Undefeated Newburyport (6-0) downs North Reading 45-29

Brianne Slattery chased by Olivia McDonald
Deirdre McElhinney (12 points)

(Newburyport MA) Things haven’t gone perfectly for the Newburyport girls’ basketball team.

Tonight was another one of those nights.

“The game was frustrating,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “We didn’t execute very well, and we missed a ton of shots early.”

But despite the imperfections the Clippers are perfect where it counts the most; wins and losses.

Newburyport (6-0) defeated North Reading, 45-29 in Cape Ann League action.

Emma Foley (15 points) led all scorers

Good luck to the teams in the Cape Ann League when Newburyport plays really well!

“She (Coach Karen Grutchfield) has a great team here,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “They play with a level of execution that it takes to win.”

It didn’t start out that way tonight as the Clippers trailed after three minutes, 4-2, and called a timeout.

Not sure what was said in the timeout but the next two minutes of playing time were a showcase for recently returned Deirdre McElhinney. Deirdre had missed several games with Covid.

Faith Newton covered by MaKenna Ward

The talented junior knocked down consecutive three’s and put in a fancy layup after a feed from MaKenna Ward.

Suddenly it’s the Clippers up, 10-4, and their lead would grow from there.

“It’s good to be back,” said Deirdre (12 points).  “I’m feeling much better than I did last week.”

The Hornets (1-5) then sealed their fate by slipping into a nightmarish second quarter getting only three points.

The Clippers pressure the Hornets

“We struggle to score especially when we play really good teams that dig in and play defense,” said NR coach Bob Romeo.

The Hornets, led by Brianne Slattery and Faith Newton, were able to get to the basket but had trouble finishing.  When the Hornets were fouled, they struggled at the line.

“Our foul shooting (1-for-8 in the second quarter) was not good,” admitted Coach Romeo.  “If you can’t make free throws and layups it’s going to be a long game.”

The Hornets struggled from the line

Newburyport led, 25-9, at the half and extended that lead to twenty points (35-15) in the third quarter.

Emma Foley (15 points) got hot from the right baseline collecting eight points in the third quarter.

North Reading played an active zone defense for the entire game.  Newburyport featured man-to-man almost all the way.

“Anna Seidel did a good job on #15 (Faith Newton),” said Coach Grutchfield post-game.  “I thought she made a difference.”

The Hornets surround Emma Foley

North Reading kept Newburyport out of the 50’s for the first time this season.

“They (North Reading) showed that we didn’t run our zone offense very effectively,” said Coach Grutchfield.

The Clippers usually passed into open looks but shot inconsistently from the openings.

“It was good to play against a zone,” said Deirdre.  “We were able to work for shots outside and hit our posts when they came out after us.” 

Ball loose on the floor

Coach Romeo liked the way his team attacked the basket.  “We were getting to the rim against a very good defensive team.  That’s a positive.”

Coach Grutchfield: “It’s fabulous to have Deirdre back.  She’s fun to watch.  She’s such a smart player.  But I do want her to shoot more.”

The two teams will match up again on January 21st at North Reading.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Newburyport box
North Reading box
Sydney Turner drives
Deirdre McElhinney passes to Brela Pavao (13)
Deirdre McElhinney tries to get to the basket
Anna Seidel
MaKenna Ward
Riley Cullen in for a shot
Faith Newton
Lilly Papatola and Sami Patch
Sydney Turner covers Brianne Slattery
Emma Foley in the lane

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