(Newburyport MA) Newburyport (3-8) made four straight free throws in the final twenty-six seconds to defeat Georgetown, 50-47, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.
Morgan Johnston (21 points) led the Clippers’ inside approach that accounted for every field goal except Kaitlin Ahern’s jumper in the second quarter. I don’t recall NHS even attempting a 3-pointer.
Georgetown, on the other hand, was willing to fire from long-range on every opportunity. They connected nine times from beyond the arc including two times in the final thirty-two seconds. The Royals Cayla Durkee missed a game-tying three with a second left.
Five different G’town players had 3-pointers. Junior Maya Spence (17 points) clicked from downtown three times.
The Clippers got off to a terrific start (10-0) and later late in the third quarter had a comfortable, 41-28, advantage. But Cayla Durkee and Maya Spence hit three’s in the final minute of the third quarter to give the visitors some life going into the last quarter.
Georgetown (5-5) turned up the defensive heat in the final quarter and things started getting real interesting. Twelve turnovers (that is not a misprint!) later the Newburyport lead was just two (46-44) after Rory Donoghue nailed a three with thirty-two seconds left.
At this point, the Clippers had struggled mightily at the free throw line making only 8-of-22. It made perfect sense for Georgetown to foul. They did and sent Emily Pettigrew to the line. Emily had missed three of her last four attempts but with twenty-six seconds left made two straight. Newburyport now up by four (48-44).
The Royals went looking for a three and found one from Isabel Block with thirteen second remaining. Georgetown within one (48-47).
Newburyport inbounded the ball successfully to Emily Pettigrew. Inbounding was not a sure thing with twelve NHS turnovers already committed in the quarter. I am quite sure Newburyport coach Gregg Dollas wanted Emily shooting foul shots in a one-point game but she passed the ball back to Morgan Johnston. Morgan was quickly fouled.
Morgan had missed five of her last six free throws but in a one-point game with nine seconds left she swished both attempts. Those make’s gave Newburyport a three-point lead that held up when G’town’s final shot missed.
The Clippers ended a three-game losing streak. They will resume playing next Friday at Amesbury.
A likely reason for Georgetown’s poor start was losing starter Rory Donoghue after less than two minutes with two fouls. Rory had fifteen points and sixteen rebounds in the G’town win over Hamilton-Wenham.
Morgan Johnston set up close to the basket and was able to spin either way to get high-percentage shots. Emily Pettigrew stayed away from the basket and that gave Morgan room to operate. Most of Morgan’s baskets were assisted baskets.
Morgan scored the first basket in every quarter and the last two points of the game.
Emily Pettigrew had fifteen points for NHS. Kayla Durkee added ten for the Royals.
The 12 turnovers by the Clippers in the final quarter were a big surprise after they had only three miscues in the entire first half.
Georgetown was 6-of-13 from the foul line.
Newburyport scored the first ten points in the first half and the first seven points in the second half. Georgetown never led but did tie the score, 26-26, on a three (Maya Spence) in the last minute of the first half.
The Royals’ next game is Sunday (10AM) at Saugus.
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