Monthly Archives: February 2012

Strong finish gets Georgetown girls past Whittier (70-65) in the D4 North First Round

Christina Medley (27 points) and Kristin Hogan (23 points) were the scoring stars for Whittier and Georgetown

Royal celebration afterwards

(Haverhill) Plenty of excitement in this one.

After nine lead changes it was Georgetown breaking away in the last 2 ½ minutes to defeat Whittier, 70-65, in the first round of the D4 North tournament on Tuesday night at Whittier.

Neither team was shy about firing the long ones – there were eighteen 3’s made during the game – but the Royals won this one late from inside the arc.

A jumper from Ali Newbury (her first shot) put G’Town ahead 65-63.  After a Whittier turnover, Kristin Hogan hit a driving layup from the left.  Christina Medley answered with two free throws with 33 seconds left to cut the Royal lead to 67-65.

Kristin Hogan seals the win with free throws

Ten seconds later Marisa Agganis hit one of two free throws to extend Georgetown’s lead to 68-65 with twenty-three seconds to go.  Whittier was still within one-possession range but Christina Medley missed a long three. After a Wildcat rebound and timeout Kendra Brasil was called for a double dribble.  Kristin Hogan then put the game out of reach with two free throws.

Christina Medley (27 points) and Kristin Hogan (23 points) took every open shot that came their way and made plenty of them.  Christina has scored over 1000 points for Whittier.  In this one she hit five long ones and put up eighteen points in the back-and-forth second half.  Kristin connected on four 3’s and tallied fourteen in the second half.  In one sequence in the 4th quarter Kristin made a jump shot and almost immediately stole the inbounds pass and put in a layup.  It was about the fastest four points you’ll ever see.

After an even first quarter (15-15) the Wildcats built up a ten-point lead (30-20) with Christina contributing a layup, a converted rebound and two free throws.  Whittier was ahead, 32-24, at the half.

Whittier was still in good shape (38-31) after two minutes of the third quarter before Marisa Agganis and the Royal defense kicked in.  Marisa hit a three and then three straight Wildcat turnovers led to Royal scores, two by Marisa and one by Kylie Troy.  Suddenly, G’town had the lead (40-38) halfway through the third period.

Christina Medley heavily guarded as GHS coach Dave Tucker watches

Christina Medley had answers.  She hit a jump shot, nailed a three (from Kendra Brasil) and set Kendra up for a long one.  That was an eight-point run to now give Whittier the advantage, 46-40.

Georgetown capitalized on another Whittier turnover (they had twenty-two) very late in the 3rd quarter that gave Marisa a layup with two seconds left.  Whittier led, 50-46, at the end of the quarter.

Kristin’s quick four points put Georgetown in front, 56-55, with 5 ½ to play.  A Morgan Gott triple boosted the advantage to 62-58 with four to play.  But back came Whittier on a three by Christina and two free throws from Catherine Roache to tie the game 63-63 with 2 ½ minutes left.  The Royals made the big plays thereafter and came away with the tournament win.

Marisa Agganis (left) steal

Marisa Agganis was a Cape Ann League All-Star this season.  She showed why in the second half of this game with fifteen points and numerous steals.  She also took a pretty hard foul late in the game.

Kristin Hogan injured fingers on her shooting hand early in the third quarter.  She was out of the game for a while.  The rest may have helped her as she scored Georgetown’s first ten points in the final quarter in the first 2 ½ minutes.

Christina Medley made plenty of 3’s in pregame and continued the accuracy in the game itself.

Whittier staged a pregame light show.  I thought I was at the TD North Garden…..well, not quite.

Georgetown plays #3 seed Fenway on Friday night at Burke High School in the D3 North quarter-finals.

Georgetown boxscore

Whittier boxscore

(The pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

pregame show

Morgan Gott (15 points)

Taylor Nelson

Andrea Terranova

Samnell Vonleh

Christina Medley

Kendra Brasil (15 points)

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Second half turnaround sends Salem past Malden Catholic 73-68 in D2 North boys tournament action

Marvin Baez (25 points) had four triples in the last quarter.

Jered Lewis (20 points) had eighteen in the first half

(Salem) Salem ousted Malden Catholic 73-68 in the preliminary round of the D2 North with as dramatic a second-half turnaround as you’ll ever see.

The Witches (10-11) trailed by twelve (34-22) at the half and didn’t look capable of hitting enough shots to make things interesting in the second half.

But right off the bat in the second half the shots started falling and they never stopped as Salem dropped an amazing fifty-one points on the visitors. The full-half burst of scoring gave the Witches more opportunities to pressure the Lancers, and it also gave the Salem crowd lots of plays to get excited about.

A ten-point run got the deficit down to a manageable level by the end of the third quarter (47-46) and Salem took the lead for good (57-54) with 5:11 left in the game.

Marvin Baez (25 points) hit more big shots in the final quarter than most players will make in a season.  The Salem junior tallied fourteen points with four 3’s and a layup off of a steal in a display that the Witch fans will be talking about for a while.

Marvin gave Salem its first lead (49-47) on his first long one of the final quarter.  About 2 ½ minutes later his three with an assist from Christian Dunston gave the Witches the 57-54 lead they would carry to the end.

Christian Dunston (22 points) made six free throws in last minute

Marvin’s last three put Salem in front 67-60 with 2:21 left.  Christian Dunston (22 points) collected six points out of three pressure-packed one-and-one’s to keep Malden Catholic (9-12) from getting within one possession of the lead the rest of the way.

Jered Lewis (20 points) had an awesome first half for MC.  The 6-2 senior knocked down 3’s and converted rebounds to the tune of eighteen first half points.  The Witches appeared to have no answers for him.

Jered was limited to two points in the second half and really struggled with leg problems throughout that half.  Minus his scoring in the second half, the Lancers hit several droughts that let Salem back into the game.

The best run of offense for MC in the second half was after Salem put up eight straight to take a 52-47 led a minute into the 4th quarter.  With a loud Salem crowd all over them, it would have been expected that MC would fall further behind. Instead they rallied for seven straight of their own and got the lead back, 54-52.

A John Mastascusa (12 points) layup, two Kyle Sangster (17 points) free throws, and a Chris Philpot (14 points) long one provided the Lancer points in this surge.

But Salem would regain the lead and never, after Jared Louf-Woods converted rebound with four minutes left, enable MC to have the ball and a chance to tie the score the rest of the way.

The talk will be of the big scoring nights of Marvin Baez and Christian Dunston but Emilio Beato’s fifteen points were significant too.

Chris Philpot (14 points) shoots a three from in front of the Salem crowd

Chris Philpot had four 3’s for Malden Catholic.

Turnovers were costly for the Lancers.  They had nineteen through three quarters.  That first half lead (thirteen points) could have been much higher with better care of the ball.  The turnovers in the 3rd period were of the very costly variety where Salem had breakaway layups from them.

Salem (#16 seed) gets to play #1 seed North Andover on Thursday night (7PM) at Lawrence High School.  The NA coach just “happened” to be at the game tonight.

Salem boxscore

Malden Catholic boxscore

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

scramble under the basket

Marvin Baez

Emilio Beato (15 points) shoots in traffic

Jered Lewis

Jordan Lewis pressured

Salem cheerleaders

Kyle Sangster (17 points) shoots over Billy Muse

John Mastascusa (12 points) up for a block

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2012 MIAA Basketball Tournament……some of the qualifying North boy/girl teams and pictures of their key players

This is a collection of pictures I’ve taken during the 2011-12 Massachusetts High School basketball (girls/boys) regular season of players who will be active in the MIAA North Division of the post-season tournament.

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

Brigid OFlynn (Ipswich)

Aly Leahy (Newburyport)

Beth Castantini (Newburyport)

Tess Nogueira (Pentucket)

Coley Viselli (Pentucket)

Alex Moore (Pentucket)

Masey Zegarowski (Ipswich)

Natalie Soliozy (Ipswich)

Emily Freedland (Marblehead)

Lindsey Cohen (Marblehead)

Leah Chittick (North Andover)

Morgan Lumb (North Andover)

Steve Carangelo (Lynnfield)

Kevin Gamble (Lynnfield)

Lucas Hammel (Central Catholic)

Joel Berroa (Central Catholic)

Kyle Fox (East Boston)

Will March (East Boston)

Freddy Shove (St. Johns Prep)

Steve Haladyna (St. Johns Prep)

Mike Carbone (St.Johns Prep)

Justin Reyes (Whittier)

Ryan Grant (Whittier)

Brett Fontaine (Newburyport)

Ian Michaels (Newburyport)

Will Angelini (Pentucket)

Corey McNamara (Pentucket)

Stephen Tam (Hamilton-Wenham)

Ryan Beckett (Hamilton-Wenham)

Nicole Boudreau (Andover)

Ally Fazio (Andover)

Chelsea Nason (Masconomet)

Brooke Stewart (Masconomet)

Shannon Hayes (Billerica)

Joslyn King (Billerica)

Michaela Maguire (Revere)

Any Rotger (Revere)

Maya Heath (Manchester-Essex)

Morgan Fraley (Manchester-Essex)

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Winnacunnet wins with surprising ease (62-31) over Merrimack in boys basketball

High scorer Quinn Parker lines up one of his seventeen points

(Hampton NH) If the win/loss records had been reversed, this one would have made sense……but there was 5-10 Winnacunnet beating the daylights out of 11-4 Merrimack, 62-31, on a rainy Friday night.

Jackson King and Dimitri Floras watch from the sidelines

Granted the Tomahawks were missing two very good injured players (Dimitri Floras and Jackson King), but those two might not have been enough on this night.

The Warriors (6-10) had it going on both ends early.  They held the visitors scoreless for nearly five minutes while putting up eight points of their own to take the lead from the get-to for good, as it turned out.

Winnacunnet had layups from Rich Ruffin (6 points) and Ryan Gigliotti (11 points) plus a jump shot and a converted rebound by high scorer Quinn Parker (17 points).

Down eight points and a timeout later, the Tomahawks (11-5) finally got on the board (two Jeff Giannelli free throws) and matched the Warriors for a few minutes.  A nifty backdoor cut by Tyler Gendron (9 points) with an assist to Brad Jarry put the Merrimack deficit at 14-8.

Because Winnacunnet was carrying a six-game losing streak, my thinking was that this would be a back-and-forth contest the rest of the way.

It didn‘t turn out that way at all! The next five minutes of playing time, stretching to the 4:17 mark of the second quarter, was completely dominated by Winnacunnet.  And similar to the start,  the damage to the Tomahawks was on both ends.  They didn’t score for the 5+ minutes while the Warriors rolled up eleven straight.

The home team was really in command, by the time Tyler Gendron hit a free throw to stop the bleeding.  The Warriors lead was, 25-9, and there were still 2 ½ quarters left.

Ryan Gigliotti (11 points) hits in the lane

During the eleven unanswered, Ben Gareau (10 points) contributed a free throw while Ryan Gigliotti added a spinning layup and a free throw.  Ryan also set up Sam Knollmeyer (10 points) for a long one that ended the first quarter.  Sam added an end-to-end layup and two free throws.

As you can see, Winnacunnet was getting scoring from everywhere while Merrimack struggled to connect from even in close.  It certainly didn’t help that the Tomahawks recorded six turnovers during the lengthy scoring lapse.

The lead was 32-14 at the half, 48-26 after three periods, and 62-31 when it was over.

This was clearly a game that was won early.  Let it be noted that there wasn’t a letup in the effort by either squad despite the large lead.

Minus a shot clock, the Tomahawks had to extend their defense in an attempt to start some sort of a rally.  Here again, the team with the five wins and the six-game losing streak showed the ability to deal with double teams and full court pressure remarkably well.  Instead of getting closer, Merrimack lost more ground.

Sam Knollmeyer (10 points) finds space

Not having Dimitri Floras was huge for Merrimack.  The junior led Division 1 in scoring last season.  He is supposed to be back in March.  His scoring was badly missed by Coach Tom Goodridge and his Tomahawk team versus Winnacunnet.

Merrimack has now lost three straight.  They will host Bishop Guertin on Tuesday night.

Winnacunnet broke their six game losing stretch.  They had been 0-for-February before tonight’s win.  They host Manchester Central on Tuesday.

This was the first New Hampshire high school game I have seen.  Most of the games I cover have been in Massachusetts.  Two differences between the two states are the lack of a shot clock in NH and the fact that all the players have mouth guards in NH.

I did see, arguably, the best team in New England (Brewster Academy) defeat Tilton on Monday afternoon at Wolfeboro.

Winnacunnet boxscore

Merrimack boxscore

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

Rich Ruffin fires from the wing

Eric Gendron defended by Sam Knollmeyer

Ben Gareau defended by Tyler Gendron

Tyler Gendron (9 points) shoots

chuck-a-duck judging

young dribbler

midcourt scramble

Spencer Kennedy

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Beth Castantini Trifecta: 28 points, 1000 points, and Newburyport win (55-36) over Marblehead

(Marblehead) Beth Castantini needed eight points to get to 1000.  The Clipper senior took care of that business before the first quarter was over, then went on to get twenty more in a 55-36 Newburyport win over Marblehead on Wednesday afternoon.

Beth Castantini poses with teammates after the game

Beth Castantini with Coach Gregg Dollas and her parents

This was a nonleague game that ends the regular season for the two tournament-qualifying teams. A team needs ten wins to get in.

In this game, Newburyport (13-7) broke away from a 2-2 tie and never looked back.

Clippers celebrate 1000-point moment in a timeout

Beth’s spin inside in the opening quarter gave her the points she needed for 1000 with little over a minute left.  She followed the 1000th point basket with a jumper off a rebound and a feed to Lilly Donovan for a score before the quarter ended.  That trio of baskets put Newburyport ahead, 19-7.

A run of six by Lindsey Cohen (18 points) put some intrigue back in the game (19-13) but a Beth baseline jumper and an assist on a Lea Tomasz jump shot gave the Clippers a 27-18 advantage at halftime.

It should be noted that during that second quarter, point guard Aly Leahy rolled her ankle and didn’t return.  The Clippers will need her back when tournament play starts next week.

It should also be noted that with Aly out, the point guard the rest of the way was the versatile Beth Castantini.

Lindsey Cohen (18 points) on her way to one of her eight layups

The Magicians were still within nine (34-25) with 3 ½ to go in the third quarter.  However, they didn’t score a point over the next three minutes as Newburyport offered up nine straight.

This is how Newburyport collected the nine unanswered: Beth layup after a terrific save by Lilly Donovan of a ball going out of bounds, a Katy Bennett free throw, a converted rebound of her own miss by Mary Pettigrew, two Beth free throws, and an inbounds (pass from Molly Rowe) jump shot in the lane by Beth.

That solid offense turned the nine-point deficit into an eighteen-point deficit (43-25) and significantly lessened the  suspense in predicting the outcome.  The closest Marblehead could get the rest of the way was thirteen (47-34) midway through the last quarter.

Senior Lindsey Cohen scored well for Marblehead.  The Clippers had trouble keeping her from taking the ball to the basket – all of her points came from layups.

Beth attracts defenders

All of Beth’s twenty-eight points were made in the first three quarters.  She also had four assists.  There were no 3’s in the point collection.  The Magician defense obviously were aware of her but didn’t have a matchup or a defense to keep her from getting good looks in high percentage areas.

Marblehead (10-10) will be in Division 2 of the state tournament.  Newburyport is Division 3.

Newburyport won the first meeting (43-25) on Martin Luther King Monday.  In that game, Marblehead was missing two starters – Kathryn Digiammarino and Sydney Pliner.  The Clippers were without Molly Rowe.  Beth had twenty the first time around.

Newburyport made their two 3’s at the end of the game.  Seldom-hesitant, long-range shooter Casey Barlow made the first and seldom-looking-for-her-shot Caty Bennett had the second go in off the backboard.

I saw St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newman in the house.  Let’s see, his team (last year’s state champs) is in D3 and Newburyport is in D3.……..

Newburyport boxscore

Marblehead boxscore

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

Beth with her parents

Beth with Coach Dollas

Mary Pettigrew heads down the lane

action under the basket

Lea Tomasz shoots over Emily Freedland (7 points)

Aly Leahy

McKenna Barrett (#20) and Lindsey Cohen (#15)

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Brewster Academy continues undefeated (28-0) with a narrow 60-56 win over Tilton School

Aaron Johnson (19 points) readies himself for the front end of a one-and-one with five seconds left. He made both pressure free throws.

Georges Niang had 32 points for Tilton School.

(Wolfeboro NH) An exciting game between two prep powerhouses came down to the last minute with Brewster Academy hanging on for a 60-56 win over Tilton School on Monday afternoon.

One thing these teams don’t do often is lose.  The Bobcats are undefeated (28-0) with a game left at Bridgton Academy before heading into the NEPSAC tournament.

The Rams (24-4) have now lost three times to Brewster this season.  Once was in overtime (December 10th) and then there was this last-minute one.  Both of the tough losses were in games played at Brewster.

Georges Niang (Iowa State) nearly carried Tilton to victory.  Georges tallied thirty-two, getting sixteen in each half.  He had the ball in his hands late in the last minute trailing 58-56.  Everyone paying attention knew Georges would attempt a shot.  Aaron Thomas (Florida State) was able to deflect the 3-point shot and control the loose ball.

Later Aaron was at the foul line shooting 1-and-1 with five seconds left and a 2-point lead. The 6-4 guard hit both, sealing the game for Brewster.

6-11 point guard Nerlens Noel heads for the hoop defended by Joe Bramanti

Tilton started slowly and fell back by ten after six minutes (16-6).  With 6-11 Nerlens Noel and his 7+ blocks per game parked in the defensive lane it was shocking to see four Brewster jams (2 each by Aaron Thomas and Jalen Reynolds) among the eight Bobcat scores.

The early read was a long game in front of an overflow crowd for the visitors.  They had a sizable group of fans with them as well.  The Rams were behind, 34-27, at halftime.

The second half gave both sections of supporters plenty to cheer about as there were six lead changes.

A jumper by Nerlens Noel and three straight inside scores by Georges Niang gave Tilton its first lead, 35-34, just 3+ minutes into the second half.

The Rams would get their largest lead (52-47) with 8 ½ minutes left on four free throws and a Domonique Bull (Missouri) layup.

Brewster won the game during the next six minutes causing four turnovers and putting up eleven points.  Tilton had a tip in (Goodluck Okonoboh) but that was it.

The winning basket resulted from a steal by Joe Bramanti.  He took off for a layup which he missed but Jakarr Sampson was there for the putback to give Brewster a 58-54 lead with 2:15 left.

Tilton could only get a layup (and a missed free throw) from Nerlens Noel thereafter while Brewster had the clutch free throws from Aaron Thomas at the very end.

Aaron Thomas (19 points) was the star at the end with seven of the Bobcats last ten points.

Mitch McGary tangled in the post with Nerlens Noel

6-9 Mitch McGary (Michigan) ended with twelve points while JaKarr Sampson had eleven including nine in the second half.

6-7 Georges Niang proved that he can hit from anywhere.  The Tilton bench was begging for a timeout late in their last possession which wasn’t seen.  Maybe a timeout and some organized offense could have gotten Georges a more open last shot.

Nerlens Noel was the biggest point guard I’ve ever seen.  I suspect that having someone 6-11 at the point had everything to do with making sure he was able to get back and defend against Brewster’s fleet of speedsters ready to get out on fastbreaks.  Nerlens did have three blocks and discouraged a few penetrators from even trying a shot from in close.  He hasn’t chosen a college yet but plenty of big ones including Syracuse, Providence, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, and Louisville among others have strong interest in him.

Wayne Selden of Tilton was inactive from a high ankle sprain that has sidelined him for two weeks.

I saw Joe Bramanti play for Andover (MA) in a loss last year at Andover to Central Catholic.

Tilton will not face Brewster in the NEPSAC tourney because they are in AA.  They have won the New England title in that class in each of the past four years.  Don’t bet against them this time around either.

The crowd was huge.  I overheard a veteran Brewster school official say that they’d never seen anything like it.  And this was on a Monday afternoon (4PM)!

Brewster Academy boxscore

Tilton School boxscore

(The pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Domonique Bull (Missouri)

Mitch McGary (Michigan)

Jakarr Sampson among shot blockers

Nerlens Noel

Brewster crowd at the end of the game

Semaj Christon (Xavier)

TJ Warren (NC State)

action above the rim

Georges Niang (Iowa State)

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Pentucket defense crucial in win over Revere (50-27) in the opening round of the Girls Division of the IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic

Tess Nogueira (10 points) breaks away with second half steal.

Kelsi McNamara (14 points) gets an open look along the baseline.

(Lawrence)  What can you say about the Pentucket Sachems girls basketball team?

On an afternoon when key defender Sarah Higgins is on the sidelines (illness), high scoring Coley Viselli struggles to get four points, and the Sachems make just 4-of-25 3-point attempts, they still have enough to defeat Division 1 Revere, 50-27.

This was the opener of the IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic on Sunday afternoon at Central Catholic.  Pentucket will return tomorrow afternoon to face the winner of the Archbishop Williams/Central Catholic game at 5:30PM.

The Revere Patriots (10-7) came in having won six of their last seven in the Northeastern Conference North.  They are probably happy that in the state tourney they’ll be in Division 1 and Pentucket will be in Division 3.

Pentucket (17-4) had their staple full-court pressure working from the outset.  By game’s end they had forced the Lady Patriots into twenty-seven miscues.

But in the first half of this game, the Revere turnovers didn’t lead directly to points while the Sachem long-range shooting was scary bad (2-for-19).  Those two factors kept this game close (20-13 at the half).  In fact, 1 ½ minutes into the second half, two Amy Rotger free throws had Revere still in this one, 22-17.

The rest of that third quarter everything came together in a nice package for the Sachems and they went on a decisive 14-3 run.

Pentucket’s first three scores in this surge were directly off of steals by Kelsi McNamara, Tess Nogueira, and Alex Moore.  Next, Tess found room in close for a layup.

Caitlyn Caramello (9 points) battles Tess Nogueira

Revere stopped the bleeding (8-point run) temporarily with a Caitlyn Caramello layin but back came Pentucket with two of their four 3’s (Kelsi McNamara and Sydney Snow).  The Sachems were clearly in command 36-20 after three quarters.

Revere was held scoreless for the first 3 ½ minutes of the final quarter partly because of four more turnovers.  Meanwhile Pentucket was putting up ten unanswered points to get away even further, 46-20.  Reserves dominated the rest of the game. The final score was 50-27.

In a game where Coley Viselli struggled for points, Kelsi McNamara (14), Alex Moore (12) and Tess Nogueira (10) picked up the slack nicely.  Freshman Kelsi had eleven of her points in the breakaway second half.

Caitlyn Caramello paced Revere with nine points.  Michaela Maguire added five including a put-back just before the halftime buzzer.

Pentucket is now on a nine-game winning streak.  They have won fourteen of their last fifteen.

The last time I saw them lose was in a state tournament game last year at Wilmington High School against St. Mary’s of Lynn the eventual D3 champ.

Can Pentucket be in the D3 state championship game at the Worcester Centrum in mid-March?  Their multiple ways of hurting an opponent suggest to me that they can do it.  We’ll see.

Pentucket box score

Revere box score

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

Coley Viselli gets to the rim

Michaela Maguire and Emily Dresser

battle under the basket

Liza Brackbill

Kelsi McNamara defends

Amy Rotger and Sydney Snow

Alex Moore (12 points) floater in lane

tie up

McKenna Kilian

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Strong second half gets Beaver past Pingree (54-36) in EIL boys basketball

John Spears (14 points) caught in the air with 6-8 defender Jacquil Taylor looking to block.

Joe Connelly (14 points) shoots over John Spears

(Hamilton) The Pingree boys played a terrific half of basketball against Beaver Country Day School.  Unfortunately, for the Highlanders, there was the other half.

Beaver defeated Pingree, 54-36, on Wednesday afternoon in Eastern Independent League boys basketball action.

This was a one point game at halftime (27-26) with the final outcome far from certain.  Beaver had beaten Pingree (65-41 on February 1st) so you figured that they might get stronger in the second half.

Tied at 30-30, the visitors from Chestnut Hill displayed why they came in 18-2 and undefeated (11-0) in the EIL.  They  went on an impressive 13-0 run over the next 7 1/2 minutes and Pingree never recovered.

The Beaver 2-3 zone, with 6-6 Maurice Taylor and his 6-8 brother Jacquil on the inside, limited Pingree to long range attempts.   That defense was less of a problem in the first half when Pingree connected on four triples.  During the six minute drought the long ones weren’t falling.

Kyle Lentini (8 points) leans on driving Jeff Spellman (15 points)

Meanwhile, Beaver registered points from Jacquil Taylor (dunk on a rebound), Joe Connelly (a layup and two jumpers), and Jeff Spellman (a layup and an old-fashioned 3-pont play) to pull away 43-30 and have needed separation with 8:40 left.

A Brendon Ashe triple narrowed the gap to 45-36 in the last three minutes but Beaver answered with a Jacquil hook in the lane and seven free throws to close out the scoring.

Exciting John Spears (14 points) had steals, assists, darts to the basket, and a triple and led the Highlanders to the front, 24-17, with five minutes left in the first half.  The sophomore’s knack of getting open among players much taller than he is was very entertaining to the overflow home crowd.

However, the interior of the Beaver defense did a much better job protecting the inside after halftime.  If John got by one shot blocker there was quickly another one ready to show some tall defense.  Unable to get open space to the rim, John was held to just two points in the second half.

Junior Jeff Spellman (15 points) led all scorers.  He proved to be more than capable of handling some very tight defensive pressure as the primary ball-handler for Beaver.

Joe Connelly blocks speedy John Spears in breakaway layup attempt

Joe Connelly tallied eleven of his fourteen points in the second half getting six in the surge that broke this game wide open.  The highlight I took away from his game was his hustle in running down a streaking John Spears in the second half and blocking the speedster’s layup attempt.

Maurice Taylor led Beaver with ten rebounds while Isaac Carp grabbed twelve for the Highlanders.

Beaver is now 19-2 overall and 12-0 in the EIL with two more league games left.  Don’t bet against them going undefeated.  They have won the EIL the past two seasons.  Their losses were to St. Mark’s and Brooks.  Brooks is a team they could face in the NEPSAC Division B tournament late in February.

Beaver has won nine in a row and are 10-0 on the road.  I did not see high-scoring Jherson Colon and assume that the Beaver guard re-injured himself.

Pingree is 15-6 overall and 10-2 in the EIL.  They have won nine of their last eleven games.

The Highlanders have three games left starting with a home matchup with Wheeler School (RI) on Friday.  The other two games are EIL games.

It would not surprise me to see Pingree face Beaver again in the EIL tourney final.  That tournament starts on February 25th.  After that tournament, Pingree will be competing in Division C of the NEPSAC tourney.  I’m sure that they will be happy to get away from Beaver.

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

Freshman Jordan Scurry (8 points) shoots over Connor Reardon

Beaver coach Juan Figueroa

Joe Connelly eyes shot. Connor Reardon eyes block.

Jeff Spellman gets off shot with John Spears defending.

Brendon Ashe hit two triples

Kenneth Adinkra and Jeff Spellman

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Filed under Beaver Country Day, Pingree

Pentucket wins 7th straight defeating Newburyport 49-30 in girls basketball

Coley Viselli (15 points) applies backcourt pressure to Molly Rowe.

Sarah Higgins (13 points) breaks away after steal

(West Newbury)  Pentucket defeated Newburyport, 49-30, on Monday night in a game that was settled in the third quarter.

The Sachems (15-4) scored the first fourteen points in that decisive quarter, helped by six Clipper turnovers, and Pentucket’s 24-17 halftime lead burst into a 38-17 rout with 2 ½ minutes left in that quarter.

The Clippers (11-7) put together a 10-2 run in the final quarter but had given up way too much ground in the previous quarter to pose any sort of challenge late.

Pentucket has now won seven straight and twelve of their last thirteen.  To say that they’re on a roll, is an understatement.  Their pressure defense forces opponents to be uncomfortable anywhere on the court.  Against the Clippers, their half-court offense looked very smooth.

Beth Castantini (10 points) shoots over Tori Lane

The Clippers/Sachems matched up in the season opener on December 12th in Newburyport. Pentucket won, 44-37.  In that one, Newburyport trailed by just two (35-32) with five minutes left.  The Sachems pressure defense worked but their poor long-range shooting kept the game close.

This time the Sachems kept the pressure defense (forced twenty turnovers) but took fewer long ones and instead took more drives to the basket.  Pentucket made fifteen baskets (other than free throws) and twelve of them were layups, another basket was a converted rebound, and the other two were three’s.

The Pentucket pressure gave Newburyport a lot of problems as expected but the killer for the Clippers was the early foul trouble of Lilly Donovan and Mary Pettigrew.  Both of them had four fouls, two minutes into the second half.

Coley Viselli breaks loose

It was no coincidence that with Lilly and Mary on the bench Pentucket’s five-point run, that started the third quarter, turned into a fourteen-point run.

The Pentucket points in The Run were; Leigh McNamara -free throw,  Sarah Higgins – two layups (assisted on one of them by Alex Moore), and Coley Viselli – layup, two free throws and a three assisted by Sarah Higgins.

The home team started fast jumping in front 14-5 after three minutes.  But credit the Clippers, they rallied back into contention (16-13) midway into the second quarter with a three by Beth Castantini from Lilly Donovan within the rally.

A jump shot by Meri Adsit (from Molly Rowe) with ten seconds left had the Clippers within range (24-17) at the half.

Last year the Clippers upset Pentucket (53-52) at Pentucket so the seven-point halftime deficit didn‘t appear insurmountable.  But six minutes of playing time later, that wasn’t the case.

Coley Viselli (15 points) led all scorers while teammates Sarah Higgins and Tess Nogueira had 13 points apiece.  The trio was solid on defense as well.

Aly Leahy defended by Alex Moore

Beth Castantini paced Newburyport with ten points while teammate Aly Leahy had nine points.

Pentucket has their last home game on Wednesday against Triton.

Newburyport will look to end their four-game losing streak at Amesbury on Thursday.  AHS coach Chris Perry just “happened” to be at the game tonight.

There was a rumor at the game that the gymnasium would soon be named after Al Gore.  Most of the folks there were hot under the collar by game’s end.

One of the referees gave NHS coach Gregg Dollas a warning (for friendly advice?) with two minutes left in the first half.  From long range, it sounded to me as if the referee told the scorekeeper, “Two minute warning on the Newburyport coach.”  That somehow sounded like football terminology to me.

The young lady singing the national anthem without a microphone gets an emphatic, “Wow!”

Pentucket boxscore

Newburyport boxscore

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

national anthem

Tess Nogueira fronts Beth Castantini

Sarah Higgins passes to Liza Brackbill

Molly Rowe drives baseline

Lilly Donovan tries to get by Sydney Snow

Meri Adsit shoots

Alex Moore

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Kyle Lentini (21 points) leads Pingree past Bancroft 57-42 in EIL boys basketball

Kyle Lentini hits a triple over Peter Bovenzi

Connor Reardon (12 points) layup

(Hamilton) Pingree hit visiting Bancroft with a 14-2, four-minute segment in the first half and that separated them from the Bulldogs. The Highlanders went on to a, 57-42, victory on Saturday afternoon in Eastern Independent League action.

Pingree is now a lofty 15-5 and has a big showdown ahead at home against Beaver Country Day on Wednesday at 4PM.  The Highlanders lone EIL loss was to the undefeated EIL squad from Chestnut Hill (65-41) on February 1st at BCD.  Beaver is 17-2 overall. The rematch should be a good one.

Kyle Lentini (21 points) had a huge game for Pingree.  During the breakaway, 14-2 run, Kyle converted two rebounds, hit a jumper, and assisted on Brandon Ashe’s layup.  The run turned a 15-12 anybody’s game into a comfortable (29-14) Highlander advantage with 3 ½ minutes left in the first half.

The closest Bancroft (from Worcester) could get the rest of the way was eight (42-34) with 8:38 left in the game but Kyle Lentini answered with an old-fashioned three in heavy traffic in close.  John Spears followed with a jump shot in the lane and a converted rebound and the Highlanders were quickly back to the fifteen point spread (49-34).

Pingree (10-1 in the EIL) led 34-23 at the half.

PJ Lidonde (16 points) drive

PJ Lidonde (16 points) showed plenty of quickness and courage slicing into Pingree lane traffic for baskets.  He also had four assists by my count.

DJ Fajana (9 points) had several blocks for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have an eight-man roster and three of the players hardly played at all.

Pingree’s top three scorers in this game (Kyle Lentini, Connor Reardon, and John Spears) are all sophomores.

Bancroft (10-10 overall and 6-6 in EIL) won the NEPSAC Class D championship in 2011.

Pingree boxscore

Bancroft boxscore

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

Isaac Carp

John Spears drives

DJ Fajana and Kyle Lentini

Eastern Independent League

PJ Lidonde dives

Melvin Kaska in flight

Kyle Lentini

Brandon Ashe

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