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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