(West Newbury MA) It doesn’t happen every game but when it does…..watch out!
Pentucket was excellent on both ends of the court and that put Newburyport on the wrong end of a 58-24 score on Friday night.
Combined with a Masconomet loss, the Sachems (17-1) clinched their sixth straight Cape Ann League Kinney Division title.
“Our girls came out with a ton of energy and played great defense,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.
The Clippers (9-6) ended up with a night full of tough shots and turnovers.
Pentucket mustered only thirty-eight points in the first meeting (January 20th) with Newburyport.
“Last time was a different style of game,” explained Coach McNamara. “They controlled the tempo with their 1-2-2 halfcourt defense. This time our defense got us going offensively.”
The Sachems had thirty-six points in the first half alone and were comfortably ahead, 36-15, at that time.
The Clippers had won three of their last four games including a shocker over Masco.
Tonight, the score was tied (4-4) after three minutes before Pentucket began putting everything together. On this evening, the visitors had no answers.
The Sachems ran nine unanswered points together and never looked back.
In this breakaway segment, Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) assisted on an Arielle Cleveland jump shot and a Hannah Lambert triple.
The nicest play in this collection of points was an Arielle Cleveland save of a ball going out of bounds that ended up with an Angelica Hurley (11 points) 3-pointer.
Pentucket was ahead, 13-7, after one quarter.
The Sachems put a 23-point second quarter together. Freshman Abby Dube (12 points) had two beyond-the-arc three’s and one old-fashioned three in the high-scoring quarter.
“I tend to think a lot when I shoot,” explained Abby post-game. “Tonight, I was just playing and having fun out there.”
Abby’s twelve points were a career high for her.
Most of the night the Clippers had trouble getting to the basket as well as getting the ball inside to their tallest player, Abby Gillingham.
“MacKenzie Currie didn’t score a lot tonight but what a job she did against Abigail (Gillingham),” explained Coach McNamara. “She’s a good scorer but she may have had only one basket tonight because of MacKenzie’s defense.”
MacKenzie tallied eighteen points in the first meeting. Tonight she had only four points but her defense on Newburyport’s top scorer was crucial in Pentucket’s victory.
The Clippers had twenty-six turnovers (by my count) and some of the miscues quickly led to Sachem layups.
“We got them rattled early,” recalled Coach McNamara. “We made some shots and fed off our defensive energy. We got a lot of transition baskets.”
Pentucket has now won thirteen straight. Last loss was to Masco on January 3rd. Those two teams will meet again at Pentucket next Friday night.
The Sachems, with just one loss, have the best record in Division 2 North. Another D2 school, Marblehead, was 16-2 going into tonight.
Newburyport (9-6) is just a win away from qualifying for the post-season.
“Newburyport is a good, young team,” added Coach McNamara. “They are going to be very good.”
Coach McNamara has now won 296 games in his 14+ years directing the Sachems. If Pentucket takes care of their final three regular-season games, that memorable 300th win could happen in the first round of the D2 tournament at Pentucket.
Abby Dube: “Playing with seniors and juniors is scary but really fun. At first I was terrified but eventually I got comfortable.”
I continue to be impressed with the Pentucket band.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)