Monthly Archives: December 2019

Western Connecticut takes title 80-52 over Alfred

Gabby Hurlbert (11) gets to the basket for two of her twenty-one points.

Captains Genesis Torres, Gabby Hurlbert, and Jessica Davis with the title award

(Danbury CT) Western Connecticut won the Hat City Tournament, 80-52, over Alfred on Monday night.

Third time in four years for the Colonials.

West Conn senior Gabby Hurlbert (21 points) was named tourney MVP.

Gabby also won the award as a freshman.

WC coach Kim Rybczyk used her entire bench to press full-court from the get-go.  The resulting defensive heat created twenty-seven turnovers that led to twenty-six points.

The Saxon (4-7) had trouble scoring early and went down, 24-11, in the first quarter.  It looked like the start of a long evening, but the visitors from western New York made a game of it in the second period.

Sydney Gouveia (10 rebounds) and Ana Ion (All-Tourney)

“Our key word for this weekend was “persistence,” explained AU coach Mike Moskowitz.  “You’re going to get knocked down.  You’re going to turn it over four straight times but that doesn’t decide the fifth time.”

The Saxons got within six points (33-27) and only trailed by eight at halftime.

“I kind of expected that our pressure would tire them out,” said WC coach Kim Rybczyk afterwards, “but it didn’t.”

West Conn’s offense picked up considerably in the second half.

“Sometimes we struggle fundamentally,” said Coach Rybczyk.  “We don’t make layups.  We don’t make the right pass.  We struggled in those areas in the first half but really pulled it together in the second half and made our breakaway.”

Senior Gabby Hurlbert keyed WestConn’s third period success getting twelve of her twenty-one points during that quarter.

Gabby Hurlbert on a drive

Gabby was quick to the basket and set up teammates for scores.

“I was trying to find openings to the basket for myself and my teammates,” explained Gabby post-game.

The Colonials found openings to the rim most of the game.

“We chose to defend the perimeter,” said Coach Moskowitz, “and they only made four from out there.  But we gave them openings to the basket.”

WC had a remarkable fifty-four points in the paint.  During the first half some of the West Conn paint shots weren’t falling.  The second half they were and a 14-4 start to the second half gave the home team the separation needed to win the title game.

West Conn applies pressure

Last year the Colonials pressed full-court and shot quickly.  “I liked the style,” said Coach Rybczyk, “but we didn’t have the numbers to play it.  We had them at the start and put up some impressive stats but then we had injuries.  That style is not something you modify.  You can’t be in and out of it.  This year we’ve kept the full-court press but on offense we push the ball up the court quickly and we settle if we don’t have a shot.”

Jamie Wilcox (1000-point scorer) shoots a free throw

“Their press was very good,” said Coach Moskowitz.  “They have fourteen players used to that style and who are probably in better shape than we are at this point in the season.  We rarely see teams that press the way they do.”

Sophomore Kate Fanning made the All-Tourney team.  Kate had seventeen points in the opening round blowout of SUNY Delhi.

AU’s Ana Ion was selected for an All-Tourney award.  Ana (freshman) tallied twenty points versus Elms in the Saxons’ win on Friday night.

“Ana is a serious offensive threat,” said Coach Moskowitz.  “She can attack off the dribble.”

Gabby Hurlbert – Tourney MVP

Gabby Hurlbert had nineteen points in the championship game in 2016 against Trinity to capture the MVP trophy that year.

Coach Moskowitz: “We spent a day in New York City.  We have kids from California, Texas, and Florida who hadn’t been.  Some of our western New York players hadn’t been, or hadn’t been recently, to NYC.  It was nice to be able to give them that opportunity.”

Gabby Hurlbert (about the team): “I was drawn to Western Connecticut by the family atmosphere.  From freshman year to my senior year I have loved every player I’ve played with.”

Gabby Hurlbert (about her future): “I will probably take a year or two of schooling beyond West Conn.  I want to be an ultra-sound or a radiology technician.”

Last time I was at the Feldman Arena was for my youngest granddaughter’s graduation in June from Newtown High School.

Box from the game

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

Ana Ion – All-Tourney

Coach Kim Rybczyk

Gabby Hurlbert (11) gets her hand in the passing lane.

Sunsana Almeida (3)

Sydney Gouveia (34) guards Gillian Flint (20)

Gabby Hurlbert dribbles in front of the WestConn bench

Hannah Maghini (22) puts up a runner

Jessica Davis (4) and Gillian Flint (20)

Kate Fanning (30) and Lyndsey McCoy (11)


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Zac Gula (20 points) leads Northampton by Quakertown 82-55 in Salisbury tourney opener

Zac Gula (22) in for two of his twenty points

Zac Gula – gave Northampton points at the end of three different quarters

(Allentown PA) Zac Gula (20 points) made the end of the first three quarters a personal showcase and led Northampton to an 82-55 win over Quakertown on Friday night at Salisbury High School.

The victory puts the Konkrete Kids (5-2) into the Salisbury Holiday Tournament finals tomorrow.

Northampton will be looking to win the tournament for the third straight year.

Quakertown (0-7) came out with plenty of energy and made shots.  The Panthers were in a tie game (19-19) three minutes into the second quarter.

“We hadn’t played a game for a week,” said Northampton coach Coy Stampone.  “I wasn’t sure how we’d start out.”

The Kids came out missing and had to change their approach on offense.

“We started to go inside to score points,” explained Coach Stampone.  “When they doubled, we kicked it outside and got shots in rhythm.  I was pleased with the way we adjusted.”

Junior Jon Altomare (6-6) was the key force inside for Northampton and had nine first-half points.

Jack Gordon (11) and Spencer Cole (1)

Senior Zac Gula was a marvel at the end of each of the first three periods.  Zac ended up with twenty points but sixteen of them came within the last minute of each of those quarters.

First quarter? Converted a rebound and hit a runner in the lane.

Second quarter? Scored on a drive.  Scored on a drive + one.  Hit a fall-away three.

Third quarter? Scored on two drives.

These were all within in the last minute of each of those quarters!

Zac didn’t reference his last-minute heroics when I talked with him after the game.  “We started out slow and picked it up,” said Zac.  “We scored a lot of points.  I’m excited about the way this season is going.”

Matt Catalano (12 points)

Matt Catalino (12 points), Kayden Roley (12 points), and Jake Hallowell (10 points) led the Panthers’ scorers.

Matt’s three from the left earned Q’Town a 19-19 tie three minutes into the 2nd quarter.

The Konkrete Kids took the lead for good, 21-19, on a Jon Altomare layup in close.

The Panthers’ deficit was only four (27-23) after a Luke Bauer layin.  But then Zac Gula went off for eight unanswered points in the last minute and Northampton had a 35-23 halftime lead.

The margin reached twenty-one (58-37) in the third quarter.  Sophomore Isaac Harris (17 points) led the Kids with nine points in that frame.

“We’ve got great senior leadership,” said Coach Stampone.  “A bad quarter isn’t going to rattle them.”

Northampton is from the East Penn Conference while Quakertown is in the Suburban One League.

The best play of the game may have been a 4th quarter save Quakertown’s Luke Bauer made.  Not only did the junior keep the ball from going out but he also flipped the ball in to teammate Kayden Roley who made a layup.  Luke ended up out-of-sight behind the Quakertown bench.  Good hustle!

Luke Bauer

Northampton coach Coy Stampone

The Kids were in the district championship game two years ago.

Coach Stampone: “Our defense tonight eventually transitioned into some pretty good offense.  When we get stops, rebound, and transition, I like our game.”

Northampton box

Quakertown box

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

Spencer Cole (1) and Luke Bauer (23)

Ball on the floor

Donte Rodriguez

Isaac Harris (17 points)

Isaac Harris (24) and Matt Catalano (1)

Jake Christman passes

Jake Hallowell (12) shoots

Jon Altomare (9 points)

Kayden Roley (3) shoots over Isaiah Tyler

Kayden Roley (12 points)

Matt Catalano shoots a three



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Maddy Mandalinci (32 points) leads Pingree to 69-54 tourney title over Cushing Academy

Pingree celebrates victorious ending

Pingree – tournament champions

Tori Farrell (34) and Savannah Gibbs (12) trap Fanta Kone (22)

(Hamilton MA) Pingree defended well and senior Maddy Mandalinci (32 points) shot even better as the Highlanders won the Pingree Holiday Tournament, 69-54, over Cushing Academy on Saturday afternoon.

“I think that we were able to wear them down with our pressure,” explained Pingree coach Dave Latimer afterwards.

When pressure defense will make its mark on a game varies but when it happens the points will come in a cluster.  And that’s what happened in this game.

A jump shot by Cushing sophomore Katie Dolan tied that score at 29-29 with two minutes left in the second quarter.  This had the makings of a close game with an exciting finish.

But in a short period of playing time the closeness vanished, as well as the possibility of a tight finish.

Maddy Mandalinci (10) presses

The Penguins didn’t score a point during the next 3 ½ minutes, stretching into the second half.

Pingree during that time?  Sixteen unanswered points.  A tight game became 45-29 and Cushing never recovered.

“I called a timeout in the last minute of the first half to try to settle us down,” said Cushing coach Emily Roller.  “We were only down four.  Credit Pingree, they kept their run going.”

Maddy Mandalinci (32 points) was the tourney MVP

Maddy Mandalinci (tourney MVP) made shots all afternoon.  “When our defense is working and Maddy’s making shots, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Maddy made nine of Pingree’s sixteen points in the game-deciding run.  She had three layups as well as a three assisted by Savanah Gibbs.

Cushing, meanwhile, had four turnovers during the segment in which the game got away from them.

“That press sped us up,” said Coach Roller, “and he (Coach Latimer) has the depth to keep running it.”

The Penguins (4-2) controlled the early part of the first period.  A jump shot by Katie Nolan (11 points) and consecutive three’s by Lily Stone (9 points) gave the visitors from Ashburnham (MA) a, 13-7, lead four minutes into the game.

Freshman Tori Farrell (14 points), however, helped Pingree rally back before halftime.  “Tori has a motor that doesn’t stop,” said Coach Latimer.  “She is a great defensive presence.”  Tori made the All-Tourney team.

Erin Rutherford (14 points) covered by Abbey Skinner

In the second half, Cushing put an 11-2 segment together and trailed only 49-42 with two minutes left in the third quarter.  Steals by junior Fanta Kone led to layups by Natahsa Shade and Erin Rutherford (14 points).

Seven points would be as close as Cushing would get.  An injury took sophomore Katie Nolan off the court and the tiring Penguins had no answers for Maddy Mandalinci’s late-game, hot shooting.

How hot was Maddy?  She scored fourteen of Pingree’s final sixteen points.  Cushing went zone in the second half and that gave the Union College commit open looks.

“I work hard on shooting,” said Maddy post-game.  Maddy had three 3’s in the final period.

Erin Montigny looks to pass

“We all worked together on defense,” said Maddy.  “Everyone has to contribute to make the press work.”

“She (Maddy) is very composed and steady offensively,” added Coach Roller.

Cushing had a player (Katie Nolan) injured during the game and were missing senior captain Kate Montigny.  “Kate is a six-footer and could have helped us do a better job on the offensive glass.”

Coach Latimer: “It’s great to see the girls have some success winning a championship early in the season.  It gives us confidence.  Nine of our players are sophomores or freshmen.”

The Highlanders (4-2) have moved up from Class B to Class A this year.  Plenty of tough competition ahead for them.

Coach Emily Roller in the Cushing huddle

Coach Roller: “It’s early in the season.  There was lots of good stuff to build on for both teams.”

Maddy on choosing Union College: “I had an instant connection with all the coaches and players.  I am not sure what my major will be.  It might be psychology.”

I hadn’t been to Pingree since the new facility was built.  All I can say about it is, “Wow!”  Clean, nice lights, and plenty of space including an extra gym.  Nicely done.

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

Fanta Kone

Fanta Kone – All-Tourney

Fanta Kone and Samantha Jones

Fanta Kone (22) defends an inbounds lob attempt

Kendall Traveis

Maddy Mandalinci (10) shoots with her left hand

Pingree captains Maddy Mandalinci and Abbey Skinner

Abbey Skinner puts up two

Aicha Ndour

Aicha Ndour tries to drive past Abbey Skinner

Alexa Garcia breaks in for Pingree

Cushing defenders close in on Abbey Skinner

Coach Dave Latimer

Erin Rutherford floats in for two

Alexa Garcia (left) and Erin Rutherford (right)

Tori Farrell – All-Tourney

Tori Farrell defended by Natasha Shade




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Will Klein does it all……Abington defeats Leicester 21-7 in D7 Super Bowl

Senior Will Klein rushed for over 200 yards including two touchdowns

Will Klein post-game

(Foxboro MA) Will Klein was in the bleachers when Abington won their last football title (2014).

Unfortunately for the undefeated Leicester Wolverines, Will was on the field today for Abington.

The result? A 21-7 win and a Division 7 title for the Green Wave.

“Will had an unbelievable day today,” said dampened Abington head coach Jim Kelliher post-game.

And who could argue.

Will was even responsible for giving Coach Kelliher an icy bath as the celebrating started along the victorious Abington sidelines.

Abington post-game interviews

Will rushed for two touchdowns and finished with 207 yards on twenty-three carries.

On the Green Wave’s first possession, Will ran for a first down. On his second carry he disappeared off left tackle for a 61-yard score.  Looked like a long morning in the making for Leicester.

But the Wolverines (12-1) kept Will from getting the two-point conversion.

One minute later Leicester showed the Gillette Stadium gathering why they were undefeated and why they were in the championship game.

Jack O’Neil gets behind Will Klein as Leicester scores on a trick play.

Advertised as a team capable, and unafraid, of using trick plays, the Wolverines pulled one off against Abington.  The play started left and suddenly there was a pass to the right to sophomore Mike Mero.  But that wasn’t the end of it.  Mike then passed downfield to a wide-open Jack O’Neil and Leicester was immediately back in the game on the 74-yard touchdown.

Devon Gillis (26) up to stop a Will Klein two-point conversion attempt.

By the way, the pass over to Mike Mero drew up the Abington safety on that side which enabled Jack O’Neill to be by himself for the catch and score.  The defender?  Will Klein.

Nolan Power kicked the extra point and Leicester was ahead 7-6 with 6:52 left in the first quarter.

Now it looked as if a lot of points would be scored by both teams on this chilly/sunny morning, but they weren’t.  Leicester’s point production ended for the morning…….Abington’s didn’t.

“Their offense was complicated, but I credit my defensive coaches for figuring it out,” said Coach Kelliher.  “They did get one at the start, but we stopped everything else.  We did have some extra time to prepare for them and it helped.”

Gabe Spry (42) flies to Bryce Gosselin

The Green Wave (11-2) picked up a second touchdown in the second quarter (4:34).  Twice the team from the South Shore League converted fourth-down plays.  Once it was with a Will Klein rush.  Later it was a 4th-and-7 pass to junior Matt Maguire.  Will powered the final yard to the end zone and Seamus Schmidt swept left for the two-point conversion.  Abington had a 14-7 lead at half-time.

More Will Klein in the third quarter.  Abington looked to be in a punt setup, but Will Klein had the ball.  He could have punted but when he saw an opening, he ran for a first down.  Later in the quarter, with Leicester in possession, senior Bryce Gosselin found daylight down the right sideline, but over came Will to push Bryce out after an eighteen-yard game possibly saving a tying touchdown.

Daniel Mero (12) hands off to Bryce Gosselin (8)

Into the final quarter Leicester only trailed by one touchdown.  Did they have another trick play that could even the score?  Not on this morning.

They got into Abington territory (49) but the Green Wave defense forced them into a fourth down.  Daniel Mero’s pass attempt was then knocked down by defender Cedric Lucas with 3:31 left.

“I was glad to get in front of that ball and end that drive,” said Cedric afterwards.

“Abington had a really good defense,” explained Leicester QB Daniel Mero.  “They filled the holes when they needed to.  It was tough for us to execute.”

Bryce Gosselin (8) pushed out by Will Klein (4)

Will Klein sent Abington on their way to a final touchdown.  He swept right, dodged one tackler and put the Green Wave in business at the Leicester 20.  Senior Gabe Spry covered the final four yards for the score.  Tom Fanara kicked the extra point pushing the Abington lead to 21-7 with 1:42 remaining.

Will Klein follows blockers

Leicester went all-air on their last possession.  What a surprise, Will Klein ended Leicester’s last hope for points with an interception.

“The touchdowns and the other good things that happened were nice,” explained Will, “but I’m happier that the team won the game.”

“Will is one of those guys that every coach dreams of having,” said Coach Kelliher.  “It’s like, ‘Thank you, Lord!’”

Jarib Cole (55) and Cedric Lucas (14) elevate at the end

“It’s the second state championship game I’ve been in this year,” recalled Will.  He was part of Abington’s basketball team that lost in the title game in Division 4 to Worcester Tech in March.

The Green Wave won eleven straight games after starting with losses to Hingham and Rockland.  “That was a long time to be winless,” said Will.

Both Leicester and Abington lost in the regional finals the last two seasons.

Leicester plays in the South Worcester County League.

The sun may have been out for the 9AM start but most of the field was in shadows.

I greatly appreciated the stats provided by the MIAA before and after the game.

Game stats

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

MIAA banner

Abington banner

Green Wave cheerleaders

Chris Miranda (53) about to tack Will Klein (4)

Colby Augusta (2) ready to run a play near the goal line

Colby Augusta (2) swarmed by Wolverines

Abington’s Colby Augusta (2) with great protection

Daniel Mero (12) chased by Cedric Lucas (14), Shea McClellan (53) and Jarae Cole (52)

Daniel Mero (12) passes to Jamison Metcalf (3)

Gabe Spry (42) had a 23-yard reception for Abington

Will Klein (4) plows into the line

Michael Worden with the D7 championship trophy

Ryan Wessling (60) and Drew Donovan (7) cheer the outcome

Will Klein (4) cuts past Jeff Puchalski (15)

Will Klein at the end of a 61-yard touchdown run in the first quarter











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