Category Archives: Beverly

Toskany Abreu gets 29 points but Newburyport edges Beverly 60-57

Micah Davies (34) takes the last shot over Parker McLaren

Casey McLaren made clutch free throws in the final minute

(Newburyport MA) This had the feel of a tournament game.

Close, tense, free throws, last shot, and jumping around in celebration for the winners.

It was the Clippers (16-3) enjoying the happy ending as they defeated a very good Beverly team, 60-57, on Monday night.

“It was an excellent high school basketball game from start to finish,” said Beverly coach Matt Karakoudas afterwards.

Senior Toskany Abreu (29 points) had a monster game for the Panthers (10-6).  The BHS guard was able to get into the lane most of the time for layups despite an assortment of Newburyport defenders trying to stop him.

NHS coach Dave Clay was impressed: “We were trying somehow to stop #3 (Toskany Abreu).  He was terrific.  We tried everything; zone, man-to-man, face guard, diamond-and-one.”

The visitors from the Northeastern Conference took a one-point lead (57-56) into the final 2 ½ minutes after Toskany hit two free throws.

Beverly wouldn’t score another point.

“The key to this win was our effort,” said Coach Clay.  “I love what we brought to the table.”

All eyes were on Toskany Abreu as he scored 29 points for Beverly

Parker McLaren (15 points) finished an eight-point quarter with a jump shot in the lane assisted by Ryan Archie to put the Clippers in front 58-57 with 1:54 remaining.

Both teams then traded turnovers and Beverly had the ball back with thirty seconds left.  After the way things had gone all night, it wasn’t hard to imagine Toskany getting the shot in the crucial possession.

But that’s not what happened.  Harry Bovee defended Toskany well enough so that he gave the ball up.  Teammate Micah Davies tried a pass to Marje Mulumba under the basket that was high and wide.

Casey McLaren honored for scoring 1000 points

Beverly quickly fouled Casey McLaren and the pre-game honoree rattled two free throws in to increase the NHS lead to 60-57 with twenty-three seconds left.  Still plenty of time for Beverly to tie it.

Again, I imagined Toskany doing something but the Clippers defense forced the ball out of his hands.  Instead, senior Micah Davies attempted to tie the game with a three over Parker McLaren.  It rimmed out, Newburyport secured the rebound, and the celebrating soon followed.

Beverly build up a 10-point lead in the second quarter (27-17) putting a 13-2 run together.  Contributors were; Micah Davies, Marje Mulumba, Toskany Abreu, Jack Crowley, and Kyle Camara.

Casey McLaren beats the half-time buzzer

The Clippers used the final 2 ½ minutes of that second quarter to erase most of their deficit.  Casey McLaren’s long-range, buzzer-beater had NHS within three (29-26) going into the second half.

Casey ended up with fourteen points.

“Toskany played very, very well,” said Coach Karakoudas.  “We needed to give him a little more help in scoring.  Give credit to Newburyport and Coach Clay because they did an excellent job on our big man, Jack Crowley. They limited him to ten points which is below his norm.  Jack still did very well but they did a good job focusing on him.”

Jack Crowley tries to get away from Ryan Archie

The Clippers controlled the first period while the Panthers controlled the second period.  The second half was small leads, ties, and back-and-forth.

“What more could you ask for as a fan?” asked Coach Karakoudas afterwards. “I could ask for a win, but the fans had to love it!”

Nice crowd on hand including a collection of Pentucket players.  The Sachems won a big one from Newburyport on Friday night.

Casey McLaren was honored pre-game by state representative James Kelcourse for reaching 1000 points.

Newburyport box

Beverly box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Closing second

Parker McLaren leans in for a tough layup

Toskany Abreu guarded by Max Gagnon and Casey McLaren

Toskany Abreu shoots a 3 from the corner

Decisive free throws by Casey McLaren

George Coryell sets to pass

Jacob Roberton gets to the hoop

Marje Mulumba guards Casey McLaren

Parker McLaren denied a layup by the Beverly defense

 

 

 

 

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North Attleboro gets first baseball title 4-3 over Beverly

Force out at second ends the game

North Attleboro – Division Two state champs

Zach DeMattio

(Lowell MA) North Attleboro held off Beverly, 4-3, to win the Division Two state baseball title on Thursday night at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.

“We’ve worked all our lives for this,” said Zach DeMattio afterwards.  “There’s no better feeling.”

Zach was the hitting star for the Rockets (22-2) driving in all four runs with a single, double, and a sacrifice fly.

Zach’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning gave NA a “comfortable” four-run lead, or so it seemed, with the way UMaine commit Nick Sinacola was pitching.

But Beverly (20-5) had other ideas.  In the bottom of the fifth the Panthers loaded the bases on a double (Ryan Munzing), single (Tim McCarthy), and a walk (Matt Collings).  That brought Northeast Conference MVP Spencer Brown to the plate.  Spencer reached the left field fence, cleared the bases, and BHS was within a run.

Spencer Brown cleared the bases of three teammates in the 5th inning

“That ball was hit 340 feet,” explained Beverly coach Dave Wilbur.  “In most parks that’s a home run.”

But it didn’t go out and that 4-3 held the rest of the way.

“They were a hitter or two better than we were today,” said Coach Wilbur.  “This game could have gone either way.”

The Panthers stranded two in the first and twice ended innings with a runner on third base.

“Nick (Sinacola) was going to stay out there no matter what,” said Coach Mike Hart afterwards.  “He has been our strength.”

There was little to choose between pitchers Spencer Brown and Nick Sinacola.  Both allowed six hits and struck out nine.

Nick Sinacola

Spencer twice had a runner on third with no outs and escaped both times.  In the North Attleboro second, he struck out three straight, to end the threat.

The Panthers were within a run with two innings left but costly baserunning hurt them in each of the last two innings.

In the 6th, Matt Ploszay tried to stretch a single to right into a double.  RF Jeff Gale threw a strike to nail him.

In the 7th, Ryan Munzing walked leading off. When next batter Connor Hanlon squared to bunt, the pitch got a short distance away from catcher Zach DeMattio.  Ryan went well off the base and Zach alertly got him in a rundown.  Nick Sinacola applied the tag although Ryan was already out for going wide to avoid the tag.

The Panthers had an infield single later in the 7th inning by Tim McCarthy but Matt Collins’ grounder to second turned into a game-ending forceout.

Ryan Munzing caught in a 7th inning rundown

The costly rundown in the seventh kept Spencer Brown from getting another crack at Nick Sinacola.

“They were doing the right thing to bunt him over,” said Coach Hart.  “He was the tying run.  Zach made a great play to get the out.”

Coach Wilbur may have been referring to those last two Beverly innings when he said, “These are high school kids.  Nothing is going to be perfect.  The kids played their butts off.”

Brendan McHugh gets one of NA’s six steals

Looking for another reason why the Rockets won the game?  Six stolen bases.  NA was able to move into scoring position via the steal in the run-producing first (Nick Sinacola) and fifth (Brendan McHugh) innings.

Nick Sinacola: “Early in the game my fast ball was working.  Later, my curve was too and that made a big difference.”

Coach Wilbur: “Spencer was right there with Nick Sinacola.  From the 4th inning on he was unhittable.  We had a great season winning two championships.”

The title was the first one ever for North Attleboro.

The Rockets (Hockomock League) only losses were to two Super Eight teams Mansfield and Franklin.

Matt Collins tripled in the 3rd inning

NA blew through the D2 South outscoring three opponents 41-4.

Beverly (Northeast Conference) upset #1 seed Masco to win the D2 North finals.

The Panthers were very disappointed by the loss, but Coach Wilbur saw the lighter side when he quipped regarding Spencer Brown’s wall-hitting triple, “If he had just done ten more pushups a day it would have gone over.”

NA coach Mike Hart was notified after the game that he had been selected as Division 2 Coach-of-the-Year.  The notifier was planning a photo-shoot in Braintree the next day.  Mike sheepishly said that he wouldn’t be able to attend.  Why?  He was getting married on Saturday!

Brendan McHugh (18) and Nick Sinacola (23) scored on Zach DeMattio’s double in the second inning.

I jokingly asked Mike what there was left for him to do!  This is a first-year coach leading North Attleboro to their first-ever state baseball title.  He answered by saying he wanted to develop baseball players and about his eight years with the program.  However, I’m guessing that in a week or so when the reality of all that has happened, including the wedding, hits him he will realize what an amazing time this has been for him.

The weather at LeLacheur was terrific. The internet?  Not so good afterwards, hence the delayed posting of this story.

Driving to Lowell during rush hour traffic is always a challenge when 495 is in the mix.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Zach DeMattio, Coach Mike Hart, Nick Sinacola

Brendan McHugh steals second in the 3rd inning

Aidan Harding leaps for a high throw and Matt Collins reaches first

Nick Sinacola scores the first Rockets’ run

Matt Collins, Coach Dave Wilbur, Tim McCarthy

Aidan Harding celebrates

Matt Collins at game’s end

Matt Ploszay out at second in the 6th inning

Brendan McHugh avoids a tag

 

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Beverly Girls take down Salem 56-46 in D1 North first round

Melissa Lubas (15 points) had a solid all-around game for the victorious Panthers

Melissa Lubas (15 points) had a solid all-around game for the victorious Panthers

Beverly starts to celebrate

Beverly starts to celebrate

(Salem MA) This was anyone’s game until Beverly put fourteen unanswered points together in the second half and defeated Salem, 56-46, in Division 1 North first round action on Wednesday night.

The Panthers (15-6) will play the winner of the Woburn/Arlington game.

Ashley Augulewicz (16), Melissa Lubas (15), and Natalie Mellinger (15) all had double figures for the Panthers.  Brianna Rodriguez (15) and Jackie Panneton (12) paced Salem.

Beverly was intent on keeping the ball away from overpowering Jackie Panneton on the inside while Salem (14-7) wanted to heavily defend Beverly’s long-range shooters.  Both succeeded.  The difference was that Salem didn’t have the outside accuracy to compensate for the shutdown inside game.  Beverly, on the other hand, shot fewer 3’s but took the ball to the basket for scores or fouls.

Ashley Augulewicz (16 points) gets two

Ashley Augulewicz (16 points) gets two

By attacking the basket the Panthers earned twenty-nine free throws.  Fouls eliminated key Salem performers Rachel Zipper with over 5+ minutes left and Brianna Rodriguez with 1 ½ left.

The two teams had split their two meetings during the regular season and tonight’s game ended up at Salem because they won a coin toss.  It figured to be a close game and with three minutes left in the third quarter that is exactly what it was, 32-32.

The next seven minutes of playing time, stretching into the 4th quarter, were all Beverly.  The visitors registered fourteen straight points and the Witches never recovered after trailing 46-32.

In the breakaway segment senior Ashley Augulewicz converted two rebounds and had a layup off a nice assist from teammate Jess Cross.  Sophomore Natalie Mellinger drained two three’s from in front of the Panthers’ cheering section.  Junior Melissa Lubas added a drive-and-one that fouled Salem senior Rachel Zipper out of the game.

Beverly tries to keep the ball away from 1000-point scorer Jackie Panneton

Beverly tries to keep the ball away from 1000-point scorer Jackie Panneton

The eventual final outcome seemed unlikely to those of us on hand for the first quarter.  Beverly was determined to launch long ones and Salem’s defense wouldn’t allow it.  Meanwhile it was Salem making 3’s (two by Rachel Zipper in the first quarter) and getting the ball inside on occasion to Jackie Panneton (4 points).  Salem led 14-6 after a quarter.

Beverly started the second quarter with ten straight (six points by Natalie Mellinger) and got the lead but Salem answered with seven straight including a three by junior Nicole Sadoway to retake the lead.  Salem was in front 23-21 at the half.

In the third quarter the teams worked themselves into a 32-32 tie before Salem suffered a disastrous drought and never recovered.

Brianna Rodriguez tallied ten points for the Witches in the final quarter but Beverly made eight-of-eleven free throws to carry off the win.

I was impressed with the play of junior Melissa Lubas of Beverly.  She had a few more turnovers in the front court than I would have liked in a point guard but everything else was very good.  Head-up dribbling, long-range passing, rebounding, and 9-for-10 free throw shooting are a nice collection of positives.

Rachel Zipper drives on Oliva George

Rachel Zipper drives on Oliva George

Beverly had lost three of their last four.  They do have wins over the division leaders (Revere and Winthrop) in the Northeast Conference.

Beverly coach Allison Flynn played her high school basketball for Salem.

Jackie Panneton scored her 1000th point in Salem’s last game of the season.

Beverly box

Salem box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jess Cross breaks in

Jess Cross breaks in

loose ball

loose ball

Melissa Lubas looks for someone to pass to

Melissa Lubas looks for someone to pass to

Brianna Rodriguez (15 points) cuts through

Brianna Rodriguez (15 points) cuts through

Freshman Emily Fabre shoots from the corner

Freshman Emily Fabre shoots from the corner

Melissa Lubas made nine-of-ten free throws

Melissa Lubas made nine-of-ten free throws

 

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Kyle Coughlin’s last-second layup gives Beverly an 85-84 win in double OT over Gloucester

Kyle Coughlin gets the game-winner in the second overtime

Kyle Coughlin gets the game-winner in the second overtime

Panthers start to celebrate

Panthers start to celebrate

(Beverly MA) They’ll be talking about this one for a long time in Beverly.

Maybe not so long in Gloucester as the Fishermen took an 85-84 double overtime loss at The Lodge in Beverly on Sunday afternoon in Northeastern Conference action.

Junior Kyle Coughlin (14 points) won the game finishing a drive that was nearly full-court with one second left.

Kyle doesn’t get that chance without two 3-point baskets by senior Gavin Sparkman (17 points). The last three points scored in regulation were Gavin’s old-fashioned 3-pointer. Later his three from beyond the arc with 2.5 seconds left in the first overtime erased a 3-point Gloucester lead.

The Fishermen (8-6) had defeated Beverly, 61-46, on January 9th at Gloucester. They both played at that level for a half in this game as the visitors had a comfortable, 40-21, advantage.

Alex Militello (19 points) looks to pass

Alex Militello (19 points) looks to pass

The Fishermen point guard Alex Militello took good care of the ball and Drew Muniz (25 points) had eleven first-quarter points including three 3’s.

Beverly (5-8) came out after halftime and played a remarkable third quarter collecting twenty-six points. Down, 44-26, the home team ran fifteen straight past Gloucester and trailed by only three (44-41) with 3:23 left in the quarter. Pat Gavin, Sam Traicoff, and Kyle Coughlin tallied the Beverly points in the run.

I thought at the time that now Gloucester was in trouble but it wasn’t until the 3-minute mark of the final quarter that four straight free throws by junior John Loreti knotted things at 59-59. The Fishermen had a 3-point lead after a Ryan Gabriele free throw with 42 seconds left but Gavin Sparkman answered with a three to send this game into OT.

Gloucester lost two key players (Dylan Aptt and Ryan Gabriele) to fouls before the 4th quarter ended. Both players were strong on the inside. Minus them the Fishermen were vulnerable to drives to the hoop.

Drew Muniz gets fouled by Sam Traicoff with six seconds left in the 2nd overtime

Drew Muniz gets fouled by Sam Traicoff with six seconds left in the 2nd overtime

Gloucester came very close to winning the game in the first overtime. After two ties, Drew Muniz nailed a three from Alex Militello with 25 seconds left. After a Sam Traicoff miss, Drew was fouled. It was a shock to see a player who had just made a three miss two free throws. Those misses proved crucial as Gavin Sparkman tied the game for Beverly with a three from the left with 2.9 to go.

The Panthers led 3-0 at the start of the game. They took their second lead of the game in the second OT on two free throws by junior Ryan Garrity and a layup by Gavin Sparkman.

Back came Drew Muniz with a three to close the gap to one (80-79). Two free throws by Ryan Anderson were answered by a layup by Drew Muniz with 31 seconds left. Kevin Coughlin made one of two free throws with 20 second left and Beverly was ahead by two, 83-81.

Drew Muniz (25 points) puts up a shot

Drew Muniz (25 points) puts up a shot

There was little doubt, at least in my head, that senior Drew Muniz would be taking the next Gloucester shot. Sure enough, he tried a 3-pointer at 5.3 seconds and was fouled by Sam Traicoff. Despite having missed two straight at the end of the first overtime, the GHS senior drained all three free throws and suddenly Gloucester had a one-point lead. Talk about pressure free throws!

Beverly coach Scott Lewis told me afterwards that the plan was to have either Kyle Coughlin or Sam Traicoff penetrate and look to dish off in close. As it turned out, Kyle drove past Alex Militello and no Gloucester defenders stepped in. Kyle had an open lane to the hoop and was able to put in the game-winner.

Plenty exciting for sure.

Sam Traicoff (20 points) had sixteen of those points for Beverly in the second half.

Alex Militello ended with nineteen points. He had quite a few assists especially in the first half.

Kyle Coughlin gets caught in a double team

Kyle Coughlin gets caught in a double team

Gloucester had a 14-2 segment in the first quarter and twelve unanswered in the second quarter.

Gloucester missed twelve free throws while Beverly missed seven.

Gloucester has now lost three straight while Beverly has won four of their last five.

I would tell you that both teams resume play on Tuesday but you know the forecast.

Beverly boxscore

Gloucester boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Battle for possession

Battle for possession

Bill Cahill and Scott Lewis

Bill Cahill and Scott Lewis

Kyle Coughlin (#3) feeds Ryan Garrity (#34) for two

Kyle Coughlin (#3) feeds Ryan Garrity (#34) for two

Sam Traicoff (20 points) sees an opening

Sam Traicoff (20 points) sees an opening

Gavin Sparkman (17 points) hits a three at the end of the first OT

Gavin Sparkman (17 points) hits a three at the end of the first OT

Pat Gavin

Pat Gavin

Evan Mason gets in close

Evan Mason gets in close

Gavin Sparkman screens Drew Muniz off of Sam Traicoff

Gavin Sparkman screens Drew Muniz off of Sam Traicoff

John Philpott drives past James Aaron

John Philpott drives past James Aaron

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Lynn English wins 17th straight 78-46 over Beverly

Catherine Stinson passes ahead to Diondra Woumn (#1)

Catherine Stinson passes ahead to Diondra Woumn (#1)

Diondra Woumn (22 points) shoots over defenders

Diondra Woumn (22 points) shoots over defenders

(Beverly MA) That’s seventeen straight for undefeated Lynn English.

The Bulldogs (17-0) displayed their never-ending offense as they ran away from Beverly, 78-46, on the road on Friday night in Northeast Conference action.

The Panthers (6-9) never could find a way to contain the LE scorers but they did manage to stay competitive through 2 1/2 quarters thanks to the long-range accuracy of Natalie Mellinger (17 points) and Bridget Keaton (12 points).

Natalie had three long ones in the first five minutes of the game and that helped Beverly hold a 15-8 advantage.

Natalie Mellinger (17 points) hit five long ones

Natalie Mellinger (17 points) hit five long ones

Lynn English, however, just never went away offensively.  Diondra Woumn (22 points), Catherine Stinson (19 points), and Deidra Newson (16 points) had the speed and dribbling skills to find plenty of layups and open looks from the outside.

Two free throws by Deidra Newson gave LE an 18-17 lead after a quarter.  Diondra Woumn cashed four layups and two free throws in that quarter.

The Bulldogs pushed their lead to ten (30-20) in the second quarter but Beverly put seven unanswered points together and were within four (35-31) early in the third period.

Four LE layups later the Bulldogs were in front 43-31 with three minutes left in the third quarter.  Beverly answered with two three’s (Bridget Keaton) and a Natalie Mellinger jump shot and only trailed, 46-39, with a 1 1/2 quarters left.

Those last twelve minutes were absolutely all Lynn English to say the least.  Fatigue had plenty to do with it as Beverly had played, and defeated, Lynn Classical on Thursday.

The Panthers began to have trouble even getting shots off while, down the other end, the Bulldogs continued to take and make shot after shot.  The rest of the way Beverly was outscored, 32-7!

Catherine Stinson (19 points) hit four long ones

Catherine Stinson (19 points) hit four long ones

LE had unanswered runs of nine points and eleven points during the closing twelve minutes.  Beverly was held to just four points in the final quarter.

The individual skills of the LE players were impressive.  They could dribble their way into good shots.  They could move without the ball to get open.

Then you add 1000-point scorer Catherine Stinson to the mix.  She had four 3’s and three layups.

Lynn English has had only one close game this season and that was their 59-51 win over St. Mary’s on December 28th.

Last year the Bulldogs were upset in the Division 1 North quarterfinals by Andover.  In that win, Andover made three’s and got several LE starters into foul trouble.

Lynn English is 59-6 over the past 2+ years.

Another thing about Lynn English that caught my attention was their lack of emotion.  Nothing seemed to change about their demeanor whether they were behind early in this game or cruising to victory later on.

Very small crowd of spectators watched this game.  At times it was so quiet that if you closed your eyes you might have thought you were in the Beverly Public Library.

Makayla Everette (10 points) gets inside

Makayla Everette (10 points) gets inside

Makayla Everette (10 points) was the fourth Bulldog in double figures.

Beverly had twenty-two turnovers while Lynn English had fourteen by my unofficial count.

Last time I was in the Beverly Fieldhouse they had stands set up under each basket.

Beverly’s next game is at Revere on Tuesday (5:30PM).  LE visits Lynn Classical on the same night.

Lynn English box

Beverly box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Deidra Newson gets two

Deidra Newson gets two

Bridget Keaton (12 points)

Bridget Keaton (12 points)

Diondra Woumn defends

Diondra Woumn defends

Bulldogs double-team

Bulldogs double-team

Catherine Stinson guards Melissa Lubas

Catherine Stinson guards Melissa Lubas

Michayla Woodward guards Deidra Newson (16 points)

Michayla Woodward guards Deidra Newson (16 points)

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Lynn Classical holds off Beverly 66-60 in Division 2 North First Round

Eraldo Custodio (16 points) had ten points in the first quarter

Eraldo Custodio (16 points) had ten points in the first quarter

Jalen Brown (16 points) sank two free throws with eighteen seconds left

Jalen Brown (16 points) sank two free throws with eighteen seconds left

(Beverly)  Lynn Classical was able to survive a frantic final thirty seconds and defeated Beverly, 66-60, in the First Round of Division 2 North on Tuesday night.

The Rams (15-8) move on to play Wakefield on Saturday.

Beverly (14-7) was within two (62-60) after Cam Rogers nailed a three from straightaway with thirty-two seconds left but the Panthers squandered their next two possessions.

The first squander came after Jon Berchoff  (14 points) stole the ball from Jalen Brown deep in the backcourt.  Instead of getting the game-tying layup Jon’s in-all-alone shot missed.

The Panthers quickly fouled Jordan Brown with twenty-two seconds left.  Jordan made the first to put LC ahead by three (63-60) but missed the second.  Then came squander #2 after Nick Cross gathered in the rebound as he threw the ball away over the Beverly bench.

Jalen Brown (16 points) followed with two straight free throws with eighteen seconds left (65-60) and his brother Jordan added another free throw with nine seconds remaining to finish the scoring.

This was a game with ten lead changes.

Beverly looked to be cooked in the third quarter when they fell behind, 47-36, with three minutes left.  However, the #6 seeded Panthers finished the quarter with nine unanswered points and only trailed by two (47-45) after three periods.

Nick Cross (22 points) fires from the corner

Nick Cross (22 points) fires from the corner

Nick Cross (22 points) had an old-fashioned three and a new-fashioned three in the run back for the home team.

Eraldo Custodio (16 points) returned to the Rams’ lineup in the fourth quarter.  He sat out part of the third with three fouls.  6-3 Eraldo made two fine moves to get open for points early in the 4th and enable LC to gain a 53-47 advantage with 6 ½ minutes remaining in the game.

The next three minutes were a nightmare for Lynn Classical.  They were held pointless.  They turned the ball over five times.  They gave up layups to Jon Berchoff and Chris Sinclair off the turnovers.

The total production for Beverly during this segment was eight unanswered points and it gave them the lead (55-53) with 3 ½ minutes left.

Phillip Rogers (12 points)

Phillip Rogers (12 points)

But back came the Rams with seven straight.  Two free throws by Phillip Rogers (12 points), another fancy move by Eraldo Custodio to get a layup, and a three by Jorge Perez (10 points) provided the LC points.  The Rams led, 60-55.

Chris Sinclair followed with a steal and layup for Beverly while Jorge Perez added two free throws.  Then Cam Rogers ignited the crowd wearing orange with his three with thirty-two seconds left.

This was the best Beverly could do as the Rams survived the closing seconds to get to play some more basketball.

The Panthers had a 25-20 lead after three minutes of the second quarter but the Rams, led by Jalen Brown’s six points, put a 12-2 run together to close out that quarter and led, 32-27, at the half.

Lynn Classical had defeated Beverly, 66-45, earlier in February.

LC won despite twenty-four turnovers.  Beverly was quick to the ball and eager to turn miscues into points.

The Panthers struggled to contain both Eraldo Custodio and Jalen Brown. Eraldo had ten points in the first quarter.

Nick Cross guards Jalen Brown

Nick Cross guards Jalen Brown

Nick Cross had nine points for the Panthers in the first quarter.

The #11 seed Rams have beaten both Salem and Lynn English twice.

Lynn Classical Boxscore

Beverly Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

Jorge Perez (10 points) sails in for two

Jorge Perez (10 points) sails in for two

Beverly coach Scott Lewis

Beverly coach Scott Lewis

Jon Berchoff (14 points) guards Jalen Brown

Jon Berchoff (14 points) guards Jalen Brown

LC coach Tom Grassa

LC coach Tom Grassa

Cam Rogers (9 points)

Cam Rogers (9 points)

Chris Sinclair takes off with a steal

Chris Sinclair takes off with a steal

Jalen Brown floats in the lane

Jalen Brown floats in the lane

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Franklin reaches state Division 1 girls soccer finals with 2-0 win over Beverly

Kristi Kirshe (12) nets her 100th goal on this first-half direct kick.

Kristi is all smiles afterwards

(Lynn) Undefeated Franklin moves on to the Division 1 state girls soccer finals after defeating Beverly, 2-0, on Wednesday night at Manning Field.

(Both teams are the Panthers so I will avoid the nickname.)

Franklin (21-0-1) will now face Nashoba Valley (18-0-4) on Friday night at Worcester State University at 5PM.  NV has only lost once in two years.  What a great matchup!

Franklin senior Kristi Kirshe got the, “will she get her 100th goal,” suspense behind her in the first half on a direct kick.

In the second half, sophomore Taylor Cogliano broke past Beverly goalie Rachel Kenney for a Franklin insurance goal.

The South champs had the better of the midfield play most of the game.  I could hear Beverly coach Kristin Simpson yelling to her team that Franklin, “was winning all of the 50/50 balls.”  Kristi Kirshe had plenty to do with that domination.

Franklin GK Dani Lonati deflects a corner kick over the net as Caitlin Harty (6) lurks nearby.

Beverly (18-4-0) had several good chances by their 50-goal scorer Caitlin Harty but for the most part Caitlin had trouble getting any operating room.  Julia Bireley shadowed Caitlin throughout the game.

Much of the Beverly offense was setup by the individual skills of sophomore Eva Gourdeau.

Franklin (21-0-1) was able to get deep on Beverly numerous times off of the dribbling and passing of Kristi Kirshe and Taylor Cogliano.

Kristi hit the crossbar near the end of the first half while Taylor had shots go wide on either side of the Beverly net in the second half.

Kristi’s milestone goal was off a direct kick at 33:54 in the first half.  Kristi’s dribbling set up the direct kick as she was dropped by Beverly’s Kristen O’Connor.

Kristi faced a wall of Beverly defenders but her hard shot hit the left goalpost and caromed to the right into the net behind Beverly GK Casey Cook.

Eighteen minutes after Kristi’s goal in the first half, Beverly had two back-to-back corner kicks from both sides.  Caitlin Harty came close to getting a head on the first while Eva Gourdeau did get a head on the second.  Neither resulted in a goal but Franklin coach Tom Geysen called a timeout right after that to settle things down.

I happened to catch some of Coach Geysen’s halftime talk and believe me he wasn’t handing out accolades.  The memory of a 3-0 halftime lead against Oliver Ames in the South finals, turning into a 3-2 nail biter, was probably still fresh in his mind.

About ten minutes into the second half the Beverly coach moved Kristen O’Connor further up the field to be part of the attack hoping that a tying goal would result.  Kristen was already taking all the Beverly corner kicks and direct kicks.

That player switch led to a goal at 11:33 after Taylor Cogliano broke open down the middle.  The tricky sophomore had time to fake past the Beverly goalie, dribble a couple more times, and then casually tap the ball into an open net.  

Now up, 2-0, the Franklin defense and offense never let up, avoiding another Oliver Ames type late-game scare.

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Franklin tied Walpole, 2-2, in the last game of the regular season.

Franklin has never won a girls soccer state title.  They reached the state semifinals in 2010 losing to Central Catholic in overtime.

That Beverly reached the state semifinals was a surprise to many.  During the regular season the Panthers lost twice to Peabody and once to Danvers.

Caitlin Harty

Junior Caitlin Harty scored twenty-seven goals in 2011 and twenty-three this year.  Teammate Eva Gourdeau tallied twenty-five in 2011 and fourteen this season.

Caitlin is the top student in Beverly’s junior class with a GPA of 4.7348.  She is taking all honors classes.

Nice late fall night at Manning Field.  It was cold but there wasn’t any wind.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Taylor Cogliano sails in for a shot

Rose Terner

Bailey Knous collides with the BHS goalie

Kristen OConnor lines up a shot

Franklin coach Tom Geysen afterwards

Eva Gourdeau (16) tries to get by Nicole Ellin (11)

Grace Conley (23) guards the post during a corner kick.

Kristen OConnor (10) chases Kristi Kirshe (12)

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