(West Newbury MA) Pentucket (10-3) started slowly but Haverhill started very slowly.
And it cost them.
“We’ve been playing catch-up most of the games we’ve been in,” explained Haverhill coach Melissa Tarpy afterwards.
The Hillies (2-10) fell to the Sachems, 60-29, on Monday evening in non-league action.
“Both teams started a little slow because neither team could practice during the last two days,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara post-game.
“Then we started to hit shots and they didn’t,” added Coach McNamara.
Junior Abby Dube led all scorers with eighteen points.
Eight of Abby’s points came in Pentucket’s breakaway first quarter.
Abby had a couple of three’s, both set up by Audrey Conover, and two free throws leading the Sachems to a 12-0 start.
A free throw by senior Yaribel Pena finally put the Hillies on the board with less than a minute remaining.
Pentucket led 13-1 after a quarter and 25-9 at the half. The Hillies were outscored, 35-20, in the second half.
The Sachems pressure defense, whether man-to-man or trapping, gave the visitors trouble most of the night.
“We just want to play basic basketball,” said Coach Tarpy. “Tonight, we didn’t do the little things that needed to happen.”
“Pentucket is a great team with a great program,” she added. “They’re fundamentally sound and play smart basketball. They know where their teammates are, and they trust each other.”
Passing was a team-wide strength for Pentucket tonight. Everyone was in on it. Plenty of nice setups for high percentage shots.
There were backdoor cuts that worked and drives with kickouts that led to wide-open looks.
Nine players scored for Pentucket. Lana Mickelson (10 points) was the other Sachem in double figures.
Senior Kya Burdier (10 points) led the Hillies in scoring. Sophomore Sydney Spencer finished with nine points.
Kya is committed to Nichols College next year where she will play volleyball and basketball for the Bison.
Pentucket has won eight of their last nine games. “We started the season a bit shaky but now we’ve come together as a team,” said Abby Dube afterwards.
The Hillies have now lost ten straight games. Their last win was on December 21st against Lawrence.
“We’ve probably only had our whole team together twice this season because of Covid and other illnesses,” said Coach Tarpy. “But excuses aside, we have to come out and play basic basketball.”
“We did okay on offense tonight,” said Coach McNamara, “but we’ve got to get better. We’ve got some tough games coming up.”
One of the games ahead on Pentucket’s schedule is versus Newburyport at Newburyport on February 10th. The undefeated Clippers won the first meeting by ten points but that was a while ago. The rematch is on my calendar!
The talk after the game tonight included confirmation from AD Dan Thornton that the new school will open in the fall. Dan also said that the gymnasium floor is in place. There was also talk about possibly auctioning off pieces of the floor of the gymnasium currently being used.
Haverhill is in the Merrimack Valley Conference while Pentucket is in the Cape Ann League.
Abby said that she played AAU basketball with Kya Burdier.
Pentucket 13 12 18 17 = 60
Haverhill 1 8 13 7 = 29
(The pictures will enlarge.)