five after jumpers by Jen Gast and Janee’a Summers and that straightaway three off the backboard by Te’yJah Oliver.

UNH had been in a lot of close games and had lost quite a few of them. Would this be another one? Not this afternoon.

“We know what it’s like to be in close games and lose them,” said Amanda Torres post-game. “We just needed to finish, and we did.”

There weren’t a lot of fouls called in the second half and that hurt the Retrievers late in the game. UMBC wanted to foul, take their chances on UNH free throws, and then make plays down the other end.

“I made some poor coaching decisions near the end,” admitted Coach Hayes. “We needed to start fouling them earlier. Too much time went off the clock. Now I’m taking three timeouts home with me.”

Jen Gast (12 rebounds)

Coach Hayes: “I thought our post players showed up today. (Jen Gast had a game-leading twelve rebounds). It was good to have Janee’a Summers back in the lineup. We just didn’t get the ball to her enough.”

Coach Magarity: “Except for Stony Brook the league is close. We’re pushing to host a playoff game. Hartford is next and they nearly beat us last time.”

Te’yJah Oliver reached 1000 points for UMBC in late December. She had twenty-six points and six rebounds in their last game against UMass Lowell.

The loss ends a two-game UMBC win streak. The win ends a 3-game slide for UNH.

Four weeks ago, UNH rallied to defeat the Retrievers, 72-63. “We were up by four going into the last quarter and lost by nine,” recalled Coach Hayes. “They crushed us on the boards.”

I was impressed with the music and enthusiasm of the UNH pep band.

Thanks to Mike, Brandon, and Dan for taking care of me at UNH. For someone usually desperate for stats before and after a game, UNH overwhelmed me (in a good way) with all the information provided.

Box from the game

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

UNH celebrates a win

Paula Rubio

Lucrezia Costa (2 blocks)

Loose ball

Helena Delaruelle breaks in with 4th quarter layup

Helena Delaruelle (8 assists)

Everybody wants it

Eryn Fisher (10) and Ashley Storey (11)

Caroline Soucy puts up a three

Caroline Soucy in close

Ashley Storey shoots a three

Ashley Storey rebounds

Maggie Ahearn blocks Janee’a Summers’ shot

Amanda Torres (3 assists, 4 steals)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket holds off Masco 44-42 after eleven lead changes

A strong final quarter by Angelina Yacubacci helped Pentucket hold off Masconomet

Mak Graves led Masco with 16 points

(West Newbury MA) Masco led by nine after one period.

Pentucket led by one at the half.

Masco led by seven after three periods.

Pentucket led by two at the end (44-42).

Back and forth it went all night long.

There were eleven lead changes with at least two in each quarter.

It was anyone’s game right down to the last shot by Mak Graves (16 points).

The Sachems (19-1) played with fire in the last eleven seconds and didn’t get burned.

Pentucket had the ball with eleven seconds left and a two-point lead.

Angelica Hurley inbounds pass attempt was intercepted by Paige Richardson.

“I was so scared to throw it too far that I didn’t throw it far enough,” explained Angelica post-game.

That put Masco in possession and very quickly Mak Graves had the ball in her talented hands and she was stepping back beyond the arc.

Mak steps back beyond the arc

“My heart stopped, I’m not going to lie,” said Anna Wyner.

“I was petrified,” said Coach McNamara. “I thought she was going to pull up and shoot a three. They had the ball in their best player’s hands and that’s scary. I was happy when she drove because a two would let us keep playing.”

“It was nerve-racking with her at the 3-point line,” said Greta Mauer, “because you don’t know what could happen.”

Angelica, who had thrown the bad pass reacted quickly. “I knew that I had to play defense (on Mak Graves) and get the ball back,” she said.

When Mak stepped back, Angelica stepped forward to discourage a 3-point attempt.

Angelica Hurley steps out to discourage a 3-point attempt

Mak chose, instead, to drive baseline. The Pentucket defense closed on her and her shot missed. Angelica was there to secure the rebound and the game ended.

Mak decides to drive

Angelica secures the final rebound as the game ends

A collective sigh of relief and disappointment followed from both sides.

Liv Fillmore (11 points) shoots over MacKenzie Currie

Senior Angelina Yacubacci carried Pentucket down the stretch after she was a foul magnet early and spent much of the game on the bench.

“When she finally got in, she was a difference maker,” said Coach McNamara.

Angelina scored all her points (eight) in the final quarter.

In that productive quarter, Angelina got to the basket three times without charging and made two free throws.

On one of her missed free throws in the last thirty seconds, she stole the ball from the rebounder (Paige Richardson) to continue the Pentucket possession.

Tonight was Masco’s last game in the Cape Ann League and they played very well.

The Chieftains (11-6) took charges on the hard-driving Sachems and made shots early.

Seven straight points (Liv Fillmore three, Mak Graves jumper and layup) had Masco ahead 13-6 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.

MacKenzie Currie (15 points) takes a shot in the lane

Pentucket recovered nicely in the second quarter. Masco was held scoreless for the first six minutes while the Sachems put a ten-point run together. An old-fashioned 3-point play by MacKenzie Currie (15 points) started Pentucket on their comeback. Senior Hannah Lambert hit a triple and a fast-break layup. Abby Dube finished the run with a jump shot assisted by Alyssa Thompson.

The Sachems held a 22-21 halftime lead.

The Chieftains limited Pentucket to only five points in the third quarter and scored the last five points to create a 34-27 advantage after three quarters. Mak Graves hit a jump shot and assisted on Liv Fillmore’s 3-pointer to account for the closing surge.

The Sachems were down seven, but Angelina Yacubacci came to their rescue. “We played as a team in the 4th quarter,” she explained. “Each of us seems to take turns getting into foul trouble. We support each other from the bench even if we can’t be on the floor.”

But Angelina was now on the floor.

After a MacKenzie Currie jumper in the lane, Angelina sent MacKenzie away on a fastbreak layin. Angelina then twice successfully drove to the basket. Masco’s lead was now gone and Pentucket was up by one (35-34) with 5 ½ minutes left.

Masco stopped the bleeding with a Mak Graves layup and retook the lead.

Arielle Cleveland layup

Back came the Sachems. Angelina assisted on an Arielle Cleveland layup and MacKenzie followed with a drive to the hoop. Those scoring plays gave Pentucket the lead for good, 39-36, with 3:40 remaining.

Masco would get within two twice in the closing minute but Pentucket made enough plays to save the win.

“Give Masco credit,” said Coach McNamara. “They fought hard.”

The Sachems have now won sixteen straight. Last loss? To Masco, 56-51, at Masco.

“We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we lost to them,” said Anna Wyner.

Angelica: “We’re excited to win on Senior Night. We knew it would be a tough game. They are a very good team. Mak Graves kept me from doing a lot of things with her defense.”

Jenna DiPietro surrounded by Sachems

Coach McNamara: “It was really nice to beat them in their last CAL game. They have lost five games in the league this year which is a testament to how strong this league is.”

I asked the four Pentucket seniors about their college plans:

Angelica: I am going to St. Joe’s. I thought at first that the campus was too small but the coach there has been very encouraging. He came to our North Reading game which was important to me. I intend to go into the nursing program.”

Angelina: Not sure exactly. Probably somewhere local like Bridgewater State, Endicott, Keene State or UMass Boston. Won’t be playing basketball. I want to go into business.”

Anna Wyner: My top two choice are UVM and UNH. I am interested in the medical field. I have an interest in being a physician’s assistant.”

Hannah Lambert: “I want to study nursing. I am looking at Fairfield and James Madison.”

Full house at Pentucket for this game and they saw a beauty!

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

Angelina Yacubacci forces a turnover

Cally McSweeney

Greta Mauer

Hannah Lambert’s layup

Mak Graves guards Angelica Hurley

Maria Lantzakis draws a charge on Anna Wyner

Paige Richardson

Pentucket seniors honored

 

 

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