Daily Archives: March 5, 2022

Newburyport moves on after 57-43 win over Shepherd Hill

Emma Foley (21 points)
Clippers deny an inbounds pass

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers (19-2) advance after defeating Shepherd Hill, 57-43, in the Round of 32 on Saturday afternoon.

The #21 Rams (15-7) trailed the entire game but impressed Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We had seen them on film,” she said, “but they were much better than we thought.”

The Rams handled the ball well and knew where to concentrate their defense.  The issue was scoring.

Aryanna Sheehan guarded by Makenna Ward

“We’ve had an issue scoring all year,” said Shepherd Hill coach Maura Hackenson afterwards. 

Neither team shot very well although there were plenty of attempts.  There was only one three made the entire game. The Clippers scored only five points in the final quarter, yet the Rams were only able to take three points off their deficit at the start of the quarter.

“If we don’t play good defense in the backcourt, it’s a close game at the end,” said Coach Grutchfield.

Anna Seidel on defense

But the good non-stop pressure sent the Rams into several scoring droughts that opened opportunities for the Clippers to establish separation.

SH went through a two-point, three-minute segment in the second period.  Newburyport took advantage.  The Clippers recorded twelve points and turned a 19-18 one-possession game into, 31-20, with two minutes left in the quarter.

Makenna Ward (15 pts) and Deirdre McElhinney each had four points during this successful segment.  Olivia McDonald and Emma Foley had a basket each.

Olivia McDonald

The Rams did not go away.  They made the first two baskets of the second half (Emery Mullen and Heidi Jarosz), and the visitors were quickly within seven (33-26) as things got interesting.

But then the Newburyport defense kicked in again and shut down the Rams completely for the next three minutes.

While the visitors struggled, the Clippers went on a 9-0 run and their lead rose to, 42-26, and back into something of a comfort zone.

Emma Foley defended by Heidi Jarosz (11 points)

The highlight makers for Newburyport in this good section were Olivia McDonald, Makenna Ward, and Emma Foley.  Olivia hit a jump shot and the only three of the game.  Makenna broke full-court for a layup while Emma spun into the lane for two points.

Emma (21 points) ended up with a ten-point quarter dashing Shepherd Hill’s hopes for getting closer to Newburyport.  The Clippers had a seventeen-point lead after three quarters.

“Emma (Foley) has great moves down there,” said SH coach Maura Hackenson.  “She keeps the ball really high, and we didn’t have the height to match up. We tried to front her.”

Emma often had 2-3 defenders whenever she had the ball but still found ways to supply badly needed scoring.

Shaylan Cashman looks to pass

“Emma thrives on offense,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “She needs a lot of touches.  She also did a good job of rebounding.”

The Rams from the Mid-Wach League were tough on the glass scoring on six offensive rebounds.

Newburyport’s next game will be on the road against Whitman-Hanson.

Quiet crowd at Newburyport this afternoon. 

Newburyport   15   19   18   5   =   57

Shepherd Hill   12   10   13   8   =   43

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Brela Pavoa guards Emery Mullen

The MIAA this year has arranged the tournament based on power rankings.  The North, South, Central, and West are history.  And with the new arrangement, regional games are gone.  Who around here even knew where Shepherd Hill was located?  But they were seeded #21 and the matchup was against #12 Newburyport. 

What has been interesting (to me) has been that so far the higher seeds almost always win.  This suggests that the rankings have been accurate.

I do, however, wonder about the excessive travel the new arrangement necessitates.  The Amesbury boys had to travel to western Massachusetts to play South Hadley this week on a school night.  The Frontier girls’ team (Deerfield) will be traveling to Amesbury for a 5:30PM game on a school night. 

Olivia McDonald
Heidi Jarosz gets a block
Sydney Turner
Emery Mullen guarded by Anna Seidel
Sydney Fitzgerald guarded by Emma Foley
Sydney Fitzgerald on defense
Scramble on the floor
Deirdre McElhinney on defense
Raegan Peck
Makenna Ward (15 points)
Shepherd Hill box
Newburyport box

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Pentucket downs Ursuline 64-41

Abby Dube (15 points) guards freshman Alana Hogan
Waverly Smart and Alyssa Thompson (15 points)

(West Newbury MA) “Pentucket played amazing defense,” said Ursuline coach Morgan O’Donnell afterwards.

How many times have we heard that from opposing coaches?

Pentucket (17-3) rode their full-court pressure defense to a, 64-41, win over Ursuline Academy on Friday night.

The victory moves the Sachems into the Round of 16.  Their next opponent will be either Masconomet or North Quincy.  Those teams play tomorrow (Saturday).

Ava Karol (10 points) gets a rebound

A Masco win brings another game to West Newbury.

“We have bleachers we can bring in to meet the requirements for seating,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.

Pentucket had a house full of fans and there was plenty to cheer about.

“It was loud in here,” said Coach O’Donnell.  “This atmosphere was tough to play in.”

Audrey Conover chases a loose ball

Pentucket shut out the Bears (10-10) for the first four minutes and put up nine unanswered points.  Four different players scored for Pentucket and all of them had layups.

Abby Dube and Alyssa Thompson were the game’s top scorers with fifteen points each. 

This was a night, however, when most of the Pentucket baskets had assists attached to them and most of the baskets were inside shots.

Lana Mickelson and Ava Karol

“There are no star players on the team,” said Lana Mickelson.  “We all work together.”

The Pentucket lead elevated to ten (27-17) in the second quarter after an Emma Lopata layup assisted by Audrey Conover.

The Sachems put a 12-2 run together in the third quarter, ending the run on an Abby Dube three-pointer.  The lead at that point had reached twenty (43-23) with a little under four minutes left in the third quarter.

Ava DiBurro reaches in

Both teams substituted liberally after that.

“I think our defense bothered them,” said Coach McNamara.  “It was our turnovers and quick shots on offense that kept them hanging around a bit.”

Credit Ursuline.  Despite trailing the entire game, the team from Dedham and the Catholic Conference kept plugging away in a hostile environment.

Ava DiBurro looks to pass

“Our kids came ready, and they played hard,” said Coach O’Donnell.  “That’s all I ask of them.”

Seniors Rebecca Morrill and Ava Karol paced the Bears with ten points each.

I was impressed with Ursuline freshman Alana Hogan.  Alana had seventeen points against Scituate.  Tonight, she was very good at handling the ball and continued to the basket if the opening was there.  Bright future.

The unselfish play of Pentucket was noticeable.  They executed penetrate-and-pass beautifully and ended up with many layups. 

Emma Lopata stands ready to take a charge

Senior captain Emma Lopata got two of the biggest reactions from the crowd when she drew two charges.

“Those can hurt,” she said, “and I was nervous about taking them because I had three fouls.”

Abby Dube ( three 3’s)

Abby Dube now has fifty three’s this season.

Pentucket is the #9 seed in Division 2. 

The seats were filled early and the enthusiasm for the home team was continuous.

“We love our fans,” said Emma. “It was fun playing in front of a huge crowd.”

“It was a messy game, but our team defense was pretty good,” said Ava DiBurro post-game.

Pentucket   15   16   16   17   =   64

Ursuline        7    12   10   12   =   41

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Pentucket box
Ursuline box
Bethany Cloutier
Audrey Conover in the lane
Ava DiBurro in for a layup
Lana Mickelson breaks in
Abby Dube passes
Gabby Bellacqua in the lane
Coach John McNamara
Alana Hogan
Abby Dube in front of the crowd

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