Monthly Archives: January 2019

Pentucket holds off Amesbury 50-48

Angelica Hurley (12 points) looks for an opening

Flannery O’Connor (16 points) guarded by Arielle Cleveland (11 points)

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury was ahead 20-7 after 5 ½ minutes.

Pentucket was ahead 26-24 seven minutes later.

“It was back-and-forth a lot,” said Angelica Hurley afterwards.

That back-and-forth thing took time to materialize in the early going but in the final 2+ quarters it happened often.  Seven ties.  Eight lead changes.

In the end, it was Pentucket (14-1) making the big shots, at the line and from the floor, and turning defense into offense, that carried them to a tough 50-48 win on Tuesday night over Amesbury (12-2).

Pentucket coach John McNamara

Pentucket has the best record in Massachusetts in Division 2.

“I’m proud of our girls,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos after. “We hung in there.  Pentucket is a good team.”

The Sachems took the lead for good (47-45) on a Liv Cross layin with 2:25 left.

Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) had a steal and made two resulting free throws a minute later to stretch the Sachems advantage to 50-46.

Freshman McKenna Hallinan (7 points) answered with a layup to close the gap to two with 1:04 left, but the Indians (12-2) couldn’t complete the comeback in their two possessions thereafter.

Turnover

“It was a great high school girls’ game,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “We knew they were good coming in.  They have maybe two of the best players in the Cape Ann League.  Amesbury will be a tough out in Division 3.”

The Indians got off to a tremendous start.  Shots were falling and uncontested layups were showing up.

Senior Flannery O’Connor (16 points) dominated the 20-7 getaway with twelve points.  She had four layups, a free throw, and even a three.

“They were clearing out for her,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “We had to adjust.  We did everything we could in the second half to keep her from getting good looks inside.”

Flannery O’Connor guarded by Megan Reading

The adjustment worked because Flannery saw multiple defenders in the second half and ended up with just one free throw.

The other noticeable defensive effort was Maddie Doyle covering Alli Napoli.  Significant size difference but Maddie kept the athletic Alli from direct routes to the basket.  Alli had one full-court layup in the 2nd half.

How did Amesbury stay with Pentucket in the second half if Flannery and Alli weren’t putting up points? Solid man-to-man defense and terrific rebounding.

The Sachems had only one rebound basket the whole game – Arielle Cleveland at the very end of the first half.

“We wanted to stop fast breaks and second-chance points,” explained Coach Dollos.

The Indians led 24-17 at the 6:15 mark of the second quarter.  The next three minutes?  All Pentucket.  While the Indians were defended into five turnovers, the Sachems put nine unanswered points together to take their first lead, 26-24.

Liv Cross (9 points) lines up a free throw

Maddie Doyle and Angelina Yacubacci finished the nine-point comeback with 3’s.

I thought at the time that this might be the beginning of a long evening for the Indians, but I was wrong.  Amesbury began to answer with points and “back-and-forth” was what we witnessed the exciting rest of the way.

Pentucket made 3-of-4 free throws in the end game.  “Free throws are always important,” said senior Liv Cross.  “Every coach I’ve ever had always says that these kinds of games come down to free throws.”

Ciara Sullivan gave Amesbury a quick 43-38 lead with five straight points to start the final quarter.  Back came Pentucket, however, with two Angelica Hurley layups and two Liv Cross free throws.  It was all part of that back-and-forth thing.

Amesbury had twenty-three turnovers and Pentucket nineteen.  The 3-minute collection of five of them in the second period may well have cost Amesbury the game.  Credit the Pentucket defense.

Coach McNamara: “The way we started we could have given up, so I give credit to our girls for recovering.”

Ciara Sullivan lines up a three

On Maddie Doyle guarding Alli Napoli: “She gave away about two feet but she’s scrappy and tough.”

On Angelina Yacubacci’s steal late in the game: “She’s a very smart defensive player.  She reads passes and lanes very well.  Her steal was huge.”

Coach Dollos: “Foul trouble hurt us.  I’m happy with what we did.  Losing isn’t fun but I’ll say we played pretty well.”

Things to work on: “We needed to move the ball better to get it inside.  We also could have used better shot selection at times.”

The best assessment of the game belonged to Coach Dollos, “It easily could have gone either way.”

Angelica Hurley had twelve points for Pentucket and teammate Arielle Cleveland added eleven. Alli Napoli collected ten points for Amesbury.

The victory extends the Pentucket winning streak to eleven.  Only loss was to Westford Academy.

The Amesbury defeat stops their win streak at eleven.  They had an early-season loss to North Reading that I covered.

Liv Cross on next year: “I got into Northeastern the other night.  It’s my top school but expensive.  Nursing is what interests me.  I might go to UMass Lowell because I got into their nursing program.”

The intensity of the two coaches spread into the stands.  It seemed as if every whistle was challenged by the side whistled against.

Amesbury box

Pentucket box

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

Plenty of contact

Mary Bullis defends

Turnover

Angelica Hurley eyes the hoop guarded by Flannery O’Connor

Arielle Cleveland (11 points) looks to pass

 

 

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Gia Bramanti’s big final quarter leads Andover past Masco 45-41

Plenty of tough defense on display

Gia Bramanti (19 points) was huge in the final quarter for Andover

(Boxford MA) Andover’s Gia Bramanti came alive in the final four minutes and led the Warriors to a, 45-41, win over Masco on Sunday afternoon.

“Gia is a special player,” said Masco coach Bob Romeo afterwards. “Great players find ways to make big shots.”

Who could argue?  The 6-1 senior shouldered the scoring load for AHS after Tatum Shaw’s 3-pointer put the Warriors close, 35-34, with 3:48 left in the non-league contest.

In the next 2+ minutes, Gia put five points on either side of a Morgan Bovardi triple and the visitors pushed ahead, 44-38, with 1:39 remaining.  Masco had enough possessions thereafter to catch up, but the Andover defense wouldn’t allow it.

Gia Bramanti in the lane

“Gia made the big plays when she had to,” said Warriors’ coach Alan Hibino.  “She wasn’t surprised by the moment.  She wants the ball in those situations.”

Gia paced the Warriors with nineteen points.  Morgan Bovardi led Masco with seventeen points.

The defense for both sides was tenacious.  Open shots vanished after warmups.  “Our kids played hard on defense,” said Coach Romeo.  “There was nothing easy for either team.  Andover is used to it every night in the Merrimack Valley Conference.  We don’t see it as often in the Cape Ann League.”

Gia Bramanti turned out to be the shooting star at the end but for almost three quarters the Masco defensive combo of Marissa DeLucia and Cally McSweeney limited her to six points.  But then in the final seconds of the 3rd quarter, Gia drained her first three as the quarter ended tied at 29-29.

Shea Krekorian (2) made shooting difficult for Mak Graves (3)

This game had six ties and six lead changes.

The Chieftains (10-4) went up by seven (21-14) in the second quarter, eight (24-16) in the 3rd, and six (35-29) early in the final quarter.  Sophomore Morgan Bovardi (17 points) had a part in each of the Masco point surges.

Andover, however, was always able to put streaks of offense together and recover. They put eight straight in place in the third (two drives Taylor Landry, free throw Gia, triple Tatum Shaw) and ten unanswered in the fourth (two free throws Sarah Sullivan, triple Tatum Shaw, triple & layup Gia Bramanti).

A key to the Warriors’ win?  The defensive job junior Shea Krekorian did on Masco’s top scorer, Mak Graves.  Mak averages fourteen points per game and had two 3’s in the first quarter and a layup in the first two minutes of the second quarter.  After that?  Nothing.

“We’ve seen them (Masco) play a couple of times,” said AHS coach Alan Hibino.  “Mak is the engine that makes them go.  Shea Krekorian did a nice job on her.”

Morgan Bovardi (17 points) takes on three Andover defenders

The Warriors showed a zone defense in the last quarter.  Normally Masco’s shooters make that into a bad idea.  “Our shooters can make outside shots but Mak and Morgan need space and their defenders had length,” said Coach Romeo.

“I have no regrets on our level of effort,” added Coach Romeo.  “Andover averages close to 70 points per game.  Our kids played so hard on defense.”

Coach Hibino expected a tough game. “Coach Romeo reached out to us this summer to play this game.  It’s nice to go out of conference and play an opponent of Masco’s caliber.  Mak and Morgan are fantastic players.”

Gia Bramanti: “It was hard work out there.  Masco is very good.  Their two guards are definitely going to play in college if they want to.”

Hard screen

Andover’s thirteen wins give them more wins than any other team in Division 1 North.  Masco, also in D1, has already qualified for the post-season.  Plenty of D1 coaches in the crowd getting a look at two possible tournament opponents.

I asked Gia about her plans for next year: “I am looking to do a post-graduate year.  I haven’t really decided where yet.”

Regarding her late-game heroics Gia said, “It always feels great when I can connect.  It was when it really mattered.  The adrenalin kicked in and I knew that I had to make a few shots.”

Taylor Landry scored ten for Andover and Tatum Shaw added eight including two 3’s.

Paige Richardson and Mak Graves each had eight for Masconomet.

Andover box

Masco box

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

Olivia Fillmore (24) shoots

Paige Richardson defends Taylor Landry

Saran Sullivan (22) gets into the lane

Taylor Landry (10 points) breaks in

Cally McSweeney guards Gia Bramanti

Floor pass

Mak Graves covers Taylor Landry

 

 

 

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Oceanside hits fifteen 3’s in 73-47 win over Waterville

Jaden Martin (21) and Amos Anderson (12) were part of a tight Oceanside defense.

Cooper Wirkala (11) found enough open spaces to collect thirty points.

(Rockland ME) It wasn’t raining outside but it sure was inside.

Raining three’s, that is, as Oceanside poured fifteen of them on Waterville in a 73-47 dousing on Friday night.

The Mariners (11-4) nailed ten of those triples (on sixteen attempts) in the first half and raced away, 42-20.  The five long ones added in the second half were pure gravy.

Cooper Wirkala registered a double/double for the home team scoring thirty points and taking in ten rebounds.

“This was a typical Cooper game,” said OHS coach Matt Breen. “He’s a gifted offensive player.  He has length.  He can shoot.  He can handle.  He moves the ball.  He’s a difficult guard.”

Trevor Reed ready to take one of many open three’s for Oceanside

Waterville (2-12) tried a zone defense against Oceanside.  It didn’t work. The Mariners patience on the perimeter turned up open 3-pointers all night long and on this evening, they hit half of their thirty attempts.

“We did a good job of moving the ball,” explained Cooper Wirkala afterward.  “We really hit our shots tonight.” Cooper struck five times from deep.

Coach Breen was glad for the win and happy that the long shots were falling.  “I thought we played pretty well.  We moved the ball at times.”

David Barre guarded by Cooper Wirkala

Relying on the long-range shot had the coach worried, however: “Long range was good tonight, but we don’t want it to become a habit.  We need to be versatile enough to score on the inside.”

On this night, the perimeter shots never ran dry.  Waterville never had a chance, as a result, to challenge the Mariners.

In an earlier meeting at Waterville, the Panthers only lost, 54-46, and despite the unfavorable won/loss record Waterville had lost five game by four points or less. That’s why the quick separation in tonight’s game was a surprise to me.

The Mariners’ offense went on a game-long roll, but their defense was equally good.  Their man-to-man defense ganged up on the Panther shooters inside and forced nineteen turnovers, including twelve in the breakaway first half.

Waterville was within four points (10-6) after a Jack Lloyd layup in the first quarter.

Next two minutes?  All Oceanside.  The Mariners had 3’s from Jack Lombardo (14 points) and Cameron Kingsbury (9 points) and four free throws from Cooper Wirkala.

Jack Lombardo (14 points) and five Waterville defenders

Waterville during that same segment?  Three turnovers and no points.  Off went the Mariners, 20-6, and they never let up.

In tonight’s game senior Jaden Martin (9 points) made every three he attempted.

Trafton Gilbert paced Waterville with seventeen points.

“When we hit from the outside it spreads the floor and we can make cuts inside and it opens up the whole game for us,” said Cooper.

“If we hadn’t been making three’s we would have changed the style we played,” said Coach Breen.  “We would have moved Cooper in behind the zone or gone with Amos (Anderson) behind the zone.  Tonight, we just spread it out and played five out because we were knocking down shots.”

Cooper Wirkala could reach 1000 points in Belfast

Oceanside’s next game is at Belfast on Tuesday night.  Might be a special game for Cooper Wirkala.  Cooper, after tonight, is sitting with 979 points.  A 21-point night for him is certainly not out of the question in Belfast.

I asked Cooper about his decision to play for the Colby Mules next year: “Everyone I’ve talked to says great things about Colby.  They have a very good basketball program and are building all sorts of sports complexes.  I can’t wait to go there.”

Waterville box

Oceanside box

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

Oceanside fans

Tight defense on David Barre

Cooper Wirkala (11) finds teammate Amos Anderson (12)

Freshman Liam VonOesen

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket hits eleven 3’s in 68-44 win over Newburyport

Angelina Yacubacci applies the D to Sami Cavanaugh

Angelica Hurley had twenty-one points for Pentucket including four 3’s

(West Newbury MA) The Pentucket defense always catches your eye.

There are times when you’re sure that the Sachems must be using extra players because of the way they double team opponents.

Tonight their defense was good but 3-point shooting was even better as they defeated Newburyport, 68-44, on a very cold Monday evening.

Pentucket (12-1) has now won nine straight and have the best record in Division 2 North.  Swampscott is the only other D2 North team with one loss, but they’ve only won eight games.

Newburyport’s first-year coach Karen Grutchfield saw Pentucket in person for the first time. “They’re too good if we’re not smarter on each possession.”

The Sachems had good offense going from the get-go.  They jumped ahead 8-2 and ran that lead to 19-9 with two minutes left in the first quarter.  By then Pentucket had already drained three 3’s and they added another triple before the quarter ended and led, 23-9.

The Sachems would edge further ahead (36-18) at the half.

Abi Gillingham (11 points) gets two for Newburyport

The first two minutes of the second half settled the outcome.  Three different Sachems dropped three’s while at the same time NHS was held scoreless and had two turnovers.

Angelica Hurley (21 points) had the first triple after the possession was kept alive with two offensive rebounds.

Next it was Maddie Doyle assisted by Angelina Yacubacci.

Finally, Arielle Cleveland joined the 3-fest assisted by Angelica Hurley.

Those two minutes of long-range accuracy combined with shutdown defense extended the Sachem lead to 45-18.

“I give Newburyport credit,” said Coach John McNamara after the game.  “I thought that they out-hustled us in the second half.”

Center-court battle between Katie Hadden and Maddie Doyle

The Clippers (6-5) did put a nice run of ten unanswered points together at the end of the third quarter.  Both Katie Hadden and Anna Hickman (14 points) had multiple baskets during this stretch.

“The reason we won tonight was because we played together as a team,” explained Angelina Yacubacci afterwards.  That teamwork showed itself on defense as the Clippers had little space even to attempt 3-point shots.  The telling statistic was that Pentucket made eleven 3’s while Newburyport didn’t get any.

Coach Grutchfield: “It took us a while to get acclimated to what they were doing.  We have to be smarter with the ball and make better decisions.  I think that we can compete with them if we play better.”

Coach McNamara: “It’s human nature to let up.  We were up-and-down in the second half which isn’t always going to cut it.  We need to be more consistent.  We’ve got some work to do.”

Angelina Yacubacci (22)

Angelina: “We need to work on executing our offense better.”

Coach McNamara regarding all the made three’s: “I don’t know if they’re a good thing or a bad thing.  Maybe we’re settling too much?”

Angelica Hurley paced Pentucket with twenty-one points, including four three’s.

Jess Galvin had sixteen points with eleven of them in the breakaway first quarter.  She also had four triples.

Anna Hickman led Newburyport (14 points) and teammate Abi Gillingham added eleven points.

Kelsi McNamara (St. Joe’s) was in the house.

Bob Melillo (North Reading) and Bob Romeo (Masco) were also in the house looking at future opponents.

Newburyport box

Pentucket box

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

Megan Reading (33) and Sadie Vandenberg (22) look for a free throw miss

Meg Winn guards Angelina Yacubacci

Pentucket defense gangs up on Meg Winn

Angelica Hurley drives past Maggie Pons

Casey Snow (11) heads for the hoop

Greta Mauer (14)

Jess Galvin had eleven points in the first quarter

 

 

 

 

 

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Strong second half sends Newburyport to 65-49 win over North Reading

Sami Cavanaugh (15 points) keyed the Clippers second half comeback

Ali Grasso (23 points)

(Newburyport MA) It isn’t often that you go to one game and see two of them.

If all you saw was the first half of tonight’s Newburyport/North Reading game, you would have been very impressed with the Hornets.  They made shots in close and from long range (five 3’s).  The North Reading defense forced nine turnovers in the first half and Julia Howse had several blocks on layup attempts. Junior Ali Grasso had thirteen points and NR led, 35-27.

Fortunately for Newburyport there was a second half and it was their turn to dazzle.  The Clippers caught the Hornets in the third quarter and blew the visitors out in the final quarter to win, 65-49.

“That was us in the first half,” said North Reading coach Bob Melillo afterwards.  “We didn’t play defense in the second half.”

The high NHS point total was a big surprise to the NR coach.  “We gave up 65 points.  We never give up 65 points to anyone.”

Newburyport fast break

Junior Sami Cavanaugh (15 points) explained how things got turned around: “Coach (Grutchfield) told us at halftime, ‘No second shots.  Be smart on offense.  No turnovers.  Every possession counts.”

Newburyport (6-4) has now won six of their last seven games.  “We can compete with anyone when we play well,” explained NHS coach Karen Grutchfield.

One significant improvement was lessening the turnovers.  In this game the Clippers had nine TOs in the first quarter but had only ten more over the final three periods.

“When we attack offensively, we’re a different team,” added Coach Grutchfield. “Tonight, we had four players in double figures.”

Katie Hadden (11 points) battles for a rebound

Sami Cavanaugh (15) led the Clippers.  Anna Hickman (12), Katie Hadden (11), and Meg Winn (11) were also in double figures.

Junior Ali Grasso (23 points) led the Hornets.

A key to the Newburyport win?  Ali Grasso had only two points in the final quarter.

The teams were tied, 44-44, going into that final quarter.

The Clippers tight defense, with Sami Cavanaugh covering Ali Grasso, limited the visitors to one Ali drive in the first four minutes.  Meanwhile, the Clippers get-to-the-basket approach turned up three layups, and four free throws.  Meg Winn added a triple.  That’s a thirteen-point collection!

The burst of good everything separated the Clippers, 57-46, from NR and the Hornets couldn’t recover.

Coach Grutchfield: “The game was called so tight.  Our team seemed to adjust to it better than they did.”

The Clippers now 6-4 started the season with three straight losses. “The story of our season has been too many turnovers,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “We talk a lot about protecting the ball.”

North Reading (7-3) had won four straight games prior to tonight’s loss.

The Hornets defeated Newburyport, 53-45, in December at North Reading.  Casey McAuliffe had seventeen for NR in the win.  Tonight, Casey ended with seven points and none of them after the first minute of the second period.

North Reading box

Newburyport box

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

scramble

Anna Hickman (12 points) out front

Casey McAuliffe (10) in where shots get blocked

Maggie Pons (3) and Jessica Rosseau (44)

Maggie Pons in for two

Mia DeNofrio

Next generation

 

 

 

 

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Amebury catches Triton and wins 61-58 in overtime

Max McKenzie contested by Blake Bennett

Luke Martin (5) had eighteen points after the first half.

(Amesbury MA) Luke Martin was part of Amesbury’s problem in the first half.

The second half?  He was a big part of the solution.

Amesbury rallied after a half of subpar defense/offense to reach overtime with Triton and then dominated overtime to scratch out a, 61-58, win on Tuesday night.

“We played a zone early and Triton made a bunch of three’s,” said Coach Tom Comeau afterwards.

The solution?  Change to a man-to-man and apply ¾ court pressure after baskets.

“That pressure had an effect,” said Triton coach Ted Schruender.  “We had chances to score and didn’t.”

TJ Overbaugh (12 points) had three 3’s in the first quarter

The Indians (3-5) trailed by fourteen (31-17) at the half and the way Triton was shooting made you think that the lead might get bigger in the second half.

“I challenged the team at halftime to play better and protect the homecourt,” said Coach Comeau.  It worked for certain.

But the Vikings (5-6) didn’t go away despite the improved play of the home team.

However, the Triton lead started to shrink in the second half and when Jimmy Gjikopulli hit a runner in the lane with two minutes left in regulation, Amesbury was ahead for the first time, 48-47.

Those expecting Triton to now quit were disappointed.  Led by Max McKenzie (22 points), Triton regained the lead, 52-48 with thirty-six seconds left.

Enter Luke Martin.  Actually, Luke had already entered (finally) in the second half and had accumulated ten points in Amesbury’s second half revival.

Luke Martin from the corner over Max McKenzie

But now down four with time running out, Luke nailed his third triple of the second half to get AHS within one.  Triton’s Kyle Odoy followed with one-of-two free throws.  Junior Jimmy Gjikoupulli finished the Amesbury comeback with a layup just before the buzzer sounded and the game reached overtime – 53-53.

Amesbury continued their defensive pressure in the four-minute overtime and Triton struggled against it.  The Vikings had three turnovers to show for the first two minutes.

Meanwhile the Indians had a fallaway from Jaden Keliher and two free throws from Luke Martin. Then it was Luke again with 1:51 left hitting a large three.  AHS now had a seven-point lead (60-53).

Credit Triton.  Game over?  Not by the way they answered.  Max McKenzie went to the hoop twice getting layups, and on the second one he was fouled.  Max made the shot and now Triton was within two (60-58) with forty seconds left.

Max McKenzie guarded by Ethan Catania

Plenty of time.  Amesbury opted to use as much clock as possible before shooting.  Jaden Keliher took the shot, missed, and it looked as if Triton might have fifteen seconds to get an ending they liked.

Looking for a hero for Amesbury?  It was Kyle Donovan getting the offensive rebound off Jaden’s miss.  That extended the possession and Triton was forced to foul.  Jimmy Gjikopulli made one-of-two to give the Indians a 3-point lead.  Triton struggled on their final possession and were unable to get off a three to possibly tie the game.  Amesbury had an exciting 61-58 victory.

Luke Martin: “We got things going in the second half.  We heated up.  Even after I missed a few I had to keep shooting.  It was a good idea by Coach to put pressure on them because they didn’t handle it too well.”

Camden Keliher (16 points) puts up a floater in the lane

Coach Schruender: “It was a good competitive game that we let get away from us.  It’s a learning experience.  We’ll work on things and make it better.”

TJ Overbaugh of Triton made four three’s including three in the Vikings breakaway first period.

Triton defeated Amesbury 42-41 in December.  Neither Nick Everett nor Luke Martin played for Amesbury in that one.  TJ did and he made three triples.

Triton ended up with twenty turnovers (by my count) while Amesbury had only ten.

Luke Martin (18), Camden Keliher (16), and Jimmy Gjikopulli (13) reached double figures for Amesbury.

Max McKenzie (22) led all scorers.

Amesbury box

Triton box

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

Max McKenzie (22 points) to the rim

Blake Bennett

Jaden Keliher (15) guarded by Quintin McHale (14)

Kyle Odoy (15) between Oliver Hogg (14) and Kyle Donovan (20)

Kyle Odoy free throw

Luke Martin (5) on the move defended by Kyle Odoy (15)

Luke Martin shoots a free throw

 

 

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Pentucket still undefeated after 60-45 win over Triton

Gus Flaherty tries to control a loose ball with Max McKenzie in pursuit

Nick Doring (20) in the air looking for someone to pass to

(West Newbury MA) The wait for the first loss continues.

Pentucket (9-0) had a big first half and continued with their winning ways defeating Triton, 60-45, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.

The Sachems are one of only two Division 3 North teams to still carry an unblemished record.  The other is St. Mary’s (Lynn).

“We’ve had good team play at both ends of the court,” was how Pentucket coach Ed Hickey explained the Sachems terrific start.

I saw what he was talking about tonight against the Vikings.  The Sachems played an active zone that gave Triton few open looks, especially in close.  On the other end, against the Triton zone, Pentucket was patient and willing to pass the ball until a good shot showed up.  Call them unselfish.

Sam Stys breaks in

Junior Jake Etter led Pentucket with seventeen points, collecting thirteen of them in the breakaway first half.

Senior Spencer Pacy had 16 points including four straight free throws in the 4th quarter when Triton had cut their deficit inside of double digits.

“Tonight’s game wasn’t as pretty as we wanted it to be,” said senior Gus Flaherty afterwards, “because Triton is a good team.”

The Sachems have been winning by large margins so far this season.  “We needed a competitive game because we will be in those kinds of games in the future,” explained Gus.

The Vikings (5-5) were looking at a 50-30 deficit 1 ½ minutes into the final quarter.  But then, sparked by junior Michael Farago, the visitors put good defense and point-producing offense together and made things interesting.

Rejected

The result was a 12-1 run tightening things to 51-42 with 3 ½ minutes left.  Pentucket coach Ed Hickey saw where things were headed and called a timeout.

Out of that timeout it was the home team’s turn to shine at both ends of the court.  In the next minute the Sachems regained control of the direction of the game and pushed on to their 9th win.

Spencer Pacy (four free throws), Peter Cleary (two free throws), and Gus Flaherty (layup assisted by Sam Stys) were involved in Pentucket’s good minute of offense/defense.

Max McKenzie (15 points) paced Triton.  Max lost quite of few minutes because of foul trouble.

Mason Ferrick tallied ten points for the Vikings getting all of them in the second half.

Max McKenzie (15 points) drives past Pat Dillon

The Sachems broke a 9-6 game open with a 14-2 segment that stretched into the second quarter.  Jake Etter had a big part in the breakaway notching eight points.  He had a triple and added three straight free throws when he was fouled on an attempted three.

Triton trailed by sixteen (32-16) at the half.  The deficit climbed to twenty (50-30) in the final quarter before they cut the lead to nine.

“We had the opportunity to put them (Triton) away,” said Coach Hickey, “but they didn’t give up.”

Triton struggled to make shots most of the night, but their defense turned up scoring chances in the last period.

Jack Tummino converts a steal in the second half

Triton actually “won” the second half (29-28) but their sixteen-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome.

Coach Hickey: “I have not seen (undefeated) St. Mary’s play but I’ve heard a lot of good things about them.”

The Sachems will face two Division 3 Cape Ann League teams with only one loss over the next ten days; Hamilton-Wenham and Newburyport.  “Both teams have been strong over the last couple of years,” said Coach Hickey.

“Playing Newburyport will be fun,” said Gus.  “I am really excited about that one.”

Pentucket was 16-7 last season.  They reached the state semifinals at the end of the 2014-15 season.

Kyle Odoy blocks out

There will be a rematch between Triton and Pentucket at Triton on February 1st.

Good teams have multiple scoring threats.  Pentucket fits that bill having had five different players (Jake Etter, Pat Dillon, Spencer Pacy, Peter Lopata, Gus Flaherty) be top scorers in their nine wins.

Pentucket box

Triton box

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

Gus Flaherty

Tie-up

Spencer Pacy

TJ Overbaugh covered by Pat Dillon

Gus Flaherty chases a loose ball

Max McKenzie down the lane

 

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Filed under Pentucket, Triton