(West Newbury) I didn’t see Pentucket’s 61-60 squeaker over Masconomet on December 29th at Masco. In fact, I didn’t see all of this afternoon’s rematch in which Pentucket was a 50-33 winner.
Missing some of today’s girls’ game was my mistake – I believed what I read in the Newburyport Daily News. (Masco at Pentucket 3PM)
Anyhow, I missed the first quarter and only scripted the second half. I’ll rely on Mike Grenier’s game story from the Salem News for what I missed.
This is what the quarter totals looked like:
Pentucket 16 13 12 9 = 50
Masco 9 6 4 14 = 33
Masco (7-3) put up 10 points in the last 4 ½ minutes of the game but struggled mightily to make shots before that. The tall, pesky Pentucket defense was part of their problem. The rest was just an overall inability to make shots. Credit the Sachem defense but what about Masco’s 5-for-17 from the foul line with a number of those being one-and-one’s.
The Sachems (7-1) hadn’t played in nine days (loss to North Andover) and appeared to have all sorts of defensive energy stored up. Pentucket coach John McNamara had those practice days to bring his normally effective defense back to its normally effective self. What could be tougher than facing a well-rested, heavily-drilled, Pentucket pressure defense on their court?
Masco’s Brooke Stewart had 24 points during the last meeting but this time had few openings and no easy shots and ended up with thirteen points.
Brooke (6’ junior) had plenty of company everywhere she went. Tess Nogueira gave her the same denial coverage I saw her effectively put on Newburyport’s Beth Castantini. Brooke had nothing but low percentage shots available even when she actually got the ball. In this game, she didn’t have teammates to share the scoring load and loosen up the defense she faced.
I looked at Masco playing man-to-man defense for the 3 quarters I watched. I read that in the 61-60 game Pentucket struggled against the Masco zone defense. That 16-9 start in this one may have forced Masco away from zone defenses.
The Sachems have many players capable of getting to the basket against man-to-man defenses. In a game the home team won by seventeen points, you can only imagine what the separation might have been if Pentucket had shot better than 19% (7-for-36) in the second half.
A stat comparison shows Leigh McNamara, Vicky Cahill, and Sarah Higgins totally 35 points in the one-point, first game win. Versus Masco a second time, those three total eleven points and Pentucket wins by seventeen. Point? Nicole Viselli will usually score the most points but after that the Sachem scoring weapons are varied and numerous.
Every team knows that Pentucket will attack defensively and tirelessly. Court vision and accurate passes are the two solutions but the Sachems size and hustle make those two a tough task.
Masco was clearly victimized by that defense in their fatal four-point third quarter. First seven possessions; five turnovers and three missed shots. A Brooke Stewart layup was followed by four more turnovers and two more missed shots.
Pentucket wasn’t a whole lot better with the ball either. They did get six points but they too, during this same six minute segment, had six turnovers and missed nine shots.
Maybe the sun was in their eyes. It poured in for the entire game, making one end difficult to defend on and the other one hard to see the basket or anything else. I’m guessing that the folks who scheduled an afternoon game at Pentucket failed to consider the sun factor.
Two of the top scorers in the area (Brooke Stewart and Nicole Viselli) were in the game. Nicole led all scorers with seventeen points.
I once again met the gentleman who misunderstood what I do and embarrassed himself (and me) at Newburyport. He came over to talk to someone near me. When I got a chance I asked him if he was “scouting.” He looked a bit stunned and left.
(I collect my own stats and usually check them with newspaper coverage, take my own pictures, write my own captions and draw my own conclusions. Any mistakes I make in doing so are unintentional.)