(West Newbury MA) Masco led by nine after one period.
Pentucket led by one at the half.
Masco led by seven after three periods.
Pentucket led by two at the end (44-42).
Back and forth it went all night long.
There were eleven lead changes with at least two in each quarter.
It was anyone’s game right down to the last shot by Mak Graves (16 points).
The Sachems (19-1) played with fire in the last eleven seconds and didn’t get burned.
Pentucket had the ball with eleven seconds left and a two-point lead.
Angelica Hurley inbounds pass attempt was intercepted by Paige Richardson.
“I was so scared to throw it too far that I didn’t throw it far enough,” explained Angelica post-game.
That put Masco in possession and very quickly Mak Graves had the ball in her talented hands and she was stepping back beyond the arc.
“My heart stopped, I’m not going to lie,” said Anna Wyner.
“I was petrified,” said Coach McNamara. “I thought she was going to pull up and shoot a three. They had the ball in their best player’s hands and that’s scary. I was happy when she drove because a two would let us keep playing.”
“It was nerve-racking with her at the 3-point line,” said Greta Mauer, “because you don’t know what could happen.”
Angelica, who had thrown the bad pass reacted quickly. “I knew that I had to play defense (on Mak Graves) and get the ball back,” she said.
When Mak stepped back, Angelica stepped forward to discourage a 3-point attempt.
Mak chose, instead, to drive baseline. The Pentucket defense closed on her and her shot missed. Angelica was there to secure the rebound and the game ended.
A collective sigh of relief and disappointment followed from both sides.
Senior Angelina Yacubacci carried Pentucket down the stretch after she was a foul magnet early and spent much of the game on the bench.
“When she finally got in, she was a difference maker,” said Coach McNamara.
Angelina scored all her points (eight) in the final quarter.
In that productive quarter, Angelina got to the basket three times without charging and made two free throws.
On one of her missed free throws in the last thirty seconds, she stole the ball from the rebounder (Paige Richardson) to continue the Pentucket possession.
Tonight was Masco’s last game in the Cape Ann League and they played very well.
The Chieftains (11-6) took charges on the hard-driving Sachems and made shots early.
Seven straight points (Liv Fillmore three, Mak Graves jumper and layup) had Masco ahead 13-6 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.
Pentucket recovered nicely in the second quarter. Masco was held scoreless for the first six minutes while the Sachems put a ten-point run together. An old-fashioned 3-point play by MacKenzie Currie (15 points) started Pentucket on their comeback. Senior Hannah Lambert hit a triple and a fast-break layup. Abby Dube finished the run with a jump shot assisted by Alyssa Thompson.
The Sachems held a 22-21 halftime lead.
The Chieftains limited Pentucket to only five points in the third quarter and scored the last five points to create a 34-27 advantage after three quarters. Mak Graves hit a jump shot and assisted on Liv Fillmore’s 3-pointer to account for the closing surge.
The Sachems were down seven, but Angelina Yacubacci came to their rescue. “We played as a team in the 4th quarter,” she explained. “Each of us seems to take turns getting into foul trouble. We support each other from the bench even if we can’t be on the floor.”
But Angelina was now on the floor.
After a MacKenzie Currie jumper in the lane, Angelina sent MacKenzie away on a fastbreak layin. Angelina then twice successfully drove to the basket. Masco’s lead was now gone and Pentucket was up by one (35-34) with 5 ½ minutes left.
Masco stopped the bleeding with a Mak Graves layup and retook the lead.
Back came the Sachems. Angelina assisted on an Arielle Cleveland layup and MacKenzie followed with a drive to the hoop. Those scoring plays gave Pentucket the lead for good, 39-36, with 3:40 remaining.
Masco would get within two twice in the closing minute but Pentucket made enough plays to save the win.
“Give Masco credit,” said Coach McNamara. “They fought hard.”
The Sachems have now won sixteen straight. Last loss? To Masco, 56-51, at Masco.
“We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we lost to them,” said Anna Wyner.
Angelica: “We’re excited to win on Senior Night. We knew it would be a tough game. They are a very good team. Mak Graves kept me from doing a lot of things with her defense.”
Coach McNamara: “It was really nice to beat them in their last CAL game. They have lost five games in the league this year which is a testament to how strong this league is.”
I asked the four Pentucket seniors about their college plans:
Angelica: I am going to St. Joe’s. I thought at first that the campus was too small but the coach there has been very encouraging. He came to our North Reading game which was important to me. I intend to go into the nursing program.”
Angelina: Not sure exactly. Probably somewhere local like Bridgewater State, Endicott, Keene State or UMass Boston. Won’t be playing basketball. I want to go into business.”
Anna Wyner: My top two choice are UVM and UNH. I am interested in the medical field. I have an interest in being a physician’s assistant.”
Hannah Lambert: “I want to study nursing. I am looking at Fairfield and James Madison.”
Full house at Pentucket for this game and they saw a beauty!
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)