(West Newbury MA) The Pentucket girls don’t lose very often. Under Coach John McNamara, the Sachems have an extraordinary 159-21 record.
But on Saturday afternoon Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) rallied to pin one of those losses on the Sachems, 36-32, in a nonleague game.
Both teams had significant roster turnovers and plenty of inexperienced players saw significant minutes. The result? Turnovers and missed shots galore.
Pentucket (1-1) is a team that likes to press their way into points and are usually successful at it. Teams make mistakes in the backcourt and the Sachems run up points in a hurry. That consecutive point thing, however, just never happened against the Cougars (3-0) thanks to the ball-handling/passing skills of Kendra Delahunt (12 points) and Janey Mathisen (8 points).
Most of the NDA miscues, and there were plenty, were in the frontcourt and didn’t lead to breakaway layups.
So with the Pentucket defense not turning up points, there was a need for some good outside shooting. Credit Notre Dame. They played a zone defense that took away most of the open outside shots of the Sachems especially those of Kelsi McNamara. Holding Kelsi to six points with no 3’s was a key to the Notre Dame victory.
But those on hand at Pentucket are muttering as they read, “What about #21 in the fourth quarter?” And they make a great point.
Sophomore Hannah Hollow (#21) almost single-handedly pulled this one out for Pentucket. In the first 3+ minutes of the final quarter, Hannah found a spot on the left side and knocked down three straight 3’s. Suddenly in a game in which points were hard to come by, the Sachems had a bunch of them and actually grabbed the lead, 32-31, with 4:47 left to play.
But Pentucket wouldn’t score again and the Cougars, despite five turnovers the rest of the way, had enough to win with two inside scores by Janey Mathisen. Janey added a free throw with eleven seconds left to ice this one for the visitors.
Ironically, in a game where Pentucket could have used a boost in almost every area of the game, there in the stands were key graduated parts of the 24-2 team of 2012-13……………..Alex Moore, Tess Nogueira, and Coley Viselli. That threesome was great at providing offense and defense.
Notre Dame “helped” keep the game close by struggling from the free throw line. The Cougars missed twelve of twenty-three attempts including four of their last five in the final quarter.
Meghan Curtis of NDA was the only senior on either roster.
Interested parties from Hamilton-Wenham and Masco (next two opponents on Pentucket’s schedule) were on hand for this game.
Kayli Hom started for Notre Dame but left due to sickness in that same quarter.
Pentucket had not played for eight days.
Temperatures in the 50’s were a bit unusual for the first day of winter but I’m not complaining.
Notre Dame was the state Division 2 champions in 2009.
Notre Dame hosts Bishop Fenwick this coming Monday at home (6:30PM). On the same day, Pentucket travels to Hamilton-Wenham for a 5:30PM game.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)