Daily Archives: March 12, 2022

Amesbury reaches D4 Final Four with 56-37 win over Hamilton-Wenham

Amesbury reaches the Final Four in Division Four
Avery Hallinan (25 points)

(Haverhill MA) On January 21st, Hamilton-Wenham defeated Amesbury, 51-45.

That result transformed both teams.

The Generals realized that if they played their best, they could knock off a very good team.

For Amesbury, it alerted them to what can happen if they don’t play very well.

This afternoon at Whittier, the Indians were on their game and never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance.

Jane Maguire (15 points)

Amesbury won, 56-37, and are now in the Division Four Final Four. They will face South Hadley on Tuesday at Framingham at 5PM.

“We thrive on man-to-man defense, but Amesbury is absolutely the worst team for us to try to match up with,” said HW coach Mark Cole afterwards.  “They’re big and they can shoot.”

Senior Avery Hallinan continued her post-season dominance with twenty-five points matching her total in Amesbury’s previous game with Frontier.  In the tourney opener vs Cape Cod Academy, Avery collected thirty-three points.

In transition Avery has been gathering points driving.  In Amesbury’s half-court offense, she has set up down low and feasted on single coverage.

Avery Hallinan in close to the basket with single coverage
AHS coach Gregg Dollas

“Our loss to them earlier made me anxious about this game,” explained AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.  “Our girls, though, always come to play and I knew that they weren’t going to let another loss happen.”

“We said coming in that we can’t get behind,” explained Coach Cole.  “We’ve got to come out of the first quarter even.”

Just the opposite happened.  Amesbury rolled off to a 12-1 lead (14-4 after a quarter) and it was clear that the HW defense was in trouble.

“The big thing was ball movement,” recalled Avery Hallinan.  “In the loss to them, we were forcing too many shots and passes.  Today we worked it in, and we worked it out and got shots from everywhere.”

HW coach Mark Cole

While Avery had a ten-point first quarter, the Amesbury defense concentrated on talented HW senior Jane Maguire.

Jane had five three’s in the win over Amesbury in January.

“We focused on covering the three because that’s their specialty,” said McKenna Hallinan.  “Jane (Maguire) is a great player.  We play her in soccer too.”

Gabby Redford covered Jane most of the game.  “I tried to stop her from getting off three’s,” said Gabby. 

Jane led the Generals (17-6) with fifteen points and did make three 3’s.  However, many of those points came in the second half when Hamilton-Wenham already had a twenty-point deficit.

Avery Hallinan goes baseline

The Indians (19-4) doubled up HW in the second quarter (24-12) on a Liv DeLong triple.

McKenna Hallinan’s two free throws in the third quarter increased the margin to twenty points (44-23) with 1 ½ minutes left in that quarter.

The rest of the game saw bench clearings for both squads.

Junior Sami Kimball had eleven points to go with shot blocks and rebounds.  “It’s such a great moment,” she said, “to get to the Final Four.  I’ve been dreaming about this since I was in middle school.  We learned from our loss to them and really played as a team.”

Kailee Whelan

Liv DeLong added ten points.  “We worked the ball to each other and spread the court.  They had trouble guarding Avery and Sami.”

McKenna: “We focused on getting the ball inside because when we beat them, they couldn’t cover our bigs.”

Coach Dollas: “We played defense from start to finish.  All five of our starters were phenomenal.  Cali (Catarius) came off the bench and held her own.”

McKenna Hallinan

Coach Cole: “The one team I didn’t want to play until the finals was Amesbury.  I think that the winner of today’s game will win the whole thing.”

An active crowd attended supporting their respective schools. 

Amesbury has now won ten of their last eleven games.

HW finished winning ten of their last twelve games.

“If anyone had told me that at the start of the season that we would win seventeen games, I would have told them that they were nuts,” said Coach Cole.  “But we got better and after our Amesbury win, we gained the confidence that took us three rounds into the post-season.  I’m very proud of what we accomplished.”

Amesbury   14   13   19   10   =   56

              HW   4   10   10   13   =   37

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Game ends
Ellie Marden
Michaela DeSimone
Christa Coffey pressured by Avery Hallinan
Gabby Redford
Lily Cassidy
Sadie Gamber and Gabby Redford
Avery Hallinan in alone
Jane Maguire and McKenna Hallinan
Battle for control
Sami Kimball blocks a shot
Final Four banner

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Andover reaches D1 Final Four with 56-33 win over Newton North

Captains Hailey Doherty, Tess Gobiel, and Morgan Shirley with trophy
Amelia Hanscom (25 pts)

(Andover MA) “They’re the #1 seed for a reason,” said Newton North coach Mo Hamel afterwards.

The NN coach had just seen her team lose, 56-33, to Andover on Friday night in the Division One Elite Eight.

The Warriors will now face Central Catholic, a familiar Merrimack Valley Conference opponent that they have beaten twice in close games this season.

The Warriors, “came out well,” was the way Coach Alan Hibino described his team’s breakaway first half in tonight’s game.

Hard to argue.  Andover scored the first twelve points of the game and the last nine points of the first quarter.  The Warriors were off 23-5 after one quarter and the Tigers never recovered.

Abby Wright (15 points)

Coach Hibino, however, described his team’s 33-14 lead at halftime as, “uncomfortable,” for good reason.

“Newton North (24th seed) had been down by nineteen points and eleven points in their two previous tournament games and had come back to win,” he explained.

“We made sure that we focused on the next play and forgot about the lead we had,” Coach Hibino added.

The approach worked in the second half.  The Warriors raised their lead to the twenties in the third quarter and held it there in the final quarter.

Michaela Buckley heads to the hoop

The Tigers (12-12) had been down before, but this was different.  “We’ve dug ourselves holes all year,” said Coach Hamel, “but you can’t beat a good team digging the hole we did tonight.”

The Warriors were able to get inside shots from the get-go.  Andover didn’t score from the outside until Ari White did it was a three-pointer 3 ½ minutes into the second period.

The Tigers were determined to keep the ball away from 6-3 Anna Foley but concentrating on denying her opened things up for other Warriors.

Amelia Hanscom (25 points) was the chief capitalizer notching twelve points in just the first quarter.  Amelia had eight of the Warriors first fourteen points.  Two of her early layups were assisted by Anna Foley.

Andover coach Alan Hibino

“They ran their sets so quickly and efficiently,” said Coach Hamel.  “We knew what was coming and we were prepared for it, but it didn’t matter.”

The Warriors’ offense started well and so did their defense.  A key to their fine beginning was holding the Tigers’ Abby Wright scoreless in that breakaway first quarter.

Credit Marissa Kobelski with some tough defense on the 6-2 NN junior.  “It was a physical game,” said Marissa.  “Abby is a very good player.  It helped me prepare for her because I play against Anna (Foley) every day in practice.”

Marissa Kobelski defends

“Marissa is an amazing defender,” explained teammate Michaela Buckley.  “She’s done it through the year for us.”

“We had seen Abby (Wright) have a fantastic game against Chelmsford,” said Coach Hibino afterwards.  “We also saw her score thirty on Central Catholic in the Comcast Tournament. She was every bit as good as advertised.  It was a team effort against her.”

Despite the heavy pressure Abby did finish with fifteen points and plenty of rebounds.

Tigers’ coach Mo Hamel

“We’ve been led by Abigail all year,” said Coach Hamel.  “She did what she could out there.  We needed some supporting contributions and didn’t get them today.”

Maggie Scanlon was the Tigers second highest scorer with five points.

Anna Foley finished with twelve points getting ten of them in the first half.

Newton North’s best run of offense was early in the second quarter.  Maggie Scanlon and Abby Wright tallied layups and Abby converted a rebound. 

Anna Foley drives

This streak of scoring put the Tigers within twelve (23-11).  Ari White, however followed with a triple (assisted by Anna Foley) and then Anna hit a foul line jumper on an inbounds play. 

“We had a lot of people step up in the first half,” said Coach Hibino.

“We came into this year inexperienced and with low expectations from many people,” said Coach Hamel, “but we had a good run.”

Freshman Devon Burke

“We want to win for our seniors,” said Marissa Kobelski.  “We want the longest season possible.”

Plenty of vocal support on hand for both teams.  Andover also had an excellent pep band.

Andover   23   10   13   10   =   56

Newton North   5   9   10   9   =   33

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Andover box
Newton North box
Andover bench celebration
Sophia Beatrice sees an opening
Amelia Hanscom and Abby Wright
Battle for a rebound
Nadia Briggs and Michaela Buckley
Denying a pass
Abby Wright and Anna Foley
Tess Gobiel and Abby Wright
Andover reaches the Final Four

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