Monthly Archives: February 2018

Newburyport gets past Lynn Tech 67-63 after twenty-four lead changes

The Clippers begin to celebrate their win over Lynn Tech

Casey McLaren led all scorers with thirty points.

(Newburyport MA) A year ago, in the same gym and on the same date, the Clippers led Lynn Tech 30-5 at halftime and won easily, 70-36.

Believe me, that was then.

Tonight, the Lynn Tigers did everything but win versus the same Clippers.

The final was 67-63 and there was little to choose between the two teams in this first-round battle in Division 3 North.

Both teams were 13-7 coming in and it took a coin toss to determine where this game would be held.

How close was the game itself?  How about seven ties.  How about TWENTY-FOUR lead changes! There were at least five lead changes in every quarter.

Both teams had high-scoring weapons.  Casey McLaren (30 points) and his brother Parker (17 points) paced Newburyport while Robert Wallace (25 points) and Belmin Berilo (22 points) led the Tigers.

The last tie was 63-63 with 2:22 left in the game.

Casey McLaren stretches the NHS lead to four points with this jump shot in front of the student section.

The Clippers pulled in front, 65-63, on a George Coryell layup set up by Parker McLaren.  After an empty LT possession, Casey McLaren nailed a jump shot from the foul line area with 1:27 to go that sealed this one for the home team.

No doubt Lynn Tech was exhausted down the stretch.  In the final minute the Clippers ate the clock on two different occasions with LT unable to foul to stop the clock.

“Casey played terrific,” said Coach Dave Clay afterwards.  “He has incredible instincts for the game.”

Casey had six three’s, getting at least one in each quarter.

His top crowd-pleasing moment?  A steal in the final quarter that he turned into the only dunk of the game.

Plenty of defense played by both squads.

Robert Wallace led the Tigers with twenty-five points

“We needed to get the ball to the middle of the court and then look opposite,” explained Coach Clay on how to handle the press.  “However, Lynn Tech was so well-coached that it was hard to do.”

The Clippers (14-7) will next face top-seed St. Mary’s on Thursday.

Newburyport led 21-20 after one quarter.  Lynn Tech led 35-34 after two quarters.  Newburyport led 53-52 after three quarters.  There just was no true separation!

LT coach Stevie Patrick took his team to the locker room after the game without having his team participate in the normal post-game hand shaking.  I’m not sure what that was about.

The Clippers had been 3-4 in February before tonight’s win.

Lynn Tech was 7-14 last season.  You talk about improvement!

Lynn Tech box

Newburyport box

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

Casey McLaren blocks a shot

Belmin Berilo

Tre Baldwin guarded by Casey McLaren

Belmin Berilo (22 points) gets free

George Coryell

Jama Aroni chases Casey McLaren

Parker McLaren (17 points tries to drive on Tre Baldwin

Jama Aroni

Ryan Archie looks to pass

 

 

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Newburyport moves on with 59-47 win over Tewksbury

Clippers celebrate a tourney win

Anna Hickman (17 points) gets an open look

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport wins their Division 2 North tourney opener, 59-47, over Tewksbury on Monday night at Newburyport.

The Clippers were led by Anna Hickman (17 points) and Krysta Padellaro (13 points).

“I thought that we played great once we settled in,” said NHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.

The Clippers (15-6) went down 12-6 early but recovered to get the lead (15-14) for good at the end of the first quarter on Katie Hadden’s 3-point, buzzer beater.

Both teams pressed but fouls took their toll on the Redmen.  “We got off to a great start with pressure,” said Redmen coach Mark Bradley, “and then fouls got us out of it.”

Izzy Picher corrals a loose ball

Newburyport got points from everyone that played.  An eight-to-two run in the second quarter had points from Abi Gillingham, Anna Hickman, Maggie Pons, and Krysta Padellaro.  That run put NHS ahead, 28-19, with two minutes left in the second quarter.

Credit Tewksbury.  Down they were but not out.  With 2 ½ minutes to go in the third quarter the Redmen were only trailing, 34-32.  Haley Mignon and senior Izzy Picher posted five points each during the comeback.

“It was a one-possession game,” recalled Tewksbury coach Mark Bradley, “and then they went on a run.  We had some critical turnovers.”

Newburyport, meanwhile, put points together led by senior Krysta Padellaro.  “Krysta was very good tonight,” said Coach Dollas.  “She passed well and didn’t try to do too much.”

Allie Wild (15) and Krysta Padellaro (15)

The Clippers would put a 13-2 segment together by the six-minute mark of the final quarter.  Krysta was a key participant. She started things with a turn-two.  The “two” part wasn’t easy because shot blocker Allie Wild was with her step-for-step on the race to the other end.  Krysta was clever enough to jam on her brakes and up-fake just before shooting and that gave her space to finish the layup as Allie ran by her.

Krysta also added two free throws and a 3-pointer in this crucial segment.

The Redmen (12-9) could get no closer than eight over the final six minutes.

Julia Cafferty (14 points) paced the Redmen getting nine of those points in the first half.

Erin Gallella finished with ten points.  Her twin sister Lizzie missed the game with an illness.

Anna Hickman finished with seventeen points.  Her ability to make three’s, runners, and layups makes her tough to guard.

There were a number of defenses used in this game.  I thought that Newburyport’s trapping defense was the most effective.

The Redmen had four turnovers after they pulled with two points of the Clippers in the third quarter.

Ahead for Newburyport is Pentucket.  “After we lost to them a second time we said we wanted another chance at them and now we’re going to get it,” said Coach Dollas.

Haley Mignon (23) hustles back to prevent a layup

Hustle play of the game?  After one of several Krysta Padellaro steals, it looked like an easy layup for Krysta but Haley Mignon raced to the other end and not only deflected the layup attempt but also didn’t foul.

Paige Gouldthorpe did a powerful job (as usual) with the National Anthem.

Newburyport box

Tewksbury box

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

Katie Hadden dribbles against pressure

Erin Gallella (10 points) tries the lane

Battle for a rebound

Allie Wild (15) blocks Anna Hickman’s shot

Alexis Polimeno (3), Katie Hadden (11), and Izzy Picher (32) watch a free throw attempt

Julia Cafferty (14 points) guards Krysta Padellaro

Allie Wild guards Katie Hadden

Krysta Padellaro sets to pass ahead to Anna Hickman

Sami Cavanaugh (5)

Anna Hickman shoots over Kiley Tibbetts

Krysta Padellaro gets in among four Redmen

Katie Hadden in the middle of three Redmen

 

 

 

 

 

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Lake Region gets Class B South title 42-34 over Freeport

The reality of the Lakers win sets in as Chandler True dribbles out the clock

Chandler True (15 points) get two of them in the first half

(Portland ME) Was it great defense?

Was it off shooting?

Who’s to know for sure but Freeport struggled mightily trying to score against Lake Region in the second half and lost in the Class B South finals to the Lakers, 42-34, on Saturday afternoon.

“I can’t comprehend that were going to be in the states,” said LR coach Paul True afterwards.

While the Falcons (16-5) had shooting woes (2-for-26 in the second half) the Lakers (16-5) had their own problem: turnovers.

The team from Naples had twenty-five miscues, including seven in the 4th quarter and as a result a comfortable, 37-24, lead with 7:23 remaining in the 4th quarter melted to 38-34 with fifty second left.

Shauna Hancock hits two important free throws in the last minute

But then LR freshman (Shauna Hancock) stopped the Falcons comeback with huge plays on both ends of the court.  First, she cashed two pressure-laden free throws and then she created a turnover with a steal.  Freeport momentum was ended, and the Lakers settled in for the victory.

Chandler True was chosen MVP in the B South tournament.  Chandler led all scorers with fifteen points including ten in the second half.

You may have seen the bumper sticker: Ask me about my grandchildren.  We love to talk about them.  Just tee us up to do it!  When asked about his daughter being MVP, Coach True fluctuated between beaming and being teary-eyed.  “She’s a great kid,” were the best words he could put together to describe Chandler.

Both teams applied pressure wherever they could.  Freeport coach Mike Hart reportedly said that the Lakers’ defense was “everywhere.”

Shauna Hancock (12) reaches for a pass

Both defenses begged the opponent to throw a long pass, which they often intercepted.

Both defenses also cluttered the middle.  Drives met multiple defenders most of the afternoon.

Double-teams showed up regularly.

The Lakers were able to tally several breakaway baskets.

A 14-4 third quarter gave the Lakers separation.  Three’s by Chandler True and Rachel Shanks (11 points) were big shots for LR in that segment.

It took the Falcons five minutes before they put up any points in the 3rd period.  Megan Cormier ended the point famine with a jumper.

Coach True marveled at the parity of the B South teams: “Any number of teams from our conference could have been where we are now.”

Caroline Smith paced Freeport with ten points.

Reaching the B South finals was historic for Freeport.  Last time they were there? 1977!

Taylor Rinalde (14) tries to turn the corner on Lauren Jakobs

Lake Region and Freeport faced each other on February 2nd at Naples.  The Falcons took that one 59-47.  I saw an interview that Chandler True did on that game.  She said that LR was up by ten points in the 3rd quarter and then got into foul trouble and lost.

Freeport’s Allie Goodman had twenty-two points in the first meeting while teammate Caroline Smith recorded eighteen points.  Three + weeks later the Lakers defense held Allie to six and Caroline to four.

The Lakers had to defeat the defending Class B state champs (Gray-New Gloucester) to reach today’s finals.

Lake Region will play Winslow in Bangor on Friday night for the title.

Lauren Jakobs had nine rebounds and seven points for LR.

Thanks to Rivalries for supplying me with the stats for this game.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Chandler True goes where shots get blocked

Brooke Harriman (3) looks for a pass

Lauren Jakobs on a breakaway

Lauren Jakobs (7 points and nine rebounds)

Lakers celebrate

Lake Region huddle

Aisley Sturk (24), Lauren Jakobs (22), Megan Cormier (13), Allie Goodman (22)

Rachel Shanks (11 points) defended by Allie Goodman (22)

Shauna Hancock back on defense against Caroline Smith (20)

Chandler True (tourney MVP)

Freeport cheerleaders

 

 

 

 

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Bishop Fenwick edges Masco 33-32 in defensive struggle

Jennie Meagher blocks the final shot of the game

Bishop Fenwick celebrates the win

(Beverly MA) “This game literally came down to the last possession,” said Bishop Fenwick coach Adam DeBaggis afterwards.

The Crusaders needed a stop against Masco and they got it to preserve a 33-32 win on Monday night in the finals of the McIntire Classic.

Mak Graves dribbled out Masco’s final fifteen seconds looking for an opportunity for some sort of shot but there were tall Crusaders inside and closely guarding Crusaders on the perimeter.  Mak ended up in the right corner with the tallest of the Crusader (Jennie Meagher) nearby and had her shot blocked as the game ended.

Sammi Gallant guarded by Mak Graves

“It was two tremendous defensive teams,” said Masco coach Bob Romeo.  “Every inch on the court was defended for thirty-two minutes. It came down to the play at the end.”

Junior Sammi Gallant had only three points but two of them were on a layup with twenty-one seconds left that turned out to be the game-winner.

“Unbelievable drive to the basket,” recalled Coach DeBaggis.  “Sammi’s so tough.  We hadn’t finished a number of drives, but we got that last one and it was huge.”

Close games have been part of the recent rivalry between the two teams. “Last year in the Xmas tournament we beat them 37-36,” said Coach DeBaggis.  “This year it was them 35-33, and now this game.”

Sammi Gallant tries to get by Cally McSweeney

The Crusaders (11-9) used a zone defense and had the size and quickness to protect the rim and the perimeter.  Masco was in a straight in-your-shirt, man-to-man defense.

BF was able to get to the foul line twenty-three times because of their willingness to drive to the hoop.  Another reason this game stayed close?  The Crusaders missed fourteen free throws.

The Chieftains had trouble getting good shots and got into trouble (twenty turnovers) forcing the ball in close to the basket.

There were twelve lead changes and six ties in this game.

Masco took a one-point lead (24-23) into the final quarter.

The team from Peabody ran the first seven points of the final quarter and led 30-24 with 3:21 remaining.  Liz Gonzalez had a layup and a free throw while Sammi Gallant added a free throw in this segment.  A crowd-pleasing three by senior Fredi DeGuglielmo ended the run of points for BF.

“We didn’t panic when we were down by six in the last quarter,” recalled Coach Romeo.

Morgan Bovardi (14 points) gives Masco the lead in the 4th quarter with this three

An NBA three by freshman Morgan Bovardi was followed by a Mak Graves steal that turned into two made free throws. Now down by one (30-29), Morgan put the team from Boxford in front with a three from in front of the Masco bench and suddenly they were ahead, 32-30, with 1:52 remaining.

The Crusaders didn’t panic either.  On two straight possessions they got the ball in close.  Jennie Meagher got a free throw out of one possession while teammate Sammie Gallant had the eventual game-winning down the right side with 21 seconds left.  Between those two possessions Masco had its 20th turnover.

Olivia DiPietro ended with ten points and was named the tourney MVP.

Jennie Meagher had only six points but her twelve rebounds and three blocks (including the one on the last shot) were important pieces in the BF win.

I was impressed by the way Masco freshman Cally McSweeney held her own against the older/taller Jennie Meagher.  “She’s our only true big player,” said Coach Romeo.  “We put her out there early and she didn’t give Jennie an inch.  She ended up with thirteen rebounds.”

Morgan Bovardi (14) and Mak Graves (12) were the top Masco scorers.  Morgan made the all-tourney team.

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

Jaxson Nadeau, Sammi Gallant, and Jennie Meagher with the championship plaque

Olivia DiPietro (tourney MVP) with Larry McIntire

Morgan Bovardi (All-Tourney)

Morgan Bovardi shoots a three over Olivia DiPietro

Mak Graves heads to the hoop after a steal

Paige Amyouny (5) tied up in the lane

Jaxson Nadeau swarmed by Masco defenders

Olivia DiPietro (tourney MVY) in the lane

Mak Graves (12 points) takes a 3-pointer

Mak Graves defended by Jaxson Nadeau

 

 

 

 

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Defense leads Ipswich to 74-69 overtime win against Amesbury

Jason Finkst (24) shoots over three Indians

Izzy Morrissey (10 points) made a huge three in overtime

(Amesbury MA) One team had trouble making shots while the other team had trouble with turnovers.

In overtime, it was Ipswich that made a big shot (Izzy Morrissey) to give the Tigers an exciting, 74-69, win over Amesbury on Thursday night.

The Indians (7-11) honored their seniors pregame and there were 3rd & 4th graders playing at halftime.  That brought out an enthusiastic crowd and there was plenty for them to get revved up about.

The most excited person after the game may have been Ipswich coach Alan Laroche.  “Wow, that was nice,” said the Tigers’ coach. “After the season we’ve had, to get that win sure felt good.”

Ipswich (6-15) had W’s over Rockport (twice) and Georgetown (once) in the Cape Ann League before tonight’s victory.

I saw Amesbury in their home opener against Hamilton-Wenham.  The Indians lost only by three points in that one despite thirty turnovers.

Tonight’s loss had a similar flavor for the home team.  They were in the 30’s again in turnovers and still could have won this game.

“What turned the game for us,” said Coach Laroche, “was our defense.  We pressured them into a lot of turnovers.”

Senior Zach Labrecque eyes the hoop

The pass attempt after an Ipswich double-team seemed to be the one that led to the most Amesbury miscues.

Amesbury shot their way into sizable leads in every quarter; 18-12 in the first, 26-16 in the second, 45-34 in the third, and 62-54 in the fourth.

However, in every quarter the visitors would rally back, driven by their defense.

In the last quarter Ipswich actually rallied into a three-point lead with fifteen seconds left on a turn-two by Izzy Morrissey plus a free throw.  But Nick Everett had the answer as he drained a three of his own from in front of the Amesbury student section sending those folks into a frenzy and this one into overtime.

In overtime, Zach Long made two straight free throws and Billy Sydlowski answered with two free throws with 1:43 remaining.

For Amesbury, there were three turnovers before Billy made two of his four free throws and there were two more miscues after the free throws. Those final two killed Amesbury’s comeback plans.

Zach Long (20 points) shoots over Jaden Kelher

After the AHS free throws tied the game (69-69), Izzy Morrissey took a pass from Ben Yanakakis and hit what turned out to be the game-winning three with 1:25 left.

Jason Finkst’s two free throws with nine seconds left finished the scoring.

“We made some big shots down the stretch,” said Coach Laroche. “Izzy’s three in OT was huge for us.”

Coach Laroche: “It was one of those games where we didn’t melt when we got behind.  Our defense was key to our comebacks.”

Zach Long (20), Ben Yanakakis (19), Izzy Morrissey (10), and Jason Finkst (12) led the Ipswich scorers.

AHS coach Tom Comeau gave minutes to everyone on his team and ten of them scored points.  Billy Sydlowski (16), and Thomas McAndrews (14) led the scorers.

On January 5th Amesbury won at Ipswich (75-63) as they had four players reach double figures.

Ipswich had lost three straight games prior to tonight’s win.

Dan Stedman turned a teammate’s missed free throw into an old-fashioned 3-point play as part the Tigers comeback in the 4th quarter.

Freshman Thomas McAndrews was 6-for-6 from the foul line

Freshman Thomas McAndrews looks like a player with a bright future with Amesbury.  He made all six free throw attempts and had a high degree of success dribbling the ball and passing the ball against the Ipswich defense.

Amesbury box

Ipswich box

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

John and Billy Sydlowski were two of the seniors honored before the game

Andrew Spanoghe (2) tries to defend driving Jack Norris

Jacob Eliopoulos passes to a teammate for a layup

Billy Sydlowski (16 points) gets to the basket

Nick Everett in the lane

Nick Everett passes in flight

Tight Ipswich defense

 

 

 

 

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Saugus reaches tourney after 46-32 win over Triton

Taylor Bogdanski (16 points) hit two 3’s in the first quarter.

Kiley Ronan (15) looks for the hoop as Caitlin White defends

(Byfield MA) A lot of happy Sachems after this one ended.

“We have a lot to work on, but it feels great to get the win and make the tournament,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender afterwards.

The Sachems (10-7) avenged an earlier non-league loss to the Vikings by capturing the Monday night makeup game.

Both coaches agreed that it was Saugus’ change to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half that was the difference maker.

“We don’t usually use a zone defense, but Triton played so well against our pressure that we didn’t use it at all in the second half,” said Coach Schruender.

Triton coach Dan Boyle agreed. “Their 2-3 zone really gave us fits in the second half.  We have struggled scoring points all year.  They packed the zone in tightly and we couldn’t shoot them out of it.”

The full effects of the defensive switch kicked in with 5 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.  The Vikings (6-12) were one possession away (28-26) at the time after Izzy Cambece landed a three assisted by Bridget Sheehan.

Collision course

The rest of the third quarter?  Totally, and I mean all, Saugus.  The team from the Northeastern Conference put a run of thirteen unanswered points together and left Triton with a 41-26 mountain to climb in the final quarter.

Taylor Bogdanski, Allie Kotkowski, Jillian Ricupero, Marissa Stockwell, and Alessia Salzillo all contributed to the Saugus breakaway stretch.

The Vikings’ shooting woes continued in the final quarter.  The Sachems weren’t a whole lot better in that frame, but they had the fifteen-point advantage and finished with a 46-32 win.

Sophomore Taylor Bogdanski led all scorers with sixteen points.  Twelve of those points came in the first half and included two 3-pointers.

Taylor shot Saugus into a 12-4 lead in the first quarter.  The home team came nearly all the way back in the second period as Bridget Sheehan and Alex Kennedy put eight points together to narrow things to 20-18 with two minutes left in that period.

Alex Kennedy blocks the shot of Molly Granara

The Vikings would hang in there for the next 4+ minutes of playing time before the final 5 ½ minutes of the 3rd quarter did them in.

No question the Vikings missed graduated high scorer Tessa Lafrance.  Tessa, now a freshman at Endicott, had over 1000 points at Triton.

On this night the Vikings had plenty of open looks from a variety of places.  “If the shots fall, it’s a different game,” said Coach Boyle.  “We scored fifty points in our first meeting with them.”

“We’re close to being a much better team than our record shows,” added Coach Boyle.  “It doesn’t help us this year, however.”

This is the 3rd straight year that Saugus has made the tournament.  They were 16-7 last season.

Most impressive player?  I choose junior Alessia Salzillo.  The speedy point guard could handle the Triton pressure and could find open teammates for good looks.  “She’s been a great player for us all year,” said Coach Schruender.  “As she goes, we go.”

Coach Schruender also praised the play of senior Alllie Kotkowski: “She probably had her best game of the season (9 points).  She made a lot of good little plays.”

Saugus box

Triton box

(Pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Colleen McCarthy defends Molly Granara

Allie Kotkowski and Izzy Cambece

Bridget Sheehan tries to get by Taylor Bogdanski

Alex Kennedy (32) tries to stop Taylor Bogdanski

Alessia Salzillo looks to pass

Jamie Bell tries the lane against Taylor Bogdanski

Jillian Ricupero and Alex Kennedy

Caitlin White drives the baseline

Meredith Kennedy (30) applies pressure to Kiley Ronan

Taylor Bogdanski (12) puts up a floater

Chasing an inbounds pass

 

 

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Late run gets Pentucket past Newburyport 63-57

Nate McGrail (19 points) starts Pentucket on an eight-point run with this layup in the final quarter

Parker McLaren (19 points) shoots over Alex Willis (22)

(Newburyport MA) This game was close, very close.

There were six lead changes and seven ties.

It was a one-point game (53-52) with three minutes left.

Anyone’s game, for sure, before Pentucket took it over with eight straight points and defeated Newburyport, 63-57, on Senior Night on Friday.

Newburyport coach Dave Clay referenced his team’s defense afterwards: “We needed to play better help defense.”  Who could argue?  The Sachems registered seventeen layups, by my count.

In the crucial eight-point streak in the final three minutes of the game it was four drives to the rim that turned this game to Pentucket.

George Coryell gets Casey McLaren (22) an open shot

According to Pentucket coach Ed Hickey, containing the McLarens (Parker and Casey) was crucial.  “They were terrific tonight.  We made adjustments at halftime to help us to cover them better.  Casey (18.6 points per game) is always capable of scoring a lot of points.”

The Sachems played a high 3-2 zone that limited the outside looks of NHS.  It did open things up for Parker McLaren (19 points) in the lane area.

Junior Spencer Pacy (17 points) got to the rim successfully eight different times.

Let’s review the game-changing segment in the final three minutes.  After a three by Casey McLaren (15 points), the home team trailed by only a point (53-52).  Nate McGrail (19 points) then scored a layup and was fouled but missed the freebie.  Next possession by Newburyport ended with a technical foul.  Gus Flaherty tallied both technical free throws boosting the Sachems lead to 57-52 with 2:45 to go.

Gus Flaherty shoots the technical foul shots

After a turnover, Pentucket had two profitable possessions in a row.  Both were assisted layups.  First by Sam Stys from Alex Willis and then Gus Flaherty from Spencer Pacy.  Those two plays extended the Pentucket advantage to nine (61-52) with a minute left.  Game. Set. Match.

“We made extra passes and it opened things up,” said Coach Hickey.

The visitors from West Newbury had another run of eight unanswered points in the final three minutes of the first half changing a 31-23 score into a halftime tie.

Newburyport put a 10-2 collection together in the first period with five different players (Ryan MacDonald, Ryan Archie, George Coryell, Casey McLaren, Parker McLaren) contributing.

The Clippers will close out the regular season with four straight away games.

The Sachems have now defeated Newburyport three straight times.

The Sachems have a 7-5 edge versus NHS over the past five seasons.

The Pentucket defense collapses on Parker McLaren

Gus Flaherty had twenty-three points in the first meeting (68-54 Pentucket win) including five 3’s.  The Clippers took the long shot away (Gus had only one 3 in tonight’s game) but gave up too many inside scores.

The Clippers five seniors, and their families, were honored before the game and started the game even though none of them were normally starters.

Newburyport (11-6) and Pentucket (12-5) are both in the post-season tournament and both are in Division 3.  And both of them are in the north.  Point?  They could meet again this season.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

(For the second game in a row I am disagreeing with the official scorer. Maybe I should stop believing my lying eyes?)

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

George Coryell guards Spencer Pacy

Harry Bovee (1) guards Spencer Pacy

Sam Stys (8 points) draws a foul on senior Noah Van Schalkwyk

Parker McLaren (44) and Alex Willis (22)

Senior Austin Rosseau sets to shoot

Nate McGrail (24) flies out to defend Casey McLaren

Alex Willis and Spencer Pacy trap Casey McLaren

Senior Ryan MacDonald puts up a shot

Senior Jeevan Kowalski looks for someone to pass to

Senior Jake Valcich (9 points) covered by Sam Stys

 

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Super Bowl Afterthoughts

They may tell us differently, but I am certain that Philadelphia Eagles’ fans were anxious before and during Super Bowl 52.

Why?  Many reasons.  The Patriots were “regulars” in these big games.  They knew the drill.  And then there’s ageless Tom Brady and the conniving Bill Belichick to be concerned about.

The game itself was certainly stressful for the Eagles’ faithful.  For a while, the Eagles were ahead, but the game wasn’t over.  There was still time for New England to make a comeback like the ones they had made in other Super Bowls.  And then the Patriots went into the lead.  I’m sure that the sentiment among many long-suffering Philly fans was: “Here we go again, finding a way to lose the big game.”

But can I add a certainty?  When the game was over, the Eagles’ fans watching the game lost their anxiety. They knew that their team had won.  It had actually happened.

I recall when Malcolm Butler rescued the Pats in the Super Bowl versus Seattle with his goal-line interception. It took a while for me to truly believe that “my” team had really won.  After seeing the replay, it sunk in.

How about another certainty: When the Philadelphia fans watch the replays of SB52, they will be stress free.  Yes, they’ll see negative plays, and the Patriots will take the lead, but there will not be an anxious moment.  Why? They know that the Eagles win in the end!

If you want to spend a pleasant afternoon (and you’re a Patriots’ fan) watch the replays of the Super Bowls that the Patriots have won.  They’re enjoyable because we win in the end!

Changing the subject “slightly”: There is going to be a Judgment Day.  We will stand before God and our eternal destination will be decided.

Harold Bussell (former pastor at Hamilton (MA) Congregational) regularly said at the end of Sunday services, and a paraphrase, “If your sins are forgiven you can face the graveyard across the street and know that before a holy and righteous God, you stand completely in the clear.”

If I know that my sins are forgiven, and they are, I do not have to worry about Judgment Day.  I win in the end!

Imagine watching the replay of SB52 with someone who claims to be an Eagles fan. They start expressing worry because negative things are happening in the game. You would have to conclude that this Eagles’ fan didn’t know how the game ended.

If you believe that your sins will not be counted against you on Judgment Day, you reflect that belief by facing life’s uncertainties differently than those who still wonder how things will turn out for them at the end of life.

Does that mean that a believer, whose sin record has been cleared, “enjoys” the pain and suffering along the way? Definitely, not.  But we know that we win in the end!  The broken will be fixed.  The tears will be dried.  Things will be better in the next life than we can possibly imagine.

I must live my life with the same optimism as a replay-watching Eagles’ fan who knows the ending.

I win in the end!

 

 

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Masco edges Pentucket 74-73 in the final seconds

Spencer Pacy of Pentucket gets close in the final seconds

Will Schena (20) prepares to shoot two free throws with six second left in the game

Gus Flaherty (14) and Colby Jacques (2) chase a loose ball

(West Newbury MA) You thought the Super Bowl had an exciting finish?  You should have been at Pentucket tonight!

Masconomet was the opponent and the game came down to two clutch free throws and a missed layup just before the buzzer.

When it was over the Chieftains had a 74-73 win and qualified for the MIAA tournament.

“It was two good teams going at it,” said a relieved Coach Bryan Duplissie of Masco afterwards.  “Just a great game.”

The team from Boxford trailed by a point with twenty seconds left after missing a shot, but Pentucket turned the ball over giving the Chieftains time to organize with seventeen seconds left.

“We wanted the ball in his (Will Schena) hands,” said Coach Duplessie. “We ran a play for him and he got fouled.”

Will Schena (20) and the final score

Will drained both pressure-packed free throws with six seconds left giving the visitors a one-point lead. “He’s the guy we wanted in the clutch,” said Coach Duplessie. “He hit a three against Peabody to force overtime.”

Plenty of time for Pentucket.  Masco opted to double-team Nate McGrail to keep him from getting the inbounds pass.  That left Spencer Pacy with the ball.

“They took away Nate but Spencer is usually a good finisher,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey.  “We had the opportunity but just didn’t finish.”

Spencer dribbled the length of the court and into the lane with three defenders. He got off a shot that missed before the buzzer sounded.

The combination of the clock running down, and the lack of any shot-block attempt by the Chieftains’ defenders probably influenced Spencer’s shot.

“We got lucky,” said Coach Duplessie. “We told our players that when they go to the rim we have to step in and take a charge.  They went all the way to the rim and we were fortunate that the shot didn’t fall.”

Nate McGrail (24) gets to the basket

So you can see that the end was pretty exciting.  The rest of the game wasn’t too shabby either.

Pentucket put a 9-point run together in the first quarter to get ahead, 17-10.  In the final quarter, Masco used an 8-2 segment to create a, 62-54, margin.

Other than that this game was very tight.  In a 32-minute game there were EIGHTEEN lead changes and six ties.  There were six lead changes in the last three minutes of the game!

Both teams had players who could score and neither team was shy about taking the ball to the rim.

Both teams changed defenses frequently.

Battle around the basket

The Chieftains were better on the boards and had four second-chance baskets.  “It was a physical game,” said Coach Hickey.  “We needed to do a better job rebounding.  We have them too many extra opportunities.”

The Sachems had fourteen turnovers while Masco had twelve.  Two of the Pentucket miscues were in the final ninety seconds.

Division 2 Masconomet (10-4) has now won six of their last seven games. The Chieftains were 6-14 last season.

Division 3 Pentucket (10-5) had beaten Masco three straight times before tonight’s loss.

Masco and Pentucket will meet again in eleven days at Masco.  I suspect that it will be another close one.

It certainly didn’t help Pentucket’s chances of winning to miss six free throws in the final quarter including the front end of a one-and-one.

The Sachems have lost twice to another D3 team (Lynnfield) that is also in the playoffs.

David Hunter (16), Will Schena (15) and Daniel Monagle (14) led the Masco scorers.

Spencer Pacy guarded by Daniel Monagle

Nate McGrail and Gus Flaherty had fifteen points to pace the Sachems and Spencer Pacy added thirteen points.

(My stats disagree with the official scorebook but being old and stubborn I choose to think that my unofficial stats are right…..although I could be wrong.)

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

David Hunter scores two

Colby Jacques (2) leads a break

David Hunter in the lane

Mike Budrewicz (11) passes as Gus Flaherty defends

Justin Snow (5) lets a three fly from the corner

 

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Alli Napoli (30 points) carries Amesbury past Georgetown 50-41

Alli Napoli (30 points) chased by Lyla Krol

Alli was Amesbury’s point guard

(Amesbury MA) Way too much Alli for Georgetown.

“She’s probably the best I’ve seen in the league this year,” said G’Town coach Hilary Glynn afterwards.

“There’s nothing she can’t do.”

Sophomore Alli Napoli had the whole basketball package working as she led Amesbury to a 50-41 win over the Royals on Thursday night in Cape Ann League play.

Alli had thirty points but it was the things beyond the points that led the Indians to their tournament-qualifying 10th win.

The “other things” that I noticed were; rebounds, blocked shots, assists, steals, and bringing the ball up the court.

Nicole Donnelly reaches in on Alli Napoli

“Sometimes I forget that she’s only a sophomore,” said AHS coach Matt Willis.  “We’ve had a captain who didn’t come out and a captain (Flannery O’Connor) who is out but Alli has stepped up.”

The two teams faced each other less than a week ago. Amesbury survived, 51-47, in that one.  “In both games, we’ve had big leads, but they came back,” said Coach Willis.  “They don’t quit.”

That lack of quit showed itself in the fourth quarter.  The Indians (10-4) had a comfortable, 46-29, lead one minute into the final quarter.  Good time to pack it in if you’re Georgetown, but they didn’t.

Amesbury went very cold (credit the G’Town defense) and turned the ball over nine times during the next 6+ minutes.  The visitors put a run of twelve unanswered points together including a layup by Lilly Dionne (assisted by Haylee Zadina) that had the Royals trailing by only five, 46-41, with forty-two seconds left.

Haylee Zadina (2) gets to the rim

Georgetown (2-12) had another possession with that five-point deficit and missed four shots in that possession, including three 3’s.  Make one of those and final seconds could have been verrrry interesting.

Things turned Amesbury’s way, thereafter.  Amesbury’s Kaicey Zimmer was fouled.  She missed the front end of a one-and-one with forty seconds left BUT there was a lane violation on the Royals.  Given another chance, Kaicey made the free throw but missed the second.  To the surprise of no one, Alli Napoli grabbed the rebound for Amesbury and was fouled.  That’s twice Georgetown could have had the ball but didn’t get it.

Alli made both free throws to push the AHS advantage to eight and the Royals were done for.

“We have a tendency to start slowly,” said Coach Glynn.  “We certainly came alive late in this game.”

Mary Bullis surrounded by Royals

Amesbury has now defeated Georgetown ten straight times.

Alli Napoli had twenty-six points in the first meeting with Georgetown.  “We tried to use a box-and-one on her,” added Coach Glynn.  “I thought that Lyla Krol played excellent defense.”

One play that was very effective for Amesbury was having Alli on one side (drawing multiple defenders) and having her throw a cross-court pass to the other side to an open teammate.  Mary Bullis (8 points) ended up with good 3-point looks out of that set.

Autumn Dionne (11 points) led the G’Town scorers.  Autumn wears a serious knee brace and has torn her ACL twice.  She fell once in the second half and required medical attention but did return later in the game.

The Royals weren’t shy about putting up 3-pointers.  Might have something to do with the fact that Coach Glynn holds the Framingham State career 3-point record.

I saw Amesbury lose a tough game to Hamilton-Wenham when Flannery O’Connor was playing.  In that one, the Indians were impatient on both ends of the court rushing shots and getting out of position on defense.  Not tonight.  The offense was organized and the defense (man-to-man) was stable.

Two hands on the ball

Amesbury ended up with seventeen turnovers, including nine in the final quarter when Georgetown made their run.  Georgetown had fifteen, but only one in the last quarter.

The Indians built up a 15-point lead in the second quarter with ten unanswered points.  Mary Bullis had two 3’s while Alli turned a steal into a basket and also made two free throws.

Nine players scored for the Royals.  Six different players (Maeve McNeill, Brenna Donoghue, Caitlin Donoghue, Grace MacDonald, Autumn Dionne, and Lilly Dionne) were part of Georgetown’s twelve-point streak in the final quarter.

Alli ended up with three 3’s.  She had eleven points in the second quarter and twelve in the third quarter. Her rebound in the final minute sealed this one for the home team.

I bring a camera to games as well as a mopod to stabilize it.  Tonight, one of the referees knew enough about my mopod to use it to loosen a basketball that was stuck against the rim.

Quiet crowd on hand.  I noticed Georgetown JV’s working on homework.

Amesbury box from the game

Georgetown box from the game

(All of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Nice pass by Autumn Dionne sets up Maeve McNeil for a layup

Late-game pressure by Georgetown

Brenna Donoghue (12) puts up a shot over Catherine LaForte (13)

Lyla Krol (14) in the middle of three Indians

Mary Bullis (8 points)

Autumn (11 points) covered by Ciara Sullivan

 

 

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