Monthly Archives: February 2014

Governor’s Academy reaches NEPSAC Class B semifinals with 45-36 win over Lawrence Academy

Action during the GA/LA quarterfinals game

Action during the GA/LA quarterfinals game

Courtney Cashman (17 points) tries to shoot over Gabrielle Reuter (16 points)

Courtney Cashman (17 points) tries to shoot over Gabrielle Reuter (16 points)

(Byfield MA) Twelve days ago, the Lawrence Academy girls hung on at Byfield for a, 37-36, win over Governor’s Academy.  The rematch today figured to be a close game and it was.

Governor’s Academy controlled the beginning and the end this time around and that was enough to defeat Lawrence Academy, 45-36, in the NEPSAC girls’ quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon.

The Govs (13-8) put ten straight points together to start this game but the Spartans recovered and even had the lead in the second half.

Lawrence Academy (12-9), however, did not recover from a 2 1/2 minute scoring drought at the end of the game.  LA was within two points (38-36) but all seven points the rest of the way were GA free throws.

Governor’s Courtney Cashman paced her team with seventeen points.  Courtney (sophomore) swished four straight free throws in the last two minutes.

Gabrielle Reuter drives

Gabrielle Reuter drives

Sophomore Gabrielle Reuter led LA with sixteen points.

Governor’s advances to the Class B semi-finals at Tilton School.  The #1 seed Rams are 19-3 and buried GA, 68-28, at Byfield on January 11th.  Tilton won the Class B championship last year and has been in the championship game five straight times.  They will be a formidable opponent for GA to say the least!

In my opinion, Lawrence Academy lost this game because of turnovers.  They had twenty-seven miscues, by my figuring, and all of them were in the frontcourt.  Way too many empty possessions because of dangerous passes by the visitors from Groton (MA).

The Spartans had five turnovers in the first 4+ minutes and no points.  Meanwhile, GA junior Carli Citrano was cooking for the Govs.  Carli started the scoring with a three and later had two inside baskets as the Govs raced off to a 10-0 start.

Carli Citrano looks to pass

Carli Citrano looks to pass

The visitors were still down by ten (16-6) halfway through the half before a GA scoring drought and a run of nine straight LA points aligned themselves.  Sophomore Gabrielle Reuter had a jump shot, layup, and free throw in the LA comeback segment.  Lawrence Academy was within one (16-15) with 3 1/2 minutes to go in the first half.

GA led, 22-18, at the half.

Lawrence Academy pulled in front, 27-25, early in the second half on a run of six points featuring a fastbreak layup by Jalian Marquez and four free throws.

Carli Citrano reaches in against Elise Bojanowski

Carli Citrano reaches in against Elise Bojanowski

Two minutes later, Courtney Cashman converted her own miss and GA had the lead back (29-28) with eleven minutes left.  The home team would stay ahead the rest of the game.

A layup by Gabrielle Reuter on a pass from Emily Pratt had LA behind just, 36-34, with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

The GA lead was still only two (38-36) with 2 1/2 minutes left.  I was anticipating another one-point game between these two teams.  It never happened.

The Spartans couldn’t make a shot and were forced to foul to stop the clock.  The Govs hit seven of ten pressure free throws to ice this one for the #4 seed.

Both teams had the same record and LA had defeated the Govs during the season yet Governor’s still got the home game.  Why?  They had defeated better opponents.

Some GA boys’ team arrived in a group to offer encouragement to the girls’ team.

Emily Pratt and Isa Berzansky

Emily Pratt and Isa Berzansky

The unsung hero for the Govs was Isa Berzansky.  At some point in the second half, Isa took over defending Emily Pratt and did a terrific job.  Emily struggled to get shots off and had only two points in the second half.

The Govs ended up with twenty-one turnovers.

Both Gabrielle Reuter and Emily Pratt were chosen for the NEPSAC Class B East All-Star team.

Is there a faster combo than the look-alike Ham sisters?  When seniors Jackie (#2) and Kendall (#3) are on the floor at the same time, mistaken identity becomes a strong likelihood.  I’m reaching for excuses for messing up their stats!

Governor’s Academy box

Lawrence Academy box

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

Jackie Ham goes for the block against Tate Jordan

Jackie Ham goes for the block against Tate Jordan

Jalian Marquez looks to shoot

Jalian Marquez looks to shoot

Tate Jordan lines up a free throw

Tate Jordan lines up a free throw

Kendall Ham dribbles

Kendall Ham dribbles

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Jeff Spellman (31 points) shoots Beaver Country Day past Pingree 81-64

Jeff Spellman (31 points) hit five long ones in a twenty-five point first half

Jeff Spellman (31 points) hit five long ones in a twenty-five point first half

Jeff Spellman drives on Alonzo Jackson

Jeff Spellman drives on Alonzo Jackson

(Hamilton MA) Talented Jeff Spellman (31 points) led Beaver Country Day School past Pingree, 81-64, on a rainy Friday night in Eastern Independent League action.

The win gives BCD (19-1) an undefeated league season as well as their fifth straight EIL championship.

Pingree (16-6) had an enthusiastic crowd (It was their senior recognition game) but no first-half defensive answers for guard Jeff Spellman.

Beaver was missing point guard Keyshaun Jacobs so that meant Jeff Spellman handled the ball more than usual.  In this game, that change spelled disaster for Pingree in the first half.

Jeff poured in a remarkable twenty-five points in the first sixteen minutes.  He hit three’s from five different spots.  He made driving layups in traffic and added free throws.  It was quite a show, to say the least.

Kyle Lentini (10 points) had the Highlanders up, 8-7, after 2 1/2 minutes.  The next four minutes of playing time belonged to the Beavers.  The visitors put a 19-3 segment together and vaulted ahead, 26-11, with eight minutes left in the first half.

Jacquil Taylor (14 points) gets set to dunk

Jacquil Taylor (14 points) gets set to dunk

6-9 Jacquil Taylor (Purdue) cashed three straight layups.  On one Jacquil (14 points) was assisted by Kevin Scarlett, another was a rebound putback, and the third was a jam off of a steal.

Jeff Spellman closed the scoring in this separation segment with two straight long ones.  He made the first from the top of the key and the second from the corner off an inbounds play.

The separation segment pushed Pingree down by double digits and they would never get inside that barrier the rest of the way.

Jeff Spellman closed the first half with a buzzer-beating three to give Beaver a 47-23 bulge at halftime.

Pingree was able to win the second half, 41-34, and did get to within ten points (72-62) with two minutes left.  However, BCD sealed this one by making 9-of-10 free throws the rest of the way.

Justin Assad in the lane

Justin Assad in the lane

Beaver won the first meeting at Brookline, 71-43.  This one didn’t go in that direction because Pingree played the second half with crowd-pleasing intensity.

Down 66-48 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, the Highlanders’ pressure started to pay off.  Remember that the Beavers’ point guard was missing.  Also off the floor was shot-blocker Jacquil Taylor (injury).

The Highlanders started to get turnovers and took the ball to the basket.  Johnny Spears and Justin Assad were a big part of the 14-6 Pingree rally that cut Pingree’s deficit to ten points and fired up the crowd.  BCD coach Juan Figuero burned a couple of timeouts during the Pingree comeback.  The Beavers, however, recovered by taking better care of the ball in the two final minutes and Pingree was forced to foul.  Outstanding BCD free throw shooting finished off Pingree’s comeback.

Impressive game by Pingree’s Alonzo Jackson.  The Highlanders’ big man collected eighteen points on the inside.

Johnny Spears led a second half rally

Johnny Spears led a second half rally

Johnny Spears (13 points) showed his lightening speed in the second half on offense.  Sometimes he would get to the basket and other times he would spot teammates while he was airborne.  Johnny can take games over and Pingree will need that to happen if they are to do very well in the Class C tournament.

Beaver Country will be in the Class B tournament.  If they have all of their starters ready to go they could end up winning a title.

BCD’s lone loss was to Hoosac School by two points (54-52) on January 22nd at UMass Boston.  I tried to find out how the Owls had pulled that one off.  That’s where I got acquainted with a player named, Unique McLean.  The sophomore guard from Brooklyn put thirty-two points on Beaver including the game-winner at the buzzer.  Coach Figueroa told me before the Pingree game that Unique was the best player he’s seen this season.  Hoosac School (on NY/VT border) has won the Class D title two straight years.

Griffin Beal and Kyle Lentini each had ten points for Pingree.

Beaver Country Day School box

Pingree box

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

Jeff Spellman finishes

Jeff Spellman finishes

Alonzo Jackson (18 points) shoots in traffic

Alonzo Jackson (18 points) shoots in traffic

Kyle Lentini and Connor Reardon

Kyle Lentini and Connor Reardon

Connor Reardon chases Jamie Kennedy

Connor Reardon chases Jamie Kennedy

Jacquil Taylor looks for a pass

Jacquil Taylor looks for a pass

Jeff Spellman saves

Jeff Spellman saves

Kent Ellertson shoots over Griffin Beal

Kent Ellertson shoots over Griffin Beal

Reese Fullmer and Kevin Scarlett

Reese Fullmer and Kevin Scarlett

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Whittier drops Newton South 64-49 in consolation game of IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic

Michaela Martin (18 points) sees an opening to the basket

Michaela Martin (18 points) sees an opening to the basket

Emily Chang (23 points) fires a three

Emily Chang (23 points) fires a three

(Danvers MA)  Whittier overpowered Newton South, 64-49, in the consolation game on Monday afternoon in the IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic held at St. John‘s Prep.

Sophomore Emily Chang of Newton South led all scorers with twenty-three points including six three’s.

Juniors Michaela Martin (18 points) and Kayla Riley (17 points) paced Whittier.

The Wildcats (15-6) dropped a tight one (40-38) to Boston Latin on Sunday in the opening round.  In that game, Whittier had chances down the stretch but didn’t finish.  A lot of Whittier’s problems were caused by 6-2 Maggie Mulligan.  The BL senior registered a triple double (12 points/19 rebounds/10 blocks) in the Wolfpack win.

Newton South did not have a shot blocker of Maggie Mullins (going to UMass) caliber and so Whittier spent most of this afternoon driving with confidence to the basket.  Whittier’s inside shots didn’t always go in but fouls were called (26) and free throws were awarded (44).

Newton South (5-13) was content to fire from long range and they did make eleven 3’s.  Impressively effective from downtown was Emily Chang who had the green light every time she saw daylight.

The Wildcats had the lead (7-5) five minutes into the first quarter before the Lions struck from long range three times over the next four minutes.

Jessa Rubera breaks in

Jessa Rubera breaks in

Emily Chang connected twice and senior Jessa Rubera once, as part of 15-2 Newtown South surge.  Lauren Levey hit a jump shot and an old-fashioned three at the end of that run.

So, one minute into the second quarter NS was in front, 20-9, and hardly looking like a team with only five wins this season.

But that terrific four minutes of Lions’ shot making shut down for the next five minutes.   The NS lack of offense was not related to turnovers, the Lions just kept missing.

Meanwhile, Whittier started to roll up the points.  There were 3-pointers and layups (Kayla Riley & Michaela Martin had both) as well as free throws (five).  By the time NS got a stop-the-bleeding three by Emily Chang the Wildcats had put together a run of seventeen unanswered points.

Kayla Riley (17 points) sights the basket

Kayla Riley (17 points) sights the basket

The lengthy point splurge gave Whittier the lead, 26-20, with 2 minutes left until halftime.  The Wildcats would keep the lead the rest of the way.

The Lions moved back within two (31-29) one minute into the second half but Whittier followed with nine straight points to boost their margin to double figures (40-29) with 2:25 left in the third quarter.  Samnell Vonleh, Andrea Terranova, and Michaela Martin turned up layups in the run.

Newton South was unable to get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Whittier ended up winning by fifteen but when you look at their free throw stats you can envision what could have been.  The Wildcats made only twenty-one of forty-four free throw attempts!

Whittier is in Division 4 while the other three girls’ teams in this tourney are in Division 1.  The Wildcats have played a number of higher division teams this season.  Sometimes facing tougher opponents pays off when tournament time rolls around.

The Wildcats were 22-2 last year and lost to Fenway in the Division 4 North final to Fenway.  It looks as if Whittier will again have to go through (15-2) Fenway to get the D4 North title.

Whittier box

Newton South box

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

Dominique Ortiz leans into Lauren Levey

Dominique Ortiz leans into Lauren Levey

Samnett Vonleh (#24)

Samnett Vonleh (#24)

Michaela Martin covered by Emily Chang

Michaela Martin covered by Emily Chang

Xciana Flores gets fouled by both Shayla Kelly and Lauren Levey

Xciana Flores gets fouled by both Shayla Kelly and Lauren Levey

Emily Chang (#12) tries to catch Kiana Guadaloupe

Emily Chang (#12) tries to catch Kiana Guadaloupe

Roni Tamir caught in a Whittier trap

Roni Tamir caught in a Whittier trap

Andrea Terranova heads for the hoop

Andrea Terranova heads for the hoop

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Pentucket stuns Newburyport in OT 52-44

Kelsi McNamara (27 points) launches a three.  She made five in the game.

Kelsi McNamara (27 points) launches a three. She made five in the game.

McKenna Kilian (15 points) starts her drive for the tying basket in regulation

McKenna Kilian (15 points) starts her drive for the tying basket in regulation

(Newburyport MA) Pentucket tied the score with eight seconds left in regulation (McKenna Kilian layup) and then dominated overtime as they defeated Newburyport, 52-44, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.

For the Clippers (12-7), the loss to Pentucket (16-4) was way too similar to their loss on Monday to undefeated Masco.  They held the lead in both games in the second half only to come away frustrated when each game was over.

Kelsi McNamara (27 points) had only ten points through three quarters.  After that?  Wow!  The junior guard put up ten points in the 4th quarter and seven points in the four-minute overtime.

Fifteen of Kelsi’s points came on three’s.  Biggest one?  Her last one in the fourth quarter.  An Emily Pettigrew free throw had Newburyport up by three (38-35) with 1:06 left.  Kelsi followed by dribbling almost every second off the thirty-second clock before finding a long-range opening.  Her shot went in, tying the score, as the shot-clock buzzer sounded.

Kelsi hit her 4th long one 1+ minutes into overtime and Pentucket went up by four (44-40).  The lead was still four (46-42) when Kelsi drilled the back breaker with 1:49 left.  The 5th of her 3’s hit rim, backboard, and then rim again before sliding in.  Now down, 49-42, the struggling Newburyport offense had no quick answers and dropped a tough one.

There was plenty of excitement down the stretch in regulation.  After Kelsi tied the score (38-38) with thirty-six seconds left, Aly Leahy (10 points) sank two pressure free throws to put the Clippers on top (40-38) with twenty-one seconds to go.

I was sure that Pentucket, after their timeout, would try to get Kelsi a 3-point attempt or have her drive and draw a foul.  Didn’t happen. Instead, Kelsi took the ball out-of-bounds and found teammate McKenna Kilian (15 points) cutting across from the weakside.  I then expected Kelsi to jump in-bounds, get a pass back and shoot or get fouled.  Didn’t work that way.  Kelsi came in-bounds and attracted a double-team but, instead of passing to Kelsi, McKenna drove past defender Aly Leahy to the basket to tie the score with eight seconds left.

Boo Torrisi defends Aly Leahy in the closing seconds of regulation

Boo Torrisi defends Aly Leahy in the closing seconds of regulation

Still plenty of time for the Clippers.  Aly Leahy set off on a full-court drive down the right side with Boo Torrisi on her shoulder.  With time just about gone Aly rushed a 10-footer that missed.  Abbie Bresnahan grabbed the rebound but there wasn’t time for her to score the game-winner.

Pentucket has now won four straight and fifteen of their last sixteen.  Their next game is against Belmont in the St. Mary’s (Lynn) tournament.

Newburyport has lost three of four in February.  They face Saugus away on Tuesday.  Cape Ann Scores lists the game at 5AM!

Newburyport honored its five seniors: Aly Leahy, Amy Sullivan, Jaycie Triandafilou, Lilly Donovan, and Mary Pettigrew.

The Clippers lost the previous meeting with the Sachems, 45-43, on January 6th at Pentucket.  In that one the Clippers had a ten-point lead in the third quarter.

Pentucket came out at least a minute late in the second half.

Kelsi McNamara made ten free throws

Kelsi McNamara made ten free throws

Pentucket had only four turnovers total in the second half and overtime.  Maybe putting the ball into Kelsi McNamara’s hands on every possession had something to do with it.

Newburyport had twenty-three turnovers in the game.  Almost all of them were in the frontcourt.

Former players Sam Leahy and Coley Viselli were on hand for this one.

The interior defense of Pentucket did a terrific job limiting high-scoring Emily Pettigrew to five points.  Emily likes to catch-and-spin but every time a pass came in to her the Sachems slid someone over to eliminate the “spin” part.

Seemed to me like there was an awful lot of whining from all parts of the gym during this game.  Where was the Valentine’s Day spirit?

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Jaycie Triandafilou

Jaycie Triandafilou

Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan

Mary Pettigrew

Mary Pettigrew

Aly Leahy

Aly Leahy

Lilly Donovan

Lilly Donovan

Morgan Johnston and McKenna Kilian

Morgan Johnston and McKenna Kilian

Emily Pettigrew finds little room to operate

Emily Pettigrew finds little room to operate

Lilly Donovan shoots in the lane

Lilly Donovan shoots in the lane

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Central Catholic overpowers North Andover 73-59 to avenge earlier loss

Nick Cambio (13 points) dominated the inside for Central Catholic

Nick Cambio (13 points) dominated the inside for Central Catholic

Aaron Hall (#30) had nineteen points for CC

Aaron Hall (#30) had nineteen points for CC

(North Andover MA) For a quarter this looked like a duplicate of the January 5th game.  The rest of the way…………not so much!

Central Catholic (15-4) took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back defeating North Andover, 73-59, on Tuesday night in Merrimack Valley Conference play.

In January’s 68-65 win at Central Catholic, North Andover had the shooting to match the Raiders.  The Knights’ John Enright connected six times from long range and teammate Spencer Reeve added twenty points.

John Enright (13 points) clicked three times from long distance in the first quarter this time around and carried NA to an 18-14 advantage.

Credit the CC defense thereafter.  They didn’t cause turnovers (NA only had four in the game) but they forced the Knights into low percentage, contested shots.

Wabissa Bede (21 points) passes

Wabissa Bede (21 points) passes

Nick Cambio (6-6) covered John Enright (5-11) and the good looks for John were out at NBA distance.

Spencer Reeve (twenty points in the first game) was held scoreless.  The 6-3 junior got into foul trouble early and was a non-factor.

Not only was the Raiders’ defense better but their offense was too.  CC’s big men, Nick Cambio and Aaron Hall (both 6-6) ran plays together that turned up layups for both of them on numerous occasions.  Nick finished with thirteen points while Aaron had nineteen.

Tyler Nelson (15 points) was his usual self.  He made shots and set up teammates.

Brett Daley fires from the corner

Brett Daley fires from the corner

The Knights (12-5) had a four-point lead (22-18) two minutes into the second quarter.  After this, the visitors from Lawrence put nine straight together over the next 3 1/2 minutes and NA never recovered from the 27-22 deficit.

The damage in the 9-point run was done by Tyler Nelson (two free throws & runner from the right), Aaron Hall (jump shot), and Nick Cambio (old-fashioned 3-point play.)

Central Catholic led, 31-26, at the half.

The Raiders were able to get the lead into double figures (40-29) 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.  Consecutive 3’s (AJ Pettway & Tyler Nelson) keyed the separation.  Tyler’s trey was off an open look from the corner on an inbounds play.

The Raiders kept their advantage at double figures the rest of the way.  On this day, NA was overmatched on both ends and no comeback before a sizable home crowd ever materialized.

Kevin Fernandez ends the third quarter from very long range

Kevin Fernandez ends the third quarter from very long range

The icing-on-the-cake shot for CC was freshman Kevin Fernandez’s buzzer beater from very long range as the third quarter ended.

Sophomore Wabissa Bede (21 points) proved to be an adept ball-handler for NA.  He was not shy about taking the ball toward the basket against taller opponents. Wabissa ended up at the foul line fifteen times.

Certainly a strength for Central Catholic in this one was their free throw shooting.  After missing 3-of-4 in the first quarter they went 19-for-21 thereafter.

Central Catholic is undefeated (8-0) on the road.  The Raiders have won eight straight and twelve of their last thirteen.  Their last state title was in 2008.

Central Catholic box

North Andover box

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

Nick Cambio finishes

Nick Cambio finishes

Kyle White covered by Alec Buresh

Kyle White covered by Alec Buresh

Alex Santon (#32) looks for an opening

Alex Santon (#32) looks for an opening

James Testa goes baseline

James Testa goes baseline

Spencer Reeve (#32) tries for a block

Spencer Reeve (#32) tries for a block

Tyler Nelson passes out of a double team

Tyler Nelson passes out of a double team

Tyler Nelson (15 points) puts up a three

Tyler Nelson (15 points) puts up a three

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Lynn English wins 17th straight 78-46 over Beverly

Catherine Stinson passes ahead to Diondra Woumn (#1)

Catherine Stinson passes ahead to Diondra Woumn (#1)

Diondra Woumn (22 points) shoots over defenders

Diondra Woumn (22 points) shoots over defenders

(Beverly MA) That’s seventeen straight for undefeated Lynn English.

The Bulldogs (17-0) displayed their never-ending offense as they ran away from Beverly, 78-46, on the road on Friday night in Northeast Conference action.

The Panthers (6-9) never could find a way to contain the LE scorers but they did manage to stay competitive through 2 1/2 quarters thanks to the long-range accuracy of Natalie Mellinger (17 points) and Bridget Keaton (12 points).

Natalie had three long ones in the first five minutes of the game and that helped Beverly hold a 15-8 advantage.

Natalie Mellinger (17 points) hit five long ones

Natalie Mellinger (17 points) hit five long ones

Lynn English, however, just never went away offensively.  Diondra Woumn (22 points), Catherine Stinson (19 points), and Deidra Newson (16 points) had the speed and dribbling skills to find plenty of layups and open looks from the outside.

Two free throws by Deidra Newson gave LE an 18-17 lead after a quarter.  Diondra Woumn cashed four layups and two free throws in that quarter.

The Bulldogs pushed their lead to ten (30-20) in the second quarter but Beverly put seven unanswered points together and were within four (35-31) early in the third period.

Four LE layups later the Bulldogs were in front 43-31 with three minutes left in the third quarter.  Beverly answered with two three’s (Bridget Keaton) and a Natalie Mellinger jump shot and only trailed, 46-39, with a 1 1/2 quarters left.

Those last twelve minutes were absolutely all Lynn English to say the least.  Fatigue had plenty to do with it as Beverly had played, and defeated, Lynn Classical on Thursday.

The Panthers began to have trouble even getting shots off while, down the other end, the Bulldogs continued to take and make shot after shot.  The rest of the way Beverly was outscored, 32-7!

Catherine Stinson (19 points) hit four long ones

Catherine Stinson (19 points) hit four long ones

LE had unanswered runs of nine points and eleven points during the closing twelve minutes.  Beverly was held to just four points in the final quarter.

The individual skills of the LE players were impressive.  They could dribble their way into good shots.  They could move without the ball to get open.

Then you add 1000-point scorer Catherine Stinson to the mix.  She had four 3’s and three layups.

Lynn English has had only one close game this season and that was their 59-51 win over St. Mary’s on December 28th.

Last year the Bulldogs were upset in the Division 1 North quarterfinals by Andover.  In that win, Andover made three’s and got several LE starters into foul trouble.

Lynn English is 59-6 over the past 2+ years.

Another thing about Lynn English that caught my attention was their lack of emotion.  Nothing seemed to change about their demeanor whether they were behind early in this game or cruising to victory later on.

Very small crowd of spectators watched this game.  At times it was so quiet that if you closed your eyes you might have thought you were in the Beverly Public Library.

Makayla Everette (10 points) gets inside

Makayla Everette (10 points) gets inside

Makayla Everette (10 points) was the fourth Bulldog in double figures.

Beverly had twenty-two turnovers while Lynn English had fourteen by my unofficial count.

Last time I was in the Beverly Fieldhouse they had stands set up under each basket.

Beverly’s next game is at Revere on Tuesday (5:30PM).  LE visits Lynn Classical on the same night.

Lynn English box

Beverly box

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

Deidra Newson gets two

Deidra Newson gets two

Bridget Keaton (12 points)

Bridget Keaton (12 points)

Diondra Woumn defends

Diondra Woumn defends

Bulldogs double-team

Bulldogs double-team

Catherine Stinson guards Melissa Lubas

Catherine Stinson guards Melissa Lubas

Michayla Woodward guards Deidra Newson (16 points)

Michayla Woodward guards Deidra Newson (16 points)

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Filed under Beverly, Lynn English

Speedy Pentucket runs away from Triton 59-39

Jeff Porter (13 points) gets one of many Pentucket breakaways

Jeff Porter (13 points) gets one of many Pentucket breakaways

Will Sullivan (9 points) gets inside Jake Gilbert for two

Will Sullivan (9 points) gets inside Jake Gilbert for two

(West Newbury MA)  No catching the Sachems on this night!

Pentucket (7-9) was way too fast as they defeated Triton, 59-39, on Thursday night in Cape Ann League action ending a three-game losing streak.

Triton (4-12) did not shoot very well most of the evening and it seemed as if every time the Vikings missed, Pentucket would break away for layups down the other end.

The Sachems jumped out 7-0 and never trailed.

In the second quarter the Pentucket advantage would reach sixteen (22-6) before Corey Parsons (14 points) hit two three’s in the last 1 1/2 minutes to cut the Sachems margin to eight (28-20).

I anticipated a competitive game in the second half and suspected that Triton would get closer.  If the Vikings could start making shots and stop getting caught in the frontcourt on misses, things could turn around.  Unfortunately for the visitors, the second half was way too similar to the first half.

Ryan Kuchar tries to drive on Jack Germinara

Ryan Kuchar tries to drive on Jack Germinara

Pentucket started the second half with eleven straight points.  Jeff Porter (13 points) had three layups in the run including one on an inbounds play.

Meanwhile, during this same stretch, Coach Dave Clay of Triton burned his fourth timeout and pulled his starters.  However, on this night, there was nothing that the Triton coaching staff could do to turn this one around.

Corey Parson’s three put the Triton deficit at twenty-two (44-25) with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The next five minutes of playing time were all Pentucket (again).  The Sachems put nine unanswered points together and led, 53-25, with 5+ minutes left in the game.

Corey Parsons (14 points) lines up a three

Corey Parsons (14 points) lines up a three

The Vikings bunched eleven points into the last three minutes to lessen the Pentucket spread to 59-39 when this one was over.

The lights dimmed in the first quarter because of a power outage in another part of West Newbury.  Three nights ago in the same gymnasium, the lights went out because someone pulled the wrong switch in the Masconomet girls’ locker room.

Eleven players scored for Pentucket.  Jake Bortdeiano and Will Sullivan had nine apiece.

There will be a rematch between the two teams next Monday at Triton.

Triton hosts Newburyport tomorrow.  A number of Clippers were on hand checking out the Vikings against Pentucket.

Pentucket hosts North Reading tomorrow.

Pentucket box

Triton box

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

Khalil Brito gets into Pentucket traffic

Khalil Brito gets into Pentucket traffic

Jeff Porter floats over Brad Whitman

Jeff Porter floats over Brad Whitman

The lights dimmed at Pentucket for the second time this week

The lights dimmed at Pentucket for the second time this week

tussle for a loose ball

tussle for a loose ball

Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark

Jake Bordeiano blocks Brad Whitman

Jake Bordeiano blocks Brad Whitman

Nick Venora finds and opening

Nick Venora finds and opening

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Filed under Pentucket, Triton

Masconomet barely beats Pentucket 39-38 to remain undefeated

McKenna Kilian (17 points) defends Nicky Femino (12 points)

McKenna Kilian (17 points) defends Nicky Femino (12 points)

Riley Holden faces defender Stephanie Mini in the closing seconds

Riley Holden faces defender Stephanie Mini in the closing seconds

(West Newbury MA) Pentucket had two shots in the lane in the last thirty seconds but came up empty and undefeated Masconomet (14-0) survived, 39-38, on Monday night in Cape Ann League action.

Hannah Kiernan’s free throw with thirty-six seconds left proved to be the game winner.

The Sachems (12-4) went down by six (38-32) with three minutes left.  However, tireless Kelsi McNamara (17 points) hit a runner in the lane, McKenna Kilian (17 points) made one of three free throw attempts, and Kelsi launched a game-tying three (38-38) with 1:06 left.

The momentum had clearly shifted to Pentucket.  I thought that Masco might be in trouble because they hadn’t been in a tight game all season plus this was only their fifth game on the road.

Hannah Kiernan gets to the basket

Hannah Kiernan gets to the basket

The Chieftains’ Hannah Kiernan got into the lane, got fouled, and gave Masco the point that decided this one with thirty-six seconds left.

Trust me, that lone point came close to not holding up the rest of the way.  First, McKenna Kilian misfired on a runner in the lane.  Then, after a Hannah Kiernan traveling violation, the Sachems were able to get back in the lane again.  This time it was Riley Holden’s chance but freshman Stephanie Mini blocked her shot with just a few seconds left.  The Chieftains were then able to run out the clock without giving Pentucket any more opportunities.

The Sachems had won eleven straight since a December 27th, 66-40, loss to Masconomet.

Masco’s last defeat was on March 2nd (2013) to Billerica (64-42) in the Division 1 quarterfinals.

Meghan Collins had the unenviable task of guarding Kelsi McNamara most of the game.  In almost every picture I took of Kelsi dribbling, there was not only Meghan but also one or two other Masco defenders ready to help.  What that defense did was to keep Kelsi from driving and either scoring or getting fouled.  Kelsi did, however, make the Chieftains pay by hitting shots from the outside.

Kelsi McNamara saw little daylight in the last minute

Kelsi McNamara saw little daylight in the last minute

I think that the key to the Masco win was their ability to keep Kelsi from getting another shot after she had tied the game from downtown with 1:06 left.

Pentucket had the lead or was tied into the fifth minutes of the second quarter.  Then a layup and two free throws by Nicky Femino (12 points) put Masco in front, 16-13.

A Kelsi McNamara three, a fall-back jumper by Kelsi, and two McKenna Kilian free throws put the home team back in front 20-16 with 1:43 left in the second period.  Pentucket led, 20-18, at the half.

I had a sense at halftime that Masco would pull away in the second half.  They had been able to get to the basket but not finish as often as they should.  Pentucket had shown only two scorers (McKenna Kilian & Kelsi McNamara) and if either cooled off matching points with Masco would be very tough.

Kelsi McNamara eyes the hoop

Kelsi McNamara eyes the hoop

The Chieftains moved ahead, 23-22, on a Nicky Femino long shot three minutes into the second half.  That lead would be extended to 34-27 on a buzzer-beating three by Amy Fogarty early in the fourth quarter.

McKenna Kilian brought the Sachems within two (34-32) with a three and a floater in the lane with six minutes left.

Stephanie Mini put in a layup (nice pass from Hannah Kiernan) and Nicky Femino got to the hoop for two putting Masco on top, 38-32, with three minutes remaining.

Then it was Kelsi and McKenna combining to tie the score before Hannah Kiernan’s free throw gave Masco a one-point win.

tongue tied

tongue tied

Looking ahead, I suspect that Pentucket will continue to struggle to score points.   I also suspect that every opponent they face will struggle against their defense.  The Sachems give the opposition little breathing room.  Do they have enough offense to defeat Division 2 teams in the tournament?

Division 1 Masco is legit.  The two things about them that impressed me in this game were their ability to get the ball to the basket and their gusto getting after rebounds.  In this game they had four second-chance baskets and nine scores on layups.

Masco will play five of their last six games away from home.  Undefeated?  The tournament at the end of the season at St. Mary’s could settle that especially if they get up against the powerhouse host team in it.

Masconomet box

Pentucket box

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

Kelsi McNamara breaks on Hannah Kiernan

Kelsi McNamara breaks on Hannah Kiernan

Stephanie Mini blocks Carolyn Penney

Stephanie Mini blocks Carolyn Penney

Kelsi McNamara and Meghan Collins

Kelsi McNamara and Meghan Collins

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Filed under Masconomet, Pentucket

Cold shooting Pingree falls to Governor’s Academy 53-46

Kam Nobles sends a pass to Matt Peart for a layup

Kam Nobles sends a pass to Matt Peart for a layup

Matt Peart (15 points) shoots over Alonzo Jackson and Kyle Lentini

Matt Peart (15 points) shoots over Alonzo Jackson and Kyle Lentini

(Byfield MA) Governor’s Academy took the lead for good with 7+ minutes left and defeated Pingree School, 53-46, on Saturday afternoon in non-league action.

There were five lead changes in the first half and the Highlanders (12-7) had a slim, 29-27, advantage at the half.

The turnover-prone Gov’s (13 in the first half) survived in the first half because junior Matt Peart (15 points) was a force at both ends.  Matt blocked shots and intimidated Pingree penetrators while getting eleven of his points in the first sixteen minutes.

Matt Peart converted a rebound to tie the score at 35-35 with just under twelve minutes left in the second half.  However, Kyle Lentini (16 points) was part of a Pingree push that had them ahead, 40-37, with 10:12 remaining.

Last year the Gov’s won, 58-57, at Pingree and this game looked, at this point, as if it was heading in the same direction.

It didn’t work out that way.

Justin Assad and Nick Osarenren (10 points)

Justin Assad and Nick Osarenren (10 points)

Sometimes there’s a basket in the game that turns the tide.  I think it was the go-ahead-for-good basket by freshman Nick Osarenren.  The Govs were very patient on most of their second-half possessions but on this key one, they were almost a little too patient.  Nick ended up with the ball on the left baseline and with everyone on the GA bench yelling for him to shoot he did and swished a jump shot as the 35-second clock went off.

Nick’s shot put GA (4-10) in front, 41-40, with 7+ minutes left.  The Highlanders had no scoring answers the rest of the way.  The visitors from Hamilton made just one outside shot (Justin Assad) in the second half.

The Govs put an 8-2 segment together and increased their advantage to 49-42 with just under three minutes left.

Pingree could not get closer than five points the rest of the way even though GA made only two of seven free throws in the final minute.

Kam Nobles (11 points) tries to go between Erik Fyrer and Griffin Beal

Kam Nobles (11 points) tries to go between Erik Fyrer and Griffin Beal

I was impressed with the play of GA point guard Kam Nobles.  Kam was the stabilizer against a persistent Pingree press and was the key to GA’s clock-eating offense down the stretch.  Kam collected eleven points including two 3’s.

Johnny Spears was back for Pingree and made a number of passes that “wowed” the sizable crowd.

Pingree benefited from a scorebook miscue early in the game.  Kyle Lentini ended up with a couple of extra free throws as a result.

Kyle had Pingree’s only three in the game.

Kyle Lentini (16 points) puts up a shot

Kyle Lentini (16 points) puts up a shot

Justin Assad had twelve points for Pingree.

Pingree’s next game is at Providence Country Day School on Friday, February 7th.

Governor’s will be at Brooks in their next action on Wednesday (7PM).

Governor’s box

Pingree box

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

Johnny Spears tries to get between two defenders

Johnny Spears tries to get between two defenders

Johnny Spears and Charles Odei

Johnny Spears and Charles Odei

Justin Assad gets an open look

Justin Assad gets an open look

Matt Peart blocks the shot of Kyle Lentini

Matt Peart blocks the shot of Kyle Lentini

Erik Fyrer (#5) deflects a shot

Erik Fyrer (#5) deflects a shot

heavy action under the basket

heavy action under the basket

Pat Davis

Pat Davis

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Filed under Governor's Academy, Pingree

Newtown holds off Joel Barlow 58-56 in South-West Conference action

Mike Davis (14 points) converts a rebound to give Newtown the lead for good.

Mike Davis (14 points) converts a rebound to give Newtown the lead for good.

Julian Dunn (22 points) shoots over Bryce Fey

Julian Dunn (22 points) shoots over Bryce Fey

(Newtown CT)  There was a tie and three lead changes in the last two minutes but at the end it was Newtown (8-5) hanging on to a 58-56 win over Joel Barlow (6-8) on Friday night in South-West Conference action.

The Falcons carried a 56-55 lead into the final 1:24 but had a missed shot, two turnovers, and a desperation heave at the very end to show for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, the Nighthawks were able to take the lead when Mike Davis (14 points) put back his own missed shot.  After a JB miss, Julian Dunn (22 points) made one of two free throws with fifty-five seconds left.  That resulting two-point bulge (58-56) turned out to be enough despite Newtown failing to ice the game by missing four free throws in a row after Julian’s made free throw.

Both teams had their moments before the exciting finish.

Newtown jumped ahead 14-7 in the first six minutes riding two 3’s by senior Brian Leblanc.

Will Menapace (15 points) launches a three

Will Menapace (15 points) launches a three

Then it was Joel Barlow’s turn to get carried from long range as Will Menapace (15 points) connected four times before halftime.  The outside accuracy was part of a 25-11 Falcons’ run that put the visitors from Redding in front 34-25 at the half.

The Nighthawks rallied early in the second half to get within four (37-33).  You had to think that Newtown’s luck might have changed for the better when the last three points were off a 3-pointer off the backboard by Troy Frangione.

However this was a game where the direction you thought it was heading could quickly change.  Instead of wilting under the Newtown charge, the Falcons put nine unanswered points together.  Meanwhile, the Nighthawks put a string of turnovers together (four) and trailed 46-33 with 1:43 left in the third quarter.

Newtown certainly looked to be in trouble but over the next 4+ minutes of playing time, stretching into the final quarter, it was their turn to be in control.  The Nighthawks constructed a 16-4 segment, led by two 3’s (Brian Leblanc) and eight points on the inside by Julian Dunn.

When that dust cleared, Newtown had taken the lead, 49-48, with 4:25 to go in the game.

Will Bracken

Will Bracken

But credit Joel Barlow.  Before you knew it the momentum had changed and they were back in front, 56-55, with 1:24 left after three-point plays by Will Bracken and Will Menapace.

That set up the exciting finish.

Key to the win was the blanket defense Troy Frangione put on first-half shooting star Will Menapace in the second half.  Will had trouble getting the ball never mind shooting it.  He did, however, make a huge three that gave JB it’s last lead.

A key basket in Newtown’s second-half, 16-4, burst came after a wild 3-point attempt by Brian Leblanc ended up in the layup-producing hands of teammate Julian Dunn.  Trust me, there was no assist involved.

Junior John Tucker had eleven points for Joel Barlow.

Jake Ball only scored four points for Newtown but both layups came in the final three minutes of the game.

Newtown has now won eight of their last nine games after an 0-4 start.

Troy Frangione double-teamed

Troy Frangione double-teamed

Joel Barlow had now lost four of their last five games.

JB will host Weston on February 4th (Tuesday 7PM) while Newtown visits New Milford on the same day and at the same time.

Joel Barlow was 7-13 last year missing the Class M tournament by one game.

I tell people that they need to come to a Newtown home basketball game just to see what their cheerleaders and dance teams can do.  Tonight was no different although I suspect both squads were hedging their bets in this game because of serious competitions tomorrow.

Is there a good reason why programs aren’t produced?

Mike Davis and Julian Dunn ran some excellent give-and-goes for Newtown.

Newtown box

Joel Barlow box

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

Julian Dunn and Zach Pompea

Julian Dunn and Zach Pompea

Adam Koubeck in heavy Newtown traffic

Adam Koubeck in heavy Newtown traffic

Brian Leblanc (12 points)

Brian Leblanc (12 points)

Mike Davis

Mike Davis

Zach Pompea breaks ahead

Zach Pompea breaks ahead

Newtown performers

Newtown performers

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Filed under Joel Barlow, Newtown