(Newburyport MA) The Whittier Tech girls had ten-point runs in both halves and defeated Newburyport, 57-51, on Monday afternoon in non-league action.
The second ten-point streak happened in the final minute and enabled WT to overcome a four-point deficit and pull out a victory.
The Wildcats (7-2) had only two three’s in the first three quarters but connected on two straight (Andrea Terranova & Michaela Martin) in the last minute to jump ahead, 53-51, with thirty-two seconds left.
Andrea (16 points) and Michaela (16 points) closed things out with four consecutive free throws.
At the same time everything was going right for the visitors from Haverhill, the home-team Clippers (9-3) will do best to forget what happened when they had the ball in the last minute.
After Whittier’s first three, the Clippers still had a one-point lead (51-50). However, Aly Leahy missed the front end of a one-and-one in the possession before WT’s second three gave them the lead with 32 seconds left.
Down by only two (53-51), again with plenty of time to score, the Clippers turned the ball over in the backcourt and fouled the stealer (Andrea Terranova). Andrea made both free throws.
Now down four (55-51), Abbie Bresnahan had a shot blocked out-of-bounds by 6-3 Samnell Vonleh. Still time left, Emily Pettigrew traveled. The Clippers were forced to foul and Michaela Martin finished things with two free throws.
The loss diminished the glow of a terrific performance by Newburyport’s Emily Pettigrew. The 6-foot sophomore tallied twenty-one points and seemed unfazed by WT’s size and physical play.
The Clippers built up a ten-point lead (21-11) 1 1/2 minutes into the second quarter. Some of that success for Newburyport was the way Mary Pettigrew kept the Wildcats Michaela Martin in check.
Trailing by ten, Whittier put their first ten-point run together. Two free throws by Andrea Terranova helped but the real damage was done by junior Kayla Riley notching two layups, a free throw, and a three to tie the score at 21-21 three minutes before the half.
Newburyport had five turnovers and missed the front end of a one-and-one during this segment.
It was the Clippers’ turn to put points together in the third quarter after trailing, 31-27. A nine-point streak featured an old-fashioned three by Abbie Bresnahan (9 points) and a normal three by Aly Leahy (13 points). This collection of points put Newburyport ahead, 36-31, with a minute left in the third quarter.
The Clippers were able to hold onto the lead until the final minute of the game.
Both teams pressed and pressured wherever the ball was. Neither team was very successful, as a result, in getting clean looks. The usual result was a shot in traffic or a turnover.
The two teams combined for an unspectacular FIFTY turnovers. Newburyport had 27 and Whittier 23, by my unofficial count.
Both teams missed seven free throws. WT, however, connected twenty-three times including seven-of-eight in the final minute. The Clippers hit nine free throws.
I was impressed by the speed and spark of sophomore Abbie Bresnahan.
Whittier has now won four straight. They were 22-2 last season, losing in the Division 4 North final. It is not hard to imagine the Wildcats doing well in the state tournament again this year.
The Clippers will have to wait another day to qualify for the state tournament. They need one more win to get there. They are scheduled to face Amesbury on Friday night (7PM) in their next game.
Whittier is scheduled to host non-league Gloucester on Wednesday (5:30PM).
Michaela Martin was a Lawrence Eagle Tribune All-Star last season.
Juniors Kayla Riley, Andrea Terranova, and Samnell Vonleh were Commonwealth Athletic Conference All-Stars in 2012-13.
WT has no seniors on their roster.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)