Kelsi McNamara (22 points) leads Pentucket past Newburyport 45-43

Kelsi McNamara (22 points) on the break

Kelsi McNamara (22 points) on the break

Jaycie Triandafilou pressures Kelsi McNamara

Jaycie Triandafilou pressures Kelsi McNamara

(West Newbury MA) Maybe they’re not dead after all.

But trust me, the Pentucket girls looked close to dead when they went down by ten (36-26) with 3:18 left in the third quarter against undefeated Newburyport.

However, the rest of the way the Sachems (4-3) made shots, forced eight turnovers, and defeated the Clippers, 45-43, on Monday night at steamy Pentucket.

Kelsi McNamara (22 points) had a remarkable game for Pentucket.  The junior guard notched four 3’s, and set up teammate Carolyn Modlish for four layups including the game winner with 1:19 left.  In the last minute Kelsi had a block, a free throw, and a steal.

I was there for Kelsi’s three’s in the tournament but I’m wondering if she has had a better all-around, regular-season game than this one.

Aly Leahy (12 points) heads for the basket as McKenna Kilian defends

Aly Leahy (12 points) heads for the basket as McKenna Kilian defends

This Cape Ann League game was especially intense in the final five minutes after Emily Pettigrew (12 points) tied the score at 40-40 on an inbounds play.

Pentucket got the next two baskets (McKenna Kilian jumper and Carolyn Modlish layup) before Aly Leahy (12 points) nailed a three with 1:04 left.

After freshman Colleen Jameson had a near-miss on a three, Newburyport took over trailing only by one (44-43).  Senior Aly Leahy twice tried to drive down the lane but was blocked both times (McKenna Kilian and Kelsi McNamara).  Without a shot hitting the rim, the Clippers were called for a 30-second shot clock violation with six seconds left.

Kelsi took the inbounds pass, was fouled, and made the front end of a one-and-one to put the Sachems ahead, 45-43.

Kelsi McNamara dribbles out the clock

Kelsi McNamara dribbles out the clock

Still time for Newburyport to get off a shot but Emily Pettigrew’s pass, intended for Aly Leahy, sailed over her head.  Kelsi retrieved the overthrow and Pentucket had the win.

Pentucket used a zone for quite a while in this game and Newburyport took full advantage of it.  Aly Leahy hit three longs ones while the Pettigrew sisters (Mary & Emily) chewed up the Sachems on the inside.  When Pentucket played man-to-man in the second half the Clippers were a lot less comfortable.  Carolyn Modlish and McKenna Kilian did a terrific job keeping the ball away from Mary or Emily in the late stages of the final quarter.

Amy Sullivan, Jaycie Triandafilou, and Aly Leahy all took turns closely guarding Kelsi McNamara.  There were no easy shots for Kelsi.  She did make several tough ones inside in traffic.

With Kelsi certain to be closely guarded, even double-teamed, openings turned up for teammates.  Finding sophomore Carolyn Modlish for four layups was a key to the Pentucket victory.

Freshman Colleen Jameson

Freshman Colleen Jameson

Another key was the play of freshman Colleen Jameson.  Colleen was not even on the program so I assume that she played in the JV game.  I think she played the entire second half in the varsity game.  Her contribution?  She could get the ball up the court freeing Kelsi from having to do it.  She passed well and played good defense.  Colleen should be on the varsity program for the Sachems’ home game on Wednesday with Hamilton-Wenham.

There were ten lead changes.

Senior Mary Pettigrew (14 points) is a returning Cape Ann League All-Leaguer.  She made seven of eight free throws.

What a difference a year makes.  Last year Pentucket defeated Newburyport 61-33 and 60-29.

The teams are scheduled to spend Valentine’s Day together in a rematch at Newburyport.

Next game for the Clippers (5-1) is Wednesday (6:30PM) at Amesbury.

I learned at the concessions stand that Alex Moore is at Rhode Island College playing for the Anchorwomen.  The former Sachem had twenty-two points in a recent win over undefeated Bowdoin.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Riley Holden gets a high five from Coach John McNamara

Riley Holden gets a high five from Coach John McNamara

Kelsi McNamara gives Pentucket a two-point lead

Kelsi McNamara gives Pentucket a two-point lead

McKenna Kilian (23) blocks Aly Leahy

McKenna Kilian (23) blocks Aly Leahy

Carolyn Modlish gets the game winner

Carolyn Modlish gets the game winner

Aly Leahy and Rebecca Torrisi chase a loose ball

Aly Leahy and Rebecca Torrisi chase a loose ball

Mary Pettigrew (14 points) and Riley Holden

Mary Pettigrew (14 points) and Riley Holden

Audrey Tipson surrounded by Clippers

Audrey Tipson surrounded by Clippers

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