(Lawrence) The Pentucket Sachems defeated Central Catholic, 59-49, in the championship game to win the IAABO Board 130 Classic on Monday night at Central Catholic.
The win was special for Pentucket. Not only did they get their 20th win of the season but senior Coley Viselli reached 1000 points late in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders trailed by one (46-45) with 6:44 left in the game but went into a four-minute scoring drought that featured four turnovers. The Sachems, meanwhile, put a string of nine points together to create a ten-point spread (55-45) with 2:43 to go. CC never recovered.
In the crucial four minutes, Alex Moore (11 points) started things with a layup down the lane and ended it with another layup on an inbounds pass from Coley Viselli (11 points). Also in the mix were two Kelsi McNamara (21 points) free throws and a McKenna Kilian (7 points) three.
This game was physical from start to finish. The three officials all brought whistles but seemed intent on letting the girls play. Kelsi McNamara and Alex Nagri both drew technicals because of excessive contact.
Sophomore Kelsi McNamara took home the tourney MVP plaque. Coley Viselli made the All-Tourney team.
I’m sure that Kelsi’s twenty-one points played a part in her selection but her handling of the ball against physical pressure may well have been more important.
On the scoring part, Kelsi hit two 3’s in thirteen seconds to give Pentucket a, 28-21, lead late in the first half.
The Sachems ended up with seven long ones – Kelsi (3), Coley Viselli (2), Alex Moore and McKenna Kilian (1 each).
Stonehill-bound Casey McLaughlin (22 points) kept CC in the game for three quarters. The six-foot senior seemed to be wherever the ball was on offense in close.
Casey had a remarkable third quarter putting up fourteen of the Raiders’ eighteen points.
One of the keys to the Pentucket win was shutting Casey down over the last 9 ½ minutes of the game. Credit Coley Viselli on a special scoring night for also playing some special defense on the Raiders top player.
The Sachems jumped on top, 5-0, and held the five-point spread (13-8) with 2 ½ minutes left. While Pentucket was held scoreless, Darion Summers, Amanda Williams (12 points), and Casey McLaughlin scored baskets to give CC a, 14-13, lead after one period.
Kelsi’s two three’s late in the second quarter put Pentucket ahead by seven but Central Catholic responded with two free throws by Courtney Walsh and Casey McLaughlin’s converted rebound. Pentucket led, 28-25, at the half.
Casey put on the fourteen-point show in the third quarter but Pentucket had answers. Coley Viselli connected on two 3’s. Kelsi McNamara tallied two free throws and two layups. Tess Nogueira (11 points) made a layup assisted by Alex Moore and added two free throws. Pentucket was in front by a point (44-43) after three quarters.
The two teams traded free throws to start the final quarter before Pentucket took the game over with nine straight points over a four-minute segment to take home the title.
The Sachems (20-1) end the regular season with seven straight wins. Only a loss to Division 2 Notre Dame of Hingham in January blemishes their record.
And if there was ever an opponent who could toughen the Sachems up for the Division 3 MIAA Tournament it was Central Catholic. They took defending seriously and there weren’t many easy paths to the hoops for the defending D3 champs.
Pentucket thrives on pressuring after a made basket but CC was noticeably intent on not getting caught in the backcourt after the Sachems’ made baskets. The home team did have eighteen turnovers but very few of those were in the backcourt.
Central Catholic (14-5) is ranked fourth in the Division 1 North by the Boston Herald. This past week they avenged losses earlier in the season to both North Andover and Andover.
Pentucket defeated Newton South (52-45) in the first round on Sunday. Central Catholic had a win over Auburn to get to the finals.
Two things I haven’t seen/heard before at a basketball game: a Zamboni-type machine cleaning the gymnasium floor, and the National Anthem played on a harmonica.
The Pentucket partisans gave away the news that Coley had reached 1000 points when they let out a loud cheer after Coley hit the first of two free throws with 1:51 left in the game. Play was stopped and her feat was announced and her teammates congratulated her.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)