Monthly Archives: March 2010
Phoebe Prince ended her life on January 14, 2010 in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
The investigation into Phoebe Prince’s death in South Hadley (MA) should be a wake-up call to parents and grandparents of teenagers. It was to me.
I started thinking about what the kids in my life have to fall back on when family, friends, and school become troubled, and in Phoebe’s case, when they all get troubled at the same time.
I refused to buy the, “It can’t happen to my kid,” folly and ignore the issue. This line of thinking would be like living on low-lying land on Plum Island (MA) and choosing to believe that you will always be safe during storms.
“We get along well with our kids.” “They have lots of friends.” “They’re doing well in school.” Among those nine kids indicted in South Hadley, there are surely relatives who said those same things before Phoebe arrived in the summer of 2009. Who could have imagined that an apparently minor thing like one young girl moving into town could lead, in months, to everything coming unglued for a group of teenagers?
Family, friends, and school are wonderful things but not worth putting our ultimate trust in. Each comes with an uncertainty similar to that experienced by the realistic, low-lying homeowners on Plum Island.
I trust God when it comes to my ultimate security. You and your family ought to consider doing the same thing if you have not already.
As I understand it, Phoebe had no one to turn to. She did not know that God loved her. If she had, she could have felt secure in Him despite all the trouble with family, friends, and school. She would have known that God cared for her even if she believed that no one else did. That knowledge may have prevented the choice she decided to make.
The first four books of the New Testament have numerous stories of Jesus interacting with the Phoebe’s of His time. He healed, comforted, and blessed many that had troubles that seemed insurmountable. We face no trouble that He cannot help us get through in our day as well.
If you see the limitations of secular solutions then now is the time for you to try God.
How is that done? First, understand that God is perfect and you are not. Sounds obvious but some folks get hung up there. In addition, because of your lifetime of imperfections of all types (small and large), you deserve to end up separated from God. However, God loved you and sent Jesus to die (Good Friday) for the punishment you deserved because of your imperfections.
Making God your ultimate life support takes three steps: (1) admit to God that you are imperfect, (2) believe that Jesus died to cover your imperfections, and (3) give your life to God.
Do those things and you will be adding Someone to your life that will never leave you no matter what the circumstances. He will be there in the mountains of life and the valleys.
There is a story in the Bible about a foolish man and a wise man. The foolish man built his house on the sand. The wise man built his house on a rock. When the storms came, one house collapsed and the other did not.
You know that life will produce storms for you and your family. Is your ultimate security and their ultimate security in something solid enough to make it through?
Christine Miller (left) and Jen Miller-True (right) operate a softball league for women over thirty of any ability.
Two area leagues offer softball opportunities for men and women over thirty.
Skill level and most recent playing experience are not detriments to participation.
In Groveland, Dirt the Skirt Sports Corporation (name came from the movie, “A League of Their Own”) is in its second season. “We offer women over thirty the chance for some fun and exercise playing softball,” said league president Christine Higgins.
“I was an athlete in school,” said Christine, a Boston attorney, “but life had sort of gotten in the way for the last 10-15 years of continuing in sports. So I decided to organize a softball league.”
The overwhelming response to the women’s league has been a surprise. “Last year we had 100 members and this year we’re anticipating over 150 members,” said league VP Jen Miller-True. “Many women have been looking for this type of league for some time and we’re the first to provide it.”
On the other hand, the Over-30 Men’s Softball League in Ipswich is well established. “This is our 38th season,” said league secretary Peter Rockett.
The origins of organized, over-30 softball for men in Ipswich had little to do with softball or exercise. “A group of guys in Ipswich, back in the ‘70s, were looking for a way to raise money for scholarships for seniors at Ipswich High School,” Peter explained. “The idea of organizing for that purpose, around softball for over-30 men, was suggested and then begun. No one else anywhere was doing anything like this.”
The women’s league uses fields in Groveland. The league is open to players from anywhere. Games are on weekends from May-August and there are practices during the week.
The Ipswich men’s league uses fields in that town. Players must be from Ipswich or a surrounding town or work in Ipswich. Games are once a week. “The only time we get together is for doubleheaders on Sundays,” explained Peter. “Not having practices appeals to some players’ time schedules but the possibility of getting a muscle strain or worse is a real one especially early in the season.”
A common theme with both leagues is the attempt by management to keep the teams balanced. The Ipswich league, with four teams of sixteen players each, has a complete redrafting of players every two years in an attempt to keep teams even. The Dirt the Skirt League, with seven teams and possibly three more, has tryouts to evaluate players before attempting to place them on teams.
One certainty with both softball leagues is the variance in skill levels. Some players come with resumes while others, as Christine, who played softball at Revere High School, puts it, “don’t know which hand to put the glove on. We work hard to accommodate all skill levels.”
Another variable is age. “The age goes up to about sixty so far in our league,” said Jen, who was co-captain of Triton’s softball team for two years. “I still hope that I can be playing when I’m in my 50s and 60s.”
Any discussion of age with the Ipswich Over-30 league turns to Joey Rosenberger, listed on the league’s website as the League Historian/Director. “Joey goes back to the beginning of the league,” said Peter, who joined in 1995. “He’s in his mid-70s and still plays two games each Sunday at second base. He’s in great shape and loves playing and being with his friends.”
Both softball leagues have websites (www.ipswichover30.com and www.dirttheskirtsoftball.com ) where additional details and contact information is available.
Christine said, “Our motto is: Haven’t played in ten, twenty, or thirty years? Neither have we. Come out and join us and have some fun.”
(This story appeared in The Town Common on March 23, 2010.)
Lee girls pose with D3 state championship trophy after pulling away from cold-shooting Pentucket in the last quarter.
(Worcester) Defense can only take a team so far. They must light up the scoreboard to win.
Pentucket (26-1) went incredibly cold in the final quarter and it cost them as they lost the D3 state finals to Lee, 56-42, on Saturday morning at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Lee (24-1) neutralized Pentucket’s normal defensive advantages by using the same approach (pressure defense) nearly as effectively.
It was on offense that the Wildcats won the game. Although Lee was only 15-for-47 (31.9%), and most teams don’t usually win shooting 31.9%, those numbers were good enough on this day because the Sachems were just 12-for-67 (17.9%).
However, despite all the subpar shooting, Pentucket was in contention even as late as two minutes into the last quarter. Sarah Higgins nailed a jumper to bring the Sachems to within a point, 39-38, and left the outcome very much in doubt. Unfortunately, after that, Pentucket connected on just 1-of-17 shots with three air balls in the mix.
During the fatal last six minutes, Pentucket’s ability to put together consistent offense vanished and their ability to control Lee defensively took a similar route. While the Sachems struggled to score, the Wildcats put up points in ten of their last thirteen possessions (17-4 run) and had more than enough offense to win the state title.
Both teams played fullcourt defense and the exertion required executing it and reacting to it may have taken the shooting legs out from under the Sachems late. Lee, on the other hand, had foul trouble in the first half and some of their players were benched and got some extra rest because of it. That unwanted rest may have been given Lee the extra energy they played with in the late, game-deciding minutes.
Katie Eckert (15 points) chased by Emily Lane
Pentucket started the game slowly (trailed 11-4) despite forcing six turnovers in the first three minutes. Katie Eckert (15 points) tallied Lee’s first nine points with a couple of 3’s.
Behind 13-6, the Sachems rallied for seven straight into the start of the second period to tie the score with Ashley Viselli (19 points) getting the last points on a three assisted by Erin McNamara.
Pentucket’s best show of offense was late in the second quarter when they put up ten unanswered points to take a 27-21 advantage with two minutes left in the half. Ashley Viselli scored five while sister Nicole had two free throws and Sarah Higgins hit a trey.
The Sachems had a 28-24 halftime margin.
When a team (Pentucket) has won 26 straight and leads at halftime, you can’t help but expect that they are on their way to a state title. However, the Lee girls’ basketball program has more state championships (now seven) than any other athletic program in the state. They had also reached the state semifinals in seven of the last eight years. Point? This team knows something about winning.
This year’s Lee team is a team with multiple point guards and that became important in the second half. Lee ended up with only eight turnovers in the second half and, as a result, Pentucket had less success using their pressuring defense to limit an opponent’s opportunities on offense.
The Wildcats were able either to get to the basket or the foul line during the regrettable (for Pentucket) final period. Lee was 11-for-15 on free throws in the last quarter.
Tara Dooley (#22) defends Erin McNamara (#3)
Erin McNamara (4 points) faced a very good defender in Tara Dooley (9 points) but had shot attempts that we’ve seen her connect on as recently as the Archbishop Williams game (state semifinals – 28 points). Versus Lee, Erin was 0-for-6 on 3’s and 1-for-14 overall. To see how sad she was as the game slipped away had me hoping that someone got in her ear about the fact that no one player wins or loses a team game.
What a great run the Sachems had this season! A quick look at their roster would suggest that this might not be the last time I’m writing about them in an MIAA tournament connection.
( All stats are unofficial. )
Filed under Lee, Pentucket
Coach John McNamara embraces daughter Erin (28 points) in closing minutes of state semifinal win over Archbishop Williams at the TD Garden.
(Boston) Pentucket played one of those, “How can anyone beat them?” games against Archbishop Williams at the TD Banknorth Garden on Tuesday afternoon and now get to move on to the state finals in Worcester on Saturday (10:45AM).
The final score was 62-37 and that margin accurately sums up the difference between the two teams on this day.
Tess Nogueira was part of the smothering Sachem defense that kept the ball away from 6-4 Valerie Driscoll (#33)
Pentucket frustrated the Archies with a fullcourt defense that kept the D3 South champs from organizing on the offensive end. The biggest fear the Sachems had going into this one was Valerie Driscoll (Michigan bound/ 6’4”).
No defensive scheme would save the Sachems if Valerie ended up with the ball down low. So, Pentucket applied pressure and more pressure anywhere someone had the ball and limited Valerie’s touches and points (6 points).
Meanwhile, Pentucket found open shots constantly and led by Erin McNamara (28 points) and Ashley Viselli (18 points) kept the scoreboard changing in their favor.
Erin McNamara defended by Aidan Duquette
Erin’s offensive game was particularly impressive. Her 28 points came on 9-for-14 shooting, including 5-for-7 on three’s and 5-for-5 from the foul line. She also handled the ball plenty and had just one turnover.
The Archies had their only lead of the game (5-4) thanks to Kayla Papazian’s layup. The next nine points belonged to Pentucket as Erin hit a three on a pass from Holly Jakobsons, Ashley connected on four free throws and Erin assisted on a Tess Nogueira layin. This spurt put Pentucket ahead 12-5 after five minutes of the first quarter. The Sachems led 19-11 at the end of the first period.
Pentucket went through a brutal first six minutes of the second quarter – fourteen possessions/two air balls/three points. If there was ever a time for the Archies it was during these six minutes and they did get back to 22-21 with the last basket coming on a putback by Erica Knowles.
Up to this point, Valerie Driscoll had hardly been a factor and still the Archies were close. The future didn’t appear all that promising for Pentucket.
However, the last eleven points of the first half were scored by Sachems. Erin assisted Ashley on a trey. Erin spun in and used her left hand for a layup-and-one. Nicole Viselli assisted Erin on a trey and Erin ended the run with another layup. The Sachems held a 33-21 lead at halftime.
Pentucket started the second half with four empty possessions but then followed that with four productive possessions (10 points) to gain a 43-25 led after four minutes.
During this run, Erin had a three (assisted by Emily Lane) and then had a block that led to a layin. Then Erin assisted Ashley on a trey and finally Sarah Higgins assisted on an Ashley layup. This segment took the starch out of the Archies. The lead after three was 49-31.
The Sachems continued to dominate on both ends in the final quarter. The Bishops didn’t score until the 2:13 mark while Pentucket registered eleven unanswered. Halfway through this quarter, Archies coach Jim Bancroft pulled all his starters and before the game ended two entire rosters got the chance to say that they’d played on the Garden floor.
Emily Lane, Ashley Viselli, Erin McNamara, and Holly Jakobsons celebrate at the end.
Singling out scorers for commendation is easy – just look at a box score. Defenders aren’t so easy, especially with Pentucket because they come at teams from so many angles with different players. A good trap in the backcourt could lead to a pass being intercepted by another player further down the court. It is a team concept and effective enough to have gotten Pentucket to the state D3 finals.
The Sachems forced fourteen first-half turnovers and kept the ball away from Valerie Driscoll. That’s pretty good defense in anyone’s book.
AW defeated Pentucket in 2007 and 2008 on their way to the state championships. They have won the D3 South title four straight years.
Excellent defense has been the Sachem standard all season. When their offense gets rolling, as it did versus AW, they are very difficult to deal with. One more win will confirm, as some of us suspect, that they’re the best team in all of D3.
(All stats are unofficial.)
Meredith Kelly (19 points) defends Lizzy Ball (14 points) in the key matchup of the game.
(Boston) Meredith Kelly led Cohasset (25-0) to the Division 4 title on Tuesday afternoon at the TD Garden as the Skippers defeated Manchester-Essex (13-13), 50-40.
Meredith led all scorers with nineteen points but that was only half the story. The defensive job she did on ME’s main scoring threat, Lizzy Ball, was the game decider.
Lizzy ended up with fourteen points but they’ll be the hardest points she’s ever gotten. She made six free throws (6-for-8) but only 3-of-18 from the floor and nothing (0-for-3) from long range. Credit Meredith and the Skipper help defense, which stepped in when Lizzy broke free.
The final score in this one is misleading. The Hornets were very much in contention (trailing only 15-14) with 5 ½ minutes left in the first half. Julia Martz (11 points) had eight of those points in what looked like anyone’s game.
However, ME’s chances slipped through the cracks over the next 7 ½ minutes of playing time, stretching into the second half. The Hornets came up pointless in the next fourteen possessions while the Skippers produced twelve points over the same span.
Seven turnovers by the Hornets during that scoreless segment were the chief contributors to the resulting 27-14 deficit 2 ½ minutes into the second half. ME would carry that double-digit deficit for the rest of the game.
Undefeated Cohasset (25-0) poses with D4 championship trophy
Cohasset had the senior leadership with the lead to be patient on offense and used the clock. They settled for high percentage shots (their last six baskets were layups) and prevented ME from getting into any kind of comeback rush.
The final score is also misleading since ME scored the last seven points of the game over the last three minutes after Cohasset had turned things over to its reserves.
I saw St. Mary’s of Lynn defend Pentucket star Erin McNamara out of her normal game in the D3 North tournament (held to 9 points after averaging 20) but have teammates pick up the slack and carry the Sachems to victory. Lizzy Ball faced the same defensive situation versus Cohasset, but on this day, the talented junior found teammate help wanting.
Samantha Christopher, Alicia Volpe, and Lizzy Ball watch the closing seconds from the bench
( All stats are unofficial. )
(Beverly) I took in the Class C and Class B finals in the NEPSAC boys’ tournament at Endicott on Sunday afternoon.
The athleticism and action of these prep stars is always a treat. Hardcore fans know that warm-ups will usually produce highlight-reel dunking shows.
Stars of the future take part. A few years ago, Andray Blache was on hand for South Kent.
Jaymie Spears – The former Georgetown High player, now with St. Mark’s School had a long afternoon in the Class C finals against Lawrence Academy
I went to see Jaymie Spears, formerly of Georgetown High School. I was pleased to see that not only was he on the St. Mark’s Lions roster but he was also a starter.
Once the game started, however, the former MVP of the Cape Ann League as a sophomore, had a nightmare game.
The Lions lost 55-43 and struggled against the spirited defense of undersized Lawrence Academy. Jaymie got into trouble early with three turnovers that led to a couple of baskets.
The third turnover raised the frustration level of Coach Dave Lubick because Jaymie tried to go behind his back down the lane, was stripped and LA got a layup.
Jaymie had a steal and a rebound in the second ten minutesof the first half but missed two free throws, a trey, and a jumper from the left. However, St. Mark’s trailed just 22-20 at the half.
The second half didn’t go well either. Jaymie had good looks at a couple of three’s in the first five minutes and missed, getting pulled immediately after the second miss. He had a couple of more looks at three’s later in the game and reluctantly shot them and missed both. He did make two free throws in the last minute.
Therefore, he ended up with an unimpressive 0-for-6 shooting and three turnovers. However, he’s a sophomore at St. Mark’s and getting a chance to play with top-flight players. One of the seniors has a scholarship to Georgetown.
Shabazz Napier (#10) of Lawrence Academy hangs in for a layup versus St. Mark’s
The dazzler for St. Lawrence (29-0) was Shabazz Napier. This guard is listed as a junior and I can assure you that D1 colleges know all about him. He’s a great defender with speed to get open anywhere he wanted to. His passing was noteworthy as well. He was the MVP of the tourney.
I also saw Tilton School avenge an earlier loss to Marianapolis Prep School (Thompson CT) with a 69-61 win.
Tilton took control early and had depth that was amazing. They started great players, went to the bench, and brought in more great players. They put on an eye-catching pregame show with a freshman named Goodluck Okonoboh (6’7”) and a junior (Ryan Canty) displaying a variety of jams.
Ryan (6’9”) was a dominating presence. He is not only tall but also big and strong. Marianapolis had no one who could deal with him. During the game he did take a very hard fall on a breakaway when one of the Marianapolis players clobbered him to the ground. No foul was called and Ryan got up and played on.
Gerald Coleman (20 points) of Tilton is heading for Providence and it won’t take him long to get there with his speed! This was another player with all the ingredients to be great – shooter, quick, defender, and passer.
Gerald was the MVP of the Class B tournament.