Monthly Archives: February 2016

Amesbury routs Charlestown 83-40 in D3 North First Round

Flannery O'Connor on her way to two of her twenty-seven points

Flannery O’Connor on her way to two of her twenty-seven points

Maddie Napoli (11 points) gets past Keila Derosa

Maddie Napoli (11 points) gets past Keila Derosa

(Amesbury MA) No contest.

Amesbury (11-8) jumped on visiting Charlestown (8-9) early and often on their way to an 83-40 win in the First Round of the D3 North tournament on Monday night.

The Townies brought only six players and the Indians were quick to apply as much pressure as possible in an attempt to wear the visitors down.

Amesbury harassed Charlestown into twelve first-quarter turnovers and put up the game’s first nineteen points. AHS had those 19 points in the first 3 ½ minutes. Maddie Napoli (11 points) hit a three in the breakaway segment but everything else came from high-percentage, inside attempts.

Amesbury coach Matt Willis, in an act of early mercy in my opinion, pulled off full-court pressure with the nineteen points lead and Charlestown got a chance to show how they won eight games in the Boston City League.

Rae Miles-Willis (28 points) puts up a floater in the lane

Rae Miles-Willis (28 points) puts up a floater in the lane

Charlestown mounted a bit of a comeback and the sizable home crowd got a good look at the Townies Rae Miles-Willis (28 points) and her ability to dribble in traffic and put up shots in traffic. The junior lefty didn’t launch long ones but connected on a variety of pull-up jumpers inside the arc.

Rae’s offense, twelve points in the second quarter, enabled Charlestown to trail only, 39-22, at the half.

In the third quarter things went seriously downhill for the Townies. Amesbury collected thirty-two points (that’s four per minute!) on one layup after another. The miscues mounted for C’Town and the Indians had numerous breakaways.

Freshman Flannery O’Connor (27 points) ran her own personal layup drill getting ahead of the pack or loose underneath for ten baskets in the third quarter alone.

By then this game was begging for a basketball mercy rule like softball has. The point separation did give Coach Willis a chance to give all of his players tournament experience.

Leslie Del Carman (20), Zedekzka Berlingeri (14), and Stephany Rodriguez (21)

Leslie Del Carman (20), Zedekzka Berlingeri (14), and Stephany Rodriguez (21)

#7 seed Amesbury will now take on #2 seed Bishop Fenwick at St. John’s Prep (Danvers) on Friday night (7PM). The Indians will have their hands full in that one.

Charlestown ended their season losing seven of their last nine games.

Amesbury finished 7-2 at home. Good turnout in support of the Indians including the boys basketball team. The boys play at home on Wednesday against Saugus.

The Indians shot well from the outside early on but cooled off significantly during the last three quarters. They will definitely need outside shooting against a tall Bishop Fenwick team.

Flannery O’Connor, Megan Reid (12 points), and Julie LaMontagne (12 points) were strong on the boards for Amesbury.

Charlestown finished winless against the Cape Ann League in five attempts. None of the games, including tonight’s, were close. #1 seed North Reading had 71-20 and 59-19 victories over the Townies.

Amesbury boxscore

Charlestown boxscore

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

Rae Miles-Willis guarded by the entire Amesbury team

Rae Miles-Willis guarded by the entire Amesbury team

Abbie Sartori

Abbie Sartori

Game on!

Game on!

Maddie Napoli guards Rae Miles-Willis

Maddie Napoli guards Rae Miles-Willis

Maddie Napoli gets a layup

Maddie Napoli gets a layup

Rae Miles-Willis

Rae Miles-Willis

Flannery O'Connor in heavy Charlestown traffic

Flannery O’Connor in heavy Charlestown traffic

Julie LaMontagne (12 points)

Julie LaMontagne (12 points)

Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O’Connor

Rae Miles-Willis shoots in the lane

Rae Miles-Willis shoots in the lane

Zoe Fitzgerald

Zoe Fitzgerald

Abbie Sartori and Maddie Napoli chase Rae Miles-Willis

Abbie Sartori and Maddie Napoli chase Rae Miles-Willis

Megan Reid (12 points)

Megan Reid (12 points)

 

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Falmouth breezes to Class A title defeating Oceanside 59-28

Falmouth ( 2016 Maine Class A state champs)

Falmouth ( 2016 Maine Class A state champs)

Thomas Coyne (16 points) in for two of them

Thomas Coyne (16 points) in for two of them

(Portland ME) Falmouth 59, Oceanside 28.

Sometimes the final score is misleading but not this time.

The Falmouth Yachtsmen (18-4) captured the Class A Gold Ball in as convincing a fashion as the final score suggests.

Trust me, no one, even from Rockland/Thomaston, left the Cross Arena wondering which was the better team on this sunny Saturday afternoon in Portland.

The Yachtsmen featured an offense that generated high-percentage shots and a defense that refused to allow the Mariners to beat them from long range.

The Mariners (16-6) had sailed (I couldn’t resist!) to the finals successfully dialing long-distance against three opponents in the tournament. The video was out there on the web showing the record-setting thirty 3-pointers put together by Oceanside.

But on this afternoon the wide-open three’s disappeared for the #5 seed. Why? Falmouth did not get too far away from Oceanside’s perimeter shooters even when the ball went behind them closer to the basket. No question it certainly helped Falmouth to have size and shot-blocking abilities near the basket.

Sam Skop helped close off the interior to Oceanside

Sam Skop helped close off the interior to Oceanside

Senior Nick Mazurek (6’3”) was an inside scorer who had missed all five of Oceanside’s regular-season losses. On this afternoon, Nick had the ball several times in close but Sam Skop (6’5”) did not go for fakes and blocked several of Nick’s shots in the early going.

As Oceanside struggled to get good looks Falmouth had ball-handlers who could penetrate and get good shots or find wide-open teammates.

Falmouth took a 4-3 lead (6:41) and then did the only scoring the rest of the first quarter. The Mariners missed all ten shots they tried in the drought, including four three’s. That 15-3 first quarter deficit rose to 23-8 at the half. Oceanside could make only 3-of-25 shots in that disastrous half.

You wanted to think that something might be different in the third quarter and Oceanside would make a game of it. Not so, today. If there is such a word as “worser” this would be the time to apply it to the Mariners’ third quarter!

In the third quarter the Falmouth high-percentage-shot offense got better (six layups – five of them assisted) while the Oceanside offense (five turnovers) collected only seven points.

Keenan Hendricks dials long distance

Keenan Hendricks dials long distance

That bad combination allowed Falmouth’s lead to enlarge to twenty-seven (42-15) after three quarters. There would be no good-to-the-last-shot happenings in the Class A boys’ finals today.

The nice thing about this game being decided early was that the benches get to be cleared. Everyone on each roster played in the Class A championship game.

I expected to see some impressive 3-point shooting today but it never happened. What probably kept the game from getting out of hand even earlier was that Falmouth was only 2-for-14 from beyond the arc. On this day, however, the Yachtsmen had more than enough accuracy closer to the basket. They shot 19-of-34 (59%) inside the arc.

Tough day for all the Mariners, maybe toughest on their top player Keenan Hendricks. Keenan (I have seen his workout video) could never get his offense going and when trying to set up offense elsewhere committed seven turnovers. The defense of Thomas Coyne on Keenan certainly was a factor.

Four of the Yachtsmen reached double figures.

Plenty of excitement over the final game of Mr. Basketball finalist Thomas Coyne.

Coyne brothers (Colin and Thomas)

Coyne brothers (Colin and Thomas)

The Coyne brothers (Thomas and Colin) put on a synchronized, net-waving show after the game.

I have seen this before and saw it today; players with good outside shots putting up airballs. Why? The open space beyond the basket throws them off.

Very enthusiastic crowds for both teams. Credit the Oceanside folks for cheering long after this one had been settled.

I greatly appreciated the stats provided by MBR.ORG. Saves an awful lot of time.

Horse in the race. Cooper Wirkala is one of my sister’s grandsons. Cooper’s dad, Jim, was an all-state basketball player at Woodland High School.

Box from the game

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

Part of the Oceanside crowd

Part of the Oceanside crowd

Keenan Hendricks leads the Mariners onto the court

Keenan Hendricks leads the Mariners onto the court

Thomas Coyne defends inbounds pass

Thomas Coyne defends inbounds pass

Matthew Wulbrecht in alone

Matthew Wulbrecht in alone

Key matchup - Thomas Coyne guarded by Keenan Hendricks

Key matchup – Thomas Coyne guarded by Keenan Hendricks

Andrew King takes a charge

Andrew King takes a charge

battle for a rebound

battle for a rebound

Thomas Coyne goes out-of-bounds

Thomas Coyne goes out-of-bounds

Cooper Wirkala covers Thomas Coyne

Cooper Wirkala covers Thomas Coyne

Colin Coyne (11 points)

Colin Coyne (11 points)

Matthew Wulbrecht (14 points) finds space in a double-team

Matthew Wulbrecht (14 points) finds space in a double-team

Sam Atwood with room

Sam Atwood with room

Thomas Coyne looks for an opening

Thomas Coyne looks for an opening

Coyne brothers with the Gold Ball

Coyne brothers with the Gold Ball

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North Reading defeats Triton 41-31 to gain share of CAL Kinney Division title

North Reading: 2015-16 Cape Ann League Kinney Division co-champs

North Reading: 2015-16 Cape Ann League Kinney Division co-champs

Jess Lezon (19 points) defended by Tessa Lafrance (13 points)

Jess Lezon (19 points) defended by Tessa Lafrance (13 points)

(Byfield MA) North Reading is not going to have any problem with sharing.

The Hornets (18-2) rode Jess Lezon’s nineteen points to defeat Triton, 41-31, on Wednesday night. The win gives NR a share of the Cape Ann League Kinney Division title with Pentucket.

The Hornets haven’t had a CAL girls’ basketball title, shared or unshared, since 1993!

But the drought is over and NR now can get ready for the Division 3 tournament. The MIAA bracket will be released on Friday.

Triton (10-10) sealed their ride to the Division 2 tourney with a recent win over Everett.

The visitors took the lead for good (5-4) just three minutes into the game on a three by senior Julia McDonald.

Jess Lezon (6’5”) drew plenty of Vikings defenders wherever she was. The Yale commit dominated the second quarter with eleven points getting terrific feeds from teammates. North Reading led 28-15 at halftime.

Jess Lezon gets a layup over Abby Ostrander

Jess Lezon gets a layup over Abby Ostrander

Junior Tessa Lafrance had thirteen points and defended Jess Lezon. Her problem? Foul trouble. If there is such a thing as a foul magnet, Tessa was it. Triton coach Dan Boyle was forced to keep the 6’ junior on the bench for half of the second quarter and didn’t start her in the 3rd quarter. Tough place to have your top scorer and your best defensive matchup against Jess Lezon.

The Vikings were able to chop some points off the NR halftime advantage in the second half. After an Erin Savage three, Triton got as close as they would get, 36-29, with three minutes left.

A couple of things that caught my eye in this game were: Triton played some serious defense, and North Reading did not force the ball inside but passed into open shots on the perimeter.

The Vikings constantly applied pressure and were quick enough to be able to take chances and recover defensively. They jumped passing/dribbling lanes and forced thirteen turnovers by my count.

North Reading wasn’t shy about taking three’s, especially wide open ones. And there were quite a few available because Triton did everything they could to deny passes inside. One thing that worked several times for NR was quick breakouts. Several times when the break didn’t produce a good shot they were able to hit Jess Lezon rolling down the lane.

Triton seniors honored before their last home game

Triton seniors honored before their last home game

Triton seniors (Morgan Snow, Hannah Clark, Jessica Greaney, and Abby Ostrander) were honored before the game.

The Hornets have won five straight and sixteen of their last seventeen. They could be the top seed in the Division 3 North.

NR’s two losses were against Pentucket and Newburyport. Both of those teams are in Division 2.

Pentucket coach John McNamara was in the house.

Last time I saw the North Reading girls in action was at Manning Field in Lynn when they won the Division 3 North soccer title.

Two weeks ago North Reading defeated Triton, 51-36, at home. Jess had twenty in that game while Carly Swartz had seventeen.

Jess scored her 1000th point on February 11th.

Morgan Snow on the move

Morgan Snow on the move

The Hornets are now a man-to-man team. They have nine seniors on their roster.

Being courtside I catch things that are said on the court. I also get a glimpse of facial reactions. At one point Jess Lezon was covering Mel Primpas. The height discrepancy was very noticeable. Hannah Clark had the ball on the wing and Mel backed down on the block with Jess behind her. Hannah saw the mismatch and smiled.

Box score Triton

Box score North Reading

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

Tessa Lafrance gets her 5th foul

Tessa Lafrance gets her 5th foul

Jess Lezon looks for a pass

Jess Lezon looks for a pass

Erin Savage guarded by Julia McDonald

Erin Savage guarded by Julia McDonald

Katie Welch (#5) covers Tessa Lafrance (#20)

Katie Welch (#5) covers Tessa Lafrance (#20)

Pentucket coach John McNamara does some scouting

Pentucket coach John McNamara does some scouting

Morgan Snow shoots over Carly Swartz

Morgan Snow shoots over Carly Swartz

Halftime entertainment

Halftime entertainment

 

 

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North Reading (15-1) wins a close one from Triton 79-75

Adam Goldstein (28 points) fires a three that gave North Reading a four-point lead in the final minute

Adam Goldstein (28 points) fires a three that gave North Reading a four-point lead in the final minute

Adam Baletsa (17 points) put on a dazzling long-range show in the final quarter

Adam Baletsa (17 points) put on a dazzling long-range show in the final quarter

(Byfield MA) North Reading (15-1) withstood Triton’s 30-point final quarter in edging the Vikings, 79-75, on Tuesday night in Cape Ann League action.

The Hornets had a sixteen-point lead (63-47) one minute into the final quarter and had just put twenty-four points together in the third quarter. Their lead looked comfortable.

But less than two minutes later Adam Baletsa (17 points) put new meaning to the word “hot” when it comes to shooting. The Vikings senior drained four 3’s during this sizzling segment. Combined with teammate Will Parsons, who had a three of his own, Triton long-shot its way to trailing only 64-62.

Four different times the rest of the way Triton was within two. In the last minute the home team was within one (74-73) and had the ball but on this night the shot to tie, or go ahead, never clicked.

Key player for North Reading? Easily it was senior Adam Goldstein (28 points). He was huge in the last minute. Clinging to a one-point lead in that final minute the Hornets passed around the perimeter before Justin Dorosh set up Adam for a straightaway long one. Swish! Now up by four. Eric Rybicki got in for a layup and Triton was within two points with fifteen seconds left. Adam was quickly fouled and calmly sank both free throws and the lead was back to four. Triton missed two shots on their final possession and NR had the win.

Tough loss for the Vikings (8-9). They have now dropped five of their last six.

They will get another chance against North Reading in two weeks at North Reading.

John McCarthy (19 points) drove whenever he saw an opening

John McCarthy (19 points) drove whenever he saw an opening

The steady flow of accurate 3-pointers at the start of the final quarter was followed by a run of points (eleven) by hard-driving John McCarthy (19 points). With North Reading limiting space to Triton’s 3-point threats on the perimeter, room opened up for John. He was either fouled or made a layup in possession after possession to keep Triton within range of the lead down the stretch.

Both defenses applied plenty of pressure but the turnovers (14 for Triton, 12 for North Reading) offset each other.

NR caught Triton not getting back on defense a number of times for easy shots. There also were several instances where the Hornets had wide open 3-pointers. Two of Adam Goldstein’s three’s were uncontested. That is what you call living dangerously on defense!

I am not a big fan of the 3-point shot but after seeing the way Triton used it to stay with the top team in the CAL I better understand why coaches encourage it.

Adam Goldstein sank two clutch free throws in the final seconds

Adam Goldstein sank two clutch free throws in the final seconds

Adam Goldstein not only scored 28 points but he also rebounded well and blocked several shots.

Not playing for NR was Anthony Eldridge. The junior dislocated his shoulder in January.

The Hornets took the lead for good in the second period. The visitors broke away from a 26-26 tie as Adam Goldstein scored nine unanswered points: a free throw, a layup, and two 3-pointers.

The NR lead reached eighteen (58-40) in the last two minutes of the third quarter.

In the midst of a timeout late in the game after Triton moved to within one possession of the lead, NR coach Joe Casey was heard to say, “You’re the best team in the league, settle in and play like it.”

Justin Dorosh guarded by Luke Reiniger

Justin Dorosh guarded by Luke Reiniger

North Reading won 60-56 at Triton a year ago.

The Hornets only loss this season has been to Masco. The Chieftains took them to overtime in their first meeting.

The last time I saw a North Reading team play was in the Division 3 North girls soccer finals against Bishop Fenwick at Manning Field in Lynn. Happy day for the NR girls.

Next game for Triton is Thursday at Pentucket. North Reading hosts one of their biggest rivals (Lynnfield) on the same evening.

Triton box

North Reading box

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

Adam Goldstein (28 points)

Adam Goldstein (28 points)

Mike McCauley eyes the basket

Mike McCauley eyes the basket

Game on!

Game on!

Adam Baletsa (#1) steps back from the three that brough Triton within two of the lead

Adam Baletsa (#1) steps back from the three that brought Triton within two of the lead

Erick Rybicki floats to the hoop

Erick Rybicki floats to the hoop

Khalil Brito chased by Mike McCauley

Khalil Brito chased by Mike McCauley

John McCarthy (19 points)

John McCarthy (19 points)

Battle in the paint

Battle in the paint

Mike McCauley drives into Eric Rybicki

Mike McCauley drives into Eric Rybicki

 

 

 

 

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