Category Archives: Fenway

Amesbury edges Fenway 68-63 and gets St. Mary’s in Spartan Classic final

Avery Hallinan (27 points) in for two of them

Fifty turnovers in this game – Fenway (28), Amesbury (22)

(Lynn MA) This game was hardly smooth.

Sixty-four free throws and fifty turnovers.

Whistles galore.

Amesbury rode their accurate free throw shooting (29-for-35) to a 68-63 win over Fenway in the First Round of the Division 3 Spartan Classic.

Amesbury will face St. Mary’s in the title game Monday night. It is not a reach to think that one of these two teams will be playing at the TD Garden on March 9th or 10th in the D3 state semi-final game.

Fenway has two six-footers (Janyah Gulley & Kayana Armbrister) but Janyah fouled out in the third quarter and Kayana in the fourth quarter with five minutes left.

“Their big girls getting into foul trouble certainly helped, “said Amebury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “His subs, however, did a good job of keeping them in the game.”

Alli Napoli (21 points)

This was a one-possession game (62-59) going into the last minute. Then an Alli Napoli (21 points) layup, assisted by Sadie Kermelewicz, raised the lead and Avery Hallinan (27 points) sealed the deal with four straight free throws.

Avery struggled from the floor tonight, but at the line? Wow! The sophomore made 17-of-19.

Avery also had several steals and took three charges.

“We focused on taking charges and making our free throws,” added McKenna Hallinan.

“We scored sixty-eight and we didn’t shoot well,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas. “Avery on the line was huge. Our free throw shooting saved us because our outside shots weren’t falling at all early on.”

The Panthers (11-6) got off to a terrific start.

Imani Terry (16 points) helped Fenway get off to a fast start

In the first twenty seconds, senior Imani Terry (16 points) hit a three, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and made a layup.

The next points after that were on a rebound basket by sophomore Wynter Neal (14 points).

Coach Dollas immediately went for a timeout after the 7-0 beginning. “I’ve never seen a start like that,” he said.

“That timeout settled us down,” recalled McKenna.

Amesbury (18-1) has not been behind very often, or for very long, this season but against a quality team like Fenway there was no quick recovery.

The Indians put a run of eight straight points together in the second quarter to get to within two (22-20) but D4 Fenway was still ahead (29-26) at halftime.

Janyah Gulley fouled out in the 3rd period

Amesbury got the unanswered run of eight off a successful inbounds play (Alli Napoli) and a full-court Alli drive. Avery Hallinan made two free throws and then took a steal in for a layup for the other four points.

Alli drained Amesbury’s only three, 1 ½ minutes into the second half, to tie the score at 31-31.

Shortly after the score was tied, the first of Fenway’s two tallest players (Janyah Gulley) fouled out.

Sophomore Kayana Armbrister (20 points) soars into the lane

It would have been easy at this point to think that Amesbury would take advantage but Fenway’s Kayana Armbrister (20 points) had other plans. Kayana made free throws and started the final quarter with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Fenway led, 43-40.

Amesbury then made their run to the front for good.

Free throws (Avery Hallinan), a layup (Gabby Redford) assisted by Alli Napoli, and a drive (Avery) put the Indians ahead, 46-43, with six minutes left.

A minute later, Kayana Armbrister was gone on fouls after Avery Hallinan took the charge.

The Panthers were in trouble and down, 59-51, with 2:20 left. But they weren’t out.

Consecutive three’s (Wynter Neal & Imani Terry) vaulted the team from the Boston City League to within a possession, 59-57, with 1 ½ minutes left.

Alli Napoli got a point back on a free throw before Fenway committed their 28th turnover.

McKenna Hallinan shoots a free throw

Two free throws by McKenna Hallinan were answered by two from Wynter Neal….62-59.

Amesbury tallied six points in their next three possessions while Fenway picked up four points. The Panthers had another free throw point but lost it on a lane violation.

“It cost us not having our six-footers late in the game,” said Fenway coach John Rice post-game. “You’ve got to play the game. You’ve got to do the best you can with the players you’ve got.”

Fenway was missing starter Omariah Ashley.

The Panthers have won the Boston City League three straight years.

Alli Napoli looks inside

Fenway’s 11-6 record is misleading. Three of their losses were to D1 schools.

Amesbury’s only loss was to D2 defending champs Pentucket on January 28th.

Pentucket’s coach John McNamara picked up his 300th win tonight. He’s reached that total in fifteen seasons. That’s a 20-wins-per-season pace!

Avery Hallinan: “The game was interesting. We started really, really, really bad. Then we slowed it down and got fouls on their best players which we like to do. We started to hit our shots and passed to get layups.”

Fenway box

Amesbury box

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

Wynter Neal and Avery Hallinan

Surrounded by Indians

Sophomore Kayana Armbrister

Senior Alli Napoli

McKenna Hallinan

Janaiya Printemps and McKenna Hallinan

Fenway coach John Rice

Inbounds play

Izzy Cambece

Ciara Sullivan

Alli Napoli guards senior Janyah Gulley






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Coyle Cassidy reaches D4 state finals with 55-47 win over Fenway

Kaylee Haynes (13) passes ahead to an open teammate and an easy two points

Kassidy Fields (41) looks for an inbounds pass

(Boston MA) The storm arrived a day early for Coach John Rice and his Fenway Panthers.

That “storm” was the Coyle & Cassidy Warriors.

The Warriors (22-3) never trailed as they won the Division 4 state semi-final game, 55-47, on Monday afternoon at the TD Garden.

“We just played the best team we’ve played all year,” said Coach Rice afterwards.  “They did everything well.”

This was the first time Fenway (21-3) has lost at the Garden in the five times Coach Rice has brought his teams there.

The Warriors started fast (9-0) forcing the Panthers to burn two timeouts in the first four minutes.  Senior Me’ara Carter (10 points) finally got Fenway on the board with a nice spin down the lane.

The team from Taunton built their advantage to as many as seventeen points (40-23) in the third quarter and still were up by fourteen (44-30) two minutes into the final quarter.

Kaylee Haynes trapped by Dasiah Thornton and Colby Upchurch

But a good team like Fenway was not going to go away.

“I told the team at halftime that Fenway would make a run,” recalled Coach O’Brien, “and that was what happened.”

The Panthers put a run of eight straight together and suddenly with 3:20 left in the game the deficit was just six (44-38). Dasiah Thornton had a three during the rally.

Plenty of time for Fenway but on this afternoon C&C refused to let it happen.

A key play for the Warriors was a Kassidy Fields block that led to a breakaway layup.  “Kassidy blocked it and it came to me,” said Sam Hourihan afterwards.  “I outleted the ball and we ended up with a layup.”

The play Sam described was part of the ten points the Warriors put together after Fenway was within six.

Rachel Johnson (12 points) turns the corner on Nattaly David

Kaylee Haynes and Rachel Johnson were also major contributors in the game-sealing segment that gained C&C separation (54-38).

Kaylee had two layups and a free throw while Rachel assisted on the first two baskets in the two minutes of offensive excellence.

The Panthers would add nine points in the last minute, but time was on C&C’s side and they won, 55-47.

“We cut the lead to six but then left one of their players alone and they went down and got an and-one,” said Coach Rice.  “That turned the momentum their way.”

“We perservered,” said Coach O’Brien.  “We made some big shots down the stretch.”

Coyle & Cassidy will play for the state title on Saturday at Springfield against Monson.  It will be the Warriors first time in the state finals since 1987.

Plenty of good guard play by the Warriors.  The Panthers some serious pressure on those guards in the second half. The result was four C&C turnovers as the team from Roxbury cut the lead to six.

“We were too close to the sidelines,” said guard Kaylee Haynes after the game. “That is why they were able to trap us. When we got the ball into the middle we were able to spread them out and get layups.”

Dasiah Thornton (10 points) uses a Me’ara Carter screen

The Warriors ran early in the game with missed Fenway attempts to get that nine-zip lead.  Rachel Johnson, Sam Hourihan, Kaylee Haynes, and Kassidy Fields supplied the points.

Fenway had size (Me’ara Carter is 6-3) and drivers.  The Warriors handled those things with help defense. They also committed plenty of fouls but benefitted from an off afternoon at the line by the Panthers.

Fenway’s poor foul shooting (19-for-35) had a direct connection to the final outcome.  When the Panthers were within six, in the last quarter, they had already missed thirteen freebies.

C&C had success during the game breaking out with Fenway misses and getting layups before the Panthers shot blockers could get back on defense to be a factor.

Juniors Rachel Johnson and Kaylee Haynes led the Warriors with twelve points each.  Rachel had nine in the first half.

Junior Colby Upchurch (12 points) paced Fenway.  Junior Dasiah Thornton and senior Me’ara Carter both collected ten points for Fenway.

Jenna Piatelli at the line

Senior Jenna Piatelli came off the C&C bench to tally six points in short minutes.

“My father coached thirty years and never got a sniff at a state championship,” said Coach O’Brien.  “I’m happy to be in this situation.”

The Warriors were able to contain sophomore Janyah Gulley.  In the tournament, Janyah had twelve rebounds against Lowell Catholic and nineteen points versus Mystic Valley.

John Rice has won sixteen Boston City League titles; five at Fenway and thirteen at Burke.

It is always exciting for the players to play a big game at the Garden.  So much history.  Pretty exciting for a blogger to cover a game there too.

Coyle & Cassidy box

Fenway box

(All pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Post-game pose

Kaylee Haynes (13) gets past Colby Upchurch (11)

Kassidy Fields (9 points) about to cash a breakaway layup

Abbie Kurtzer puts up an open three

Nattaly David (20) looks to shoot

Colby Upchurch (12 points) tries to turn the corner on Kaylee Haynes

Kaylee Haynes (13) drew a charge from Janyah Gulley (25) on this play

Dasiah Thornton (3) heads down the lane with Stacie Leonard (23)

Guard Kaylee Haynes (13) looks one way and passes another

Abbie Kurtzer looks for someone to pass to

Rachel Johnson (12 points)

Me’ara Carter looks for open space

Me’ara Carter at the line

Sam Hourihan defends Colby Upchurch




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Fenway routs Shawsheen 71-45 to advance to Division 4 North finals

Tajaynay Veiga (24 points) fires a three over Emily Irwin

Tajaynay Veiga (24 points) fires a three over Emily Irwin

Tajaynay Veiga drives past Emily Knoops

Tajaynay Veiga drives past Emily Knoops

(Malden) Fenway blew out Shawsheen Tech, 71-45, with amazing segments of points/defense in each half and now move on to the Division 4 North finals on Friday at Emmanuel College.

The Panthers (13-7) are the reigning Division Four champs and I would expect them to be holding MIAA championship hardware again early next week at the TD North Garden after two more wins.

I thought that #3 seed Shawsheen Tech (18-4) might be able to compete with #10 seed Fenway based on last year’s D4 North finals.  Shawsheen only trailed Fenway by three (29-26) after three quarters a year ago before losing, 49-34.

In the 2012-13 rematch, the Rams for 1 ½ quarters looked capable of holding their own.  The team from Billerica took care of the ball and made shots.  The result was that with four minutes left in the second quarter Shawsheen was in front, 19-13.  During the great early going, Emily Irwin contributed seven points and Ari Medeiros five points.

Then the first segment of amazing points/defense kicked in for Fenway.  Over the next five minutes of playing time, stretching into the start of the second half, the Panthers outscored Shawsheen, 22-1.  (That is not a typo!)

Emily Irwin (13 points) gets caught in Fenway trap

Emily Irwin (13 points) gets caught in Fenway trap

The Rams fell victim to Panther full-court pressure (ten turnovers) and went out of synch on possession after possession.  That eruption and disruption put Fenway ahead, 35-20, with most of the second half left to play.

Five of the Fenway baskets, during the first surge, were directly off of steals deep in the Shawsheen backcourt.

The hardest pill for the Ram fans was the eight points tallied by the Panthers in the last fifty seconds of the first half.  Blame Tajaynay Veiga (24 points).  The talented senior had four free throws, a steal that led to a layup, and a layup in that last fifty seconds.

Tajaynay was right back at it to start the second half with a three and a converted rebound.

Ari Medeiros (15 points) tries for three

Ari Medeiros (15 points) tries for three

The Rams were able to chip four points off that 15-point deficit and trail by eleven (48-37) with 1:42 left in the third quarter.  Two three’s by Ari Medeiros (15 points) and one by Stephanie Champoux (9 points) keyed Shawsheen.

I mentioned earlier that there were two segments of amazing points/defense by Fenway.  The second one lasted 6+ minutes stretching into the final quarter and was a 20-1 run.

The twenty Fenway points were spread among eight players, many seeing their first action of the night.  The Panther shots were certainly falling.

So Shawsheen took a 68-37 deficit into the final 3 ½ minutes of the game.  It makes me wonder why they don’t have a mercy rule in basketball the way they do in softball.

Trying to wrap my brain around the stat that for 11 ½ minutes of this game, Fenway outscored the Rams, 42-2!
A little math tells me that Shawsheen outscored the Panthers, 43-29, in the other minutes.

Jaqualah Holliman gets in for two

Jaqualah Holliman gets in for two

Fenway will face either #1 seed Whittier or Mystic Valley in the D4 North finals on Friday.  Whittier coach Kevin Bradley was in the house and I suspect that Mystic Valley was on hand to get a preview also.  Two things they had better be prepared for: Tajaynay and turnovers.

Freshman Takora McIntyre had thirteen points for Fenway.  She was also a big part of the Fenway pressure.

The Fenway pressure seemed at its best on the second pass.  Shawsheen could enter the ball but when the double-team came at them they either dribbled or passed into a turnover.

Small/quiet crowd at Malden High School for a semi-final game, I thought.  It went library quiet on some of the free throws.

The Fenway record (13-7) would be 17-3 if not for the forfeiting of four games (according to a story in the Lowell Sun) because of using JV players in varsity games for too long, violating MIAA rules.  In the case of Fenway, I suspect that the JV players were being used because the score was so lopsided in Fenway’s favor.  But rules are rules!

Fenway Boxscore

Shawsheen Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)fesh A11 footwear

Stephanie Champoux gets fouled

Stephanie Champoux gets fouled

ball on the floor

ball on the floor

Takora McIntyre (13 points)

Takora McIntyre (13 points)

Jalissa Ross and Stephanie Champoux

Jalissa Ross and Stephanie Champoux

Emily Irwin gets two

Emily Irwin gets two

rebound battle

rebound battle

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Fenway defeats Greater New Bedford (58-49) to take the D4 state title

Lorena Escolero lets fly the decisive Fenway triple - note the score and the time left in the background.

Fenway team picture afterwards with title trophy

(Boston) Fenway (19-3) defeated Greater New Bedford, 58-49, to become the 2012 Division Four champions on Tuesday afternoon at the TD Bank Garden.

And if there ever was a misleading final score, this one would be it.

We saw a game with ten ties and thirteen lead changes.  You bet it was close……….until the final 1:52 when Fenway, trailing 49-48, scored all ten points the rest of the way to get to 58 while GNB stayed at 49.

It was a startling ending to such a tight contest.  The biggest shot of the game may well have been the triple that freshman Lorena Escolero put in with 1 ½ minutes left to start the Panther 10-point surge to the title.  I never saw Lorena shoot another shot before or after and she may well have been in the game only because 6-2 Jalissa Ross (11 points) had fouled out with 3:51 left. Whatever the case, Lorena’s long one turned the tide for Fenway.

Nakira Examond (10 points) puts in two

The Lady Bears led 45-40 (3:51 left) when Jalissa went out and I thought at the time that GNB would dominate inside the rest of the way.  It just didn’t happen although Nakira Examond’s layup on an inbounds play did give the Lady Bears their final (49-48) lead.

Sophomore Cadejia Matthews (12 points) had a huge final quarter with ten points.  She put up eight straight for Fenway with an old-fashioned three, a three, and a jump shot to keep the Panthers close.  Then after Lorena hit her big triple, Cadejia made two free throws.

Also big in the closing minute was junior Tajanay Viega (13 points).  Tajanay dropped five free throws in the final thirty-five seconds to thwart any GNB hopes of a comeback.

Fenway’s harassing defense had a team, with dangerous scoring options, out of kilter most of the game.  The Panthers forced twenty-nine turnovers by my unofficial count.  A number of those turnovers became layups.

Stephanie Antoine breaks away for two of her sixteen points

The Lady Bears were down by six (20-14) 2 ½ minutes into the second period before they shut down Fenway for four minutes and rolled up ten straight.  Stephanie Antoine (16 points) had six in this run (two converted rebounds and a layup) and the other four points were on a converted rebound (Nakira Examond -10 points), and a Nicole Martin jump shot.

GNB led, 24-22, at the half.

An important second half stat was that Stephanie Antoine (she averages 24.8 PPG) had only two points in the second half.  Getting the ball to her in a scoring position was very difficult for GNB with all of the Fenway pressure.

The score was tied, 37-37, after three periods.

Final quarter?  Eight lead changes with the last one (51-49) coming on the Lorena Escolero triple with 1:25 left.

Vanessa Conceicao with finalist trophy

Vanessa Conceicao had the unenviable task of trying to bring the ball into the frontcourt against the Fenway double teams.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Senior Kayla Cox led the Fenway point getters with fifteen.  She put in points in every quarter and had more rebounds than someone 5-4 should get.  Her quickness and ball sense made the difference.

Greater New Bedford (21-4) has won three straight vocational titles.

Fenway was 15-0 in the Boston City League (North).  They won eighteen of their last nineteen games.

Fenway boxscore

Greater New Bedford boxscore

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

Alexandria Richards shoots over 6-2 Jalissa Ross

Kayla Cox (15 points)

Jalissa Ross (11 points) jump shot

Tajanay Viega (13 points) looks for an opening

tight defense

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