(Amesbury MA) “This was the cleanest game we’ve played defensively this season,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara post-game.
“What we talked about they executed really well,” he added.
The Sachems (9-1) challenged every Amesbury pass, dribble, and shot and coasted to a, 42-23, win on Friday night.
The Indians (7-3) went down, 9-1, in the first quarter and never recovered.
“Pentucket is very good,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “They’re very organized. Very structured. We just couldn’t gather ourselves.”
“We’ve had four practices in three weeks,” added Coach Dollas, “and at times in this game that lack of practice showed.”
That lack of practice was most apparent in Amesbury’s turnover number. The Indians lost the ball on twenty-eight possessions without getting off a shot. Plenty of wasted opportunities for Amesbury.
“We had way too many turnovers,” admitted Coach Dollas. “Plenty of silly passes and things like that.”
Senior Megan Reading led all scorers with ten points including several outside shots.
“My teammates made drives which set up the rest of us for nice open looks,” explained Megan.
And there were plenty of those open looks for Pentucket. Amesbury was blessed that the Sachems were off from the outside and hit only four 3’s.
The Indians had as many three’s as Pentucket. The home team had long one’s from McKenna Hallinan, Liv DeLong, and Meagan McAndrew in the last quarter.
Two years ago, Pentucket won at Amesbury by only two points. Four years ago, it was a three-point game. As a result, the one-sidedness of today’s game was surprising. However, Covid-19 has taken the “normal” out of everything, including basketball.
“Amesbury is a good team,” said Coach McNamara. “The score doesn’t indicate it. They got off to a slow start and we were in control most of the way.”
The Sachems lead was 21-10 with three minutes left in the first half. The next seven points belonged to Pentucket. Freshman Gabby Bellacqua drained a three. Senior Greta Mauer stole a pass and went for a layup. Sophomore Audrey Conover drove from end-to-end.
This offensive collection elevated the Pentucket advantage to 28-10 in the early part of the second half.
Mackenzie Currie (9 points) and Arielle Cleveland (8 points) were the other two top scorers for the Sachems.
Gabby Redford paced Amesbury with six points.
When McKenna Hallinan got into early foul trouble, Gabby took over the point. “I thought that Gabby stepped up in terms of controlling the ball,” said Coach Dollas.
The Indians three losses have been to Newburyport (twice) and Pentucket (once). Neither of those teams are in Amesbury’s division in the Wednesday/Friday tournament of this coming week. You have to like their chances.
Pentucket’s only loss has been to Newburyport. Those two teams could well be facing each other for a second time in next Friday’s divisional championship.
In the February 3rd meeting, Pentucket’s top scorer (Arielle Cleveland) missed most of the game with an injury. The Sachems squandered a lead in the last minute, falling, 58-54. A rematch with the undefeated Clippers has “must-see” written all over it!
Megan Reading (senior): “I want to study kinesiology or exercise science. I want to get into the sports medicine field.”
Megan’s top school choice is Michigan. “I have been accepted at Delaware, Maryland, Temple, and Penn State so far with a few more to hear from.”
Megan explained that her knee injury played a part in her interest in sports medicine. “I got to experience that side of things with the injury.”
In the closing seconds of the game, reserves Ally Cacciapuoti (Pentucket) and Meagan McAndrews (Amesbury) nailed three’s.
The link to this game will appear on Twitter (mcclellandpeter) and Mascores. Tomorrow I plan to post pictures on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea).
All of the pictures above and below should enlarge considerably if you click on them.