Category Archives: Newburyport

Ruben Sanca and Karen Roa capture Yankee Homecoming 10-miler titles

Ruben Sanca

Karen Roa

Jeffrey Seelaus (2539) in the lead for good in the 5K

Yvonne Bungei wins the 5K

Ruben Sanca in the crowd with Eric Ashe nearby

(Newburyport MA) “Three miles in I was in a world of hurt”

“At five miles, in this weather, you start doubting yourself and your pace gets slower and slower.  You try to hang on as best you can.”

Sounds unpleasant.  And those were the words of the two top finishers (Ruben Sanca & Eric Ashe) in last night’s Yankee Homecoming 10-miler!

Margaret Njuguna (1581) leads but Karen Roa (1828) is nearby at the Cushing Museum

Imagine what the rest of the folks, running in heat in the mid-to-upper 80’s through the streets of Newburyport, must have felt like.

The women’s winner, Karen Roa, said that a key to handling the conditions was keeping hydrated.  “It was a mental thing,” she said afterwards. “I wanted to go out conservative because of the weather.”

Mission accomplished for Karen.  Cleveland Marathon winner Margaret Njuguna was also in the field and she started fast.  Karen kept Margaret in her sights and eventually the conditions changed the positioning at the top.

“The young lady at the top kept looking back,” explained Karen, “so I thought that she was weakening.  I kept after her and passed her at the seven-mile mark and didn’t look back.”

Enjoying the ride

Karen Roa won by nearly a minute (59:12).

Ruben Sanca captured the 10-mile event for the second straight year.

“I tried to take it out hard from the beginning,” said the UMass Lowell graduate.  “My plan was to get away from everyone else.  Unfortunately, because of how hot and humid it was I couldn’t maintain the fast pace.”

Enter Simmons University cross-country coach Eric Ashe.

“I tried to be a little conservative with the start and it almost worked,” he said.  “I caught Ruben at about seven miles.  I tried to make a final move to win.”

Ruben remembered it: “I knew someone was coming up on me. Eventually Eric caught me at eight miles.  We ran together for about a mile.  I knew the last mile pretty well and I started my kick and got the win.”

Justin Freeman shadows Brandon Newbould

Justin Freeman, the winner in 2011, came across third.  “Last year I was in fifth coming up the last hill into the schoolyard and ended seventh.  I tried to save a little more this time and take it easy.  I settled behind Brandon Newbould (5th) for about 4 ½ miles then moved ahead. I came up on Mark Hegarty (4th) and created a little gap of about 30-35 yards.  He (Mark) reeled about half of it back but I had something left at the end.”

One of the unique features of the 10-miler is that a 5K starts on the same route ten minutes earlier.  That makes for some interacting of the two races about a mile in as well as at the finish.  There are serious runners and there are those wanted to try it.

“There was a nice crowd,” said Eric Ashe.  “It does get a little hectic at times trying to weave through the runners from the first race.”

Bryan Popp (1748) and Nicholas Denari (513)

I have always positioned myself one mile from the start near the Cushing Museum.  The top finishers always show themselves by that point.  Case in point was today’s 5K.  UMass Amherst graduate Jeffrey Seelaus was in front there.  Same for Williams grad Yvonne Bungei among the women.

St. John’s Prep math teacher Nicholas Denari was poised behind Triton grad Bryan Popp at Cushing but moved on to take second at the finish.

A little more from the top finishers from my interviews:

Eric Ashe: “All the hoses along the way were really helpful.  I’ll probably do the New England Grand Prix and the Cape Cod Marathon.  Besides coaching at Simmons, I also work for Tracksmith (running company in Boston).”

Justin Freeman: “It was a lot cooler the time I won this race.  I’ve been coming here for more than ten years.  It’s fun to do an evening race.  It’s nice to do the same race over and over and be able to make comparisons.  I teach math at the American School in The Hague (Netherlands).  I have a condo in New Hampshire and my family comes over here for seven weeks in the summer.”

Ruben Sanca

Ruben Sanca: “It was great to win for a second time.  I was lucky this time because my strategy of going out fast wasn’t the best.  I am training for the Chicago Marathon in October.”

Karen Roa: “Running is a mental thing for me.  Very busy.  I am a doctorate candidate taking classes.  I had labs this morning.  I stuck to one guy in this race from Whirlaway who helped me a lot.”

My curiosity is why area high school running standouts weren’t in this year’s race.  Where were John Lucey, Peter Lopata, and Dreese Fadil?

Race results

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

Ziggy (800) 9th & Will (799) 3rd attend Midland High School in California

Ben Pare – 7th – 10-mile

Betsy Suda – 2nd – 5K

Brandon Newbould – 5th – 10-mile

Katherine Newberry (2492) 40th overall

David Metzger – 9th – 10-mile

Derek Walsh – 13th – Newburyport

Eric Ashe – 2nd – 10-mile

James Bailey – 8th – 10-mile

Jeffrey Seelaus leads

Justin Freeman – 3rd – 10-mile

Shane Whalen 6th – 10-mle

Wheeling along

Karen Roa 2nd at Cushing Museum

Kathryn White – Georgetown – 5K

Margaret Njuguma finished 14th overall

Mark Hegarty 4th – 10-mile

Robert Hollinger 4th – 5K

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket edges Newburyport 2-1 in eight innings in D3 North First Round

Owen Kamuda scores the winning run in the 8th

Pentucket starts to celebrate

Peter Cleary

Casey McLaren

(Groveland MA) Nothing surprising here.

You knew it would be tight and you knew it would be decided at the end.

With eleven days off, you knew that the aces, Peter Cleary and Casey McLaren, would be doing the pitching.

You also knew that at the end there would be significant celebrating and dejection.

And that was how it was as Pentucket edged Newburyport, 2-1, in eight innings on Thursday afternoon at Groveland Pines in First Round action.

Andrew Melone scores the first Pentucket run

The Sachems (14-7) now move on in the D3 North tournament to the next round.

The Clippers (11-10) end their season on a five-game losing streak.

“This game went exactly how we thought it would,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe afterwards.  “More great performances by Casey and Peter.  We had our opportunities and they did too.”

The score was tied, 1-1, after four innings.

The Clippers had a runner in scoring position in the fifth, seventh, and eighth but couldn’t break through.  The key for the Sachems was that in each of those innings was that although the Clippers put the ball in play they hit it in the direction of CAL All-Star shortstop Gus Flaherty. Gus handled a popup and two grounders flawlessly to get Pentucket off the field unscored on in those threatening innings.

Parker McLaren reaches for home in the 4th inning

The end came for Newburyport in the 8th inning.  A popup by Owen Kamuda fell for a single into short center to start the inning.  After Andrew Melone struck out, Gus Flaherty reached on a walk.  Two on, one out.  A grounder to shortstop Ryan Archie.  Might have been two but at least would be a force out.  Instead, Ryan bobbled the ball and hurried the feed to 2B Tyler Koglin.  Runner Gus Flaherty slide into Tyler as he reached for the throw and the throw went by Tyler into right field. Owen Kamuda, who was heading for 3B when the grounder was hit, raced home with the winning run.

“The ending was tough for Newburyport,” said Pentucket coach Mike Wendt.  “However, in a game like this, that was so well played, that’s what you get at the end.”

The Sachems celebrated their First Round win in a big way and it was understandable.  Pentucket was 2-18 last year!

Jordan Cane drove in the first Pentucket run

1B Jordan Case was with St. Mary’s last season.  The Spartans make the state tournament with regularity.  “I told this team that there’s something special about playoff baseball.”

Jordan drove in Pentucket’s first run in the first inning.  Andrew Melone led off with a double to left and went to 3B on Jake Etter’s fielder’s choice.  Jordan then singled up the middle with two outs to score Andrew.

“I was thinking middle away, but he grooved a fastball down the middle and I had good contact,” said Jordan.

Walker Bartkiewicz drove in Newburyport’s run

The Clippers tied things in the fourth.  Parker McLaren doubled leading that inning off.  After two outs, Walker Bartkiewicz singled Parker home.

Newburyport finished with six hits but only Walker’s drove in a run.  “We certainly would have liked some more timely hits,” said Casey.

Winning pitcher Peter Cleary credited his defense: “It was good.  I was pitching to contact.”

Coach Wendt: “Peter (Cleary) is unflappable.  When I give him the ball in any game, especially a big game, he is always poised and always in control.”

Parker McLaren and Gus Flaherty

Coach Wendt: “Peter’s pitch count was low because Newburyport was first-pitch, fastball aggressive knowing he would pound the zone early in the count.”

Jordan Cane: “Newburyport is so athletic.  I have great respect for them after playing against them in hockey and baseball.”

Casey McLaren finishes a remarkable basketball/baseball career at Newburyport.  I again asked him about possibly playing baseball at Tufts along with basketball.  “I am not opposed to it.  I may have to get in touch with them over that.”  He added that he thinks that he will study economics and finance at Tufts.

Nice crowd took in the action on a sunny late afternoon.

2B Trevor Blanchard went backwards to make a nice catch to end the Newburyport sixth.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Chris Husak 3B

Elusive popup

Elusive popup

Gus Flaherty throws to 1B

Safe or out?

Tommy Murphy and Gus Flaherty

Trevor Blanchard makes a catch

Ty Koglin, Ryan Archie, Parker McLaren pre-game

Joe Lynch steals 2B as Ryan Archie reaches to tag

Ryan Archie steals 2B

 

 

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Newburyport hits and fields their way to 9-4 win over Amesbury

Tommy Murphy and Casey McLaren celebrate a 2-run homer

Parker McLaren limited Amesbury to four hits in six innings of pitching

(Amesbury MA) Plenty of baserunners.

Plenty of opportunities.

But on this Tuesday afternoon, Newburyport (6-4) turned in more big plays and defeated Amesbury, 9-4, at Amesbury Town Park.

Senior Casey McLaren led a 15-hit Clippers attack with three hits, including a homer, and four RBI.

Casey’s glove work at first was also important.  On three different occasions, two of which ended innings, he scooped low throws from infielders that kept runs from scoring.

“It’s all about getting down eye-level with the ball,” explained Casey afterwards.

The Clippers never stopped hitting in this one collecting at least one hit in every inning.  “We broke out of a hitting funk that we had been in the last couple of games,” said NHS coach Mark Rowe.

The Indians (4-4) had only four hits off Clippers starter Parker McLaren but used walks and Newburyport miscues to get runners aboard every inning.

Blake Bennett had two hits and drove in two runs

“We just couldn’t string anything together today,” explained AHS coach Joel Brierley.

“You could see that things weren’t going our way when twice we had our best hitter (Logan Burrill) up with the bases loaded and even though he hit the ball hard we had nothing to show for it.”

Trailing 4-0 in the fourth inning, the Indians loaded the bases with one out.  Logan hit a hard grounder down the third baseline that 3B Tommy Murphy turned into an inning-ending double play.  It did take a great scoop by 1B Casey McLaren to complete the DP.

Later (6th inning) now behind 9-0, Amesbury filled the bases with one out.  This time Logan hit a rope to left, that Ryan Archer managed to catch.  “Ryan (Archer) made a nice play on that line drive to left,” said Coach Rowe.  “It was a rocket.”

Casey McLaren after an inning-ending stop at first

At least in the 6th inning, Logan’s teammates were able to push four runs across after the catch in left.

Blake Bennett paced the AHS attack with two hits, including a triple, and two RBI.

Walker Bartkiewicz and Parker McLaren each had three hits for Newburyport.

Casey McLaren drove in the first NHS run with a single in the first.  He drove in their next two runs in the third inning with a HR blast over the head of CF Logan Burrill.

Two of the Cape Ann League’s best players; Casey McLaren and Blake Bennett

“It was a fastball, up and a little outside, and I was looking for it,” recalled Casey.

In the fourth, Ryan Archie reached on an error (Shea Cucinotta), stole second, and reached third on a wild pitch.  Tyler Koglin then singled him home.

In the 5th inning, Casey McLaren singled, stole second, and reached third on Thomas Greene’s single.  Walker Bartkiewicz delivered Casey with a single to center pushing the Clippers lead to 5-0.

Newburyport broke the game open in their half of the sixth with four runs.  Casey and his brother Parker had RBI.  Two other runs crossed after a throwing error by 3B Cam Chambers.

The Indians cut into the 9-0 deficit in the bottom of the 6th.  A bases-loaded walk (Tucker Molin), a passed ball, and Blake Bennett’s triple produced four runs.  But the inning ended there with Casey coming up with a low Ryan Archie throw to end the threat.

Freshman Jack Fehlner pitched the final inning for Newburyport.

Jeremy Lopez, Tom Flanagan, and Tim Gilleo pitched for Amesbury.

“Anytime we can beat a good team like Amesbury is a good win,” said Coach Rowe.  “They battle.  They don’t quit.  Like the first time we met (8-7 NHS win) they had a comeback in them.”

Derek Doherty (2B) throws to first

“We didn’t have very many quality at-bats,” added Coach Brierley. “When we did hit the ball, they made the plays.”

Casey McLaren: “It’s in my mind to play baseball at Tufts.  I haven’t talked to the coach yet.  We’ll see.  It would be tough to give up baseball.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I could pitch there.”

Newburyport has defeated Amesbury three of the last four times they met.

Amesbury had won three straight before today’s loss.

Amesbury’s Derek Doherty will attend Rivier University (Nashua NH) next fall to play baseball.

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

Kyle Therrien

Nick White congratulates reliever Jack Fehlner

Play at third

Blake Bennett fields a grounder

Catcher Derek Beaupre corrals a popup

Sophomore Jeremy Lopez

Pitcher Jeremy Lopez sets to throw to third

Shortstop Ryan Archie collects a grounder

Shortstop Shea Cucinotta sets to throw

Thomas Greene

Tyler Koglin scores the Clippers first run

 

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Casey McLaren and Tyler Koglin lead Newburyport by Masco 2-1

Casey McLaren congratulated by teammates Tommy Murphy and Nick White

2B Tyler Koglin

(Newburyport MA) Casey McLaren didn’t even see the play.

The tying run on third.  One out in the final inning.

Masco’s Matt Aldrich flaired a blooper to right with trouble written all over it.

“I headed for home,” recalled Casey afterward, “to back up a throw.”

But then Casey heard cheering.  “It took me a few seconds to realize that we’d gotten an out.”

Newburyport second baseman Tyler Koglin caused the cheers by racing back into right and making a remarkable over-the-shoulder catch to keep Andrew Gotts from scoring from third.

Tyler then handled the final grounder and the home team (Newburyport) had a 2-1 win over Masconomet on a summer-like Saturday afternoon in Cape Ann League action.

“That play the second baseman made in the last inning saved the game for them,” said Chieftains coach TJ Baril.  “That’s a real tough catch for a second baseman to make.”

Mark Rowe and TJ Baril

Newburyport coach Mark Rowe was equally enthusiastic about Tyler’s catch: “As far as making a big play in a special situation, his catch would rank near the top of the list in all the years I’ve been coaching.”

And then there was the pitching!

Senior Casey McLaren had a no-hitter going into the seventh and finished with a one-hitter.

Easy to overlook was Masco’s pitching but it was also solid. Freshman Erik Sibbach yielded only four singles in 3 innings while sophomore Aaron Zenus followed and held Newburyport hitless during his three innings of work.

Ryan Archer had an RBI single

“It was your classic pitcher’s duel,” said Coach Baril.

The Clippers (2-1) put three of their four hits together in the second inning and produced two runs out of it.

Parker McLaren singled to short center and went to second on a passed ball with no outs. Tommy Murphy followed with an infield hit moving Parker to third and then took second on an infield out.

A wild pitch brought Parker home and advanced Tommy to third.  Ryan Archer’s bloop single to center scored Tommy with the eventual game winner.

Casey McLaren

Casey McLaren was overpowering.  He retired the first eleven Masco batters before walking Pat Costigan in the 4th. The Tufts commit had eight strikeouts.

An error (Tyler Koglin) gave Masco a baserunner with two out in the 5th but Casey ended the inning striking out Ethan Cote.

The seventh inning was the big test for the Clippers.  Casey walked leadoff batter Pat Costigan on four pitches.  Andrew Gotts then lined Masco’s first hit to center.

“When Casey works ahead in the count, good things happen, “said Coach Rowe.  “In the seventh he fell behind the first batter, walked him, and then anything could have happened.”

Last year the Chieftains slugged twenty-two homers.  Almost all of those HR’s graduated.  Therefore, this year Masco is developing other ways to score runs.  One of those ways is to be aggressive on the bases.  In their opening win (6-2) over Lynn Classical the Chieftains had five steals.

Seventh inning action with the tying run on third

Today in the 7th with two on and no outs, the Chieftains successfully executed a double steal.  Next thing you knew, a wild pitch led to Masco’s first run and moved the other runner to third with no outs.  Suddenly the outcome wasn’t so certain.

But then Casey surrounded Tyler’s terrific catch with two infield grounders and the Clippers had their second win of the young season.

“It was a great Cape Ann League game,” said Coach Rowe.  “Two pretty good teams that should be in it in the end.”

Casey said that he was aware that he hadn’t given up any hits.  “I started thinking about it in the fifth inning.  Last year I had several one-hitters so I wanted to finally get a no-hitter, but it will have to wait.  Getting the win was more important. Both of my pitches were working well.  My curve ball was big against the top of their order.”

The weather was very pleasant and brought out a good crowd.

Part of the crowd at Pettingell Field

Coach Rowe: “Casey was outstanding.  He pitched some pretty good ones at the end of last season.  It’s hard for me to rank them however in this one he was as in command as he has been in a long time.”

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

Final out

Andrew Gotts had Masco’s first and only hit

Caught in a rundown

Erik Sibbach

Parker McLaren scores on a wild pitch in the second inning

Pat Costigan

Pat Costigan scores in the seventh

Ryan Archer steals second

Trouble in the field

Tyler Koglin about to throw to first

Shortstop Will Hunter and Tommy Greene

Shortstop Will Hunter fields a grounder

Tommy Murphy

 

 

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Manchester-Essex upsets Newburyport 8-7 in CAL girls lacrosse

Diane Rodier and Molly Brady rush to celebrate an 8-7 win over Newburyport ending six straight losses to the Clippers

ME goalie Bella Pomeroy congratulated by teammates

(Newburyport MA) What a difference a week makes!

Manchester-Essex won their third game of the week, edging Newburyport, 8-7, on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Newburyport.

Meanwhile, the Clippers, with only two losses in the last two seasons, suffered their second loss of this week.

Abby Lantz (7) in the middle of the action

Senior Abby Lantz netted the game-winner with 4:26 left and was quick to credit her teammates: “That last goal was the climax of what my teammates were doing throughout the entire game.”

Newburyport’s Sam King (3 goals) faces goalie Bella Pomeroy

Newburyport (1-2) dominated the first fifteen minutes getting two goals from sophomore Sam King and one from junior Maggie Pons.

“Being down early (3-0) didn’t bother us,” said ME coach Nan Gorton. “We like the challenge.  The same scenario happened against Marblehead (14-6 win).  We just had to figure out what they were trying to do and see how we were going to beat it.”

That “figuring out” happened in the final 6+ minutes of the first half as the Hornets, with goals by Brigid Edgerton, Lily Athanas (2), Emma Cochand, and Gianna Huet, left with a 5-3 halftime advantage.

The second half was tense.  Katie Hadden tied the score at 6-6 and later teammate Maggie Pons tied things at 7-7 with 5:47 left.

Maggie Pons covered by Lily Athanas

Lafayette College commit Abby Lantz tallied the decisive goal 1+ minutes later and ME held on to end a six-game losing streak to Newburyport.

“It feels really good to beat them,” said Abby afterwards.  “We came into the game with those past experiences as fuel for us.”

Last year the Hornets were a very good 17-4 but three of the defeats were to the Clippers including the D2 North finals.

“We did a better job in this game in the second half of finding open girls,” said NHS coach Catherine Batchelder.

Sam King ready to shoot as Molly Brady defends

“Lacrosse is a game of momentum,” added Coach Batchelder, “wherever the draw goes is where the goals go.  We had trouble possessing the ball in the draw and that enabled them to get back in the game.”

Maggie Pons looks for an opening as Isabel Amigo defends

The defense of Lily Athanas on Maggie Pons (Cornell commit) was a key to the win.  “She did a nice job shadowing a great player,” said Coach Gorton. Maggie had 112 goals last season but only two this afternoon.

The ME coach also commended goalie Bella Pomery: “She is one of the best of the best.  She’s also a great teammate.  She tells everyone in front of her where to be and where not to be.”

Bella made a huge save on Sam King in the closing minute.

Coach Batchelder: “We’re just very young.  We’re still trying to find our way out there. They stayed composed in a lot of different situations this afternoon.”

Abby Lantz came from behind the net on the winning goal and perfectly executed a crease roll.

Drew Charlton

Abby on her choice of Lafayette College (Easton PA): “Throughout high school I’ve been playing club soccer.  That got me a lot of exposure.  Lafayette (Division 1) reached out to me and later, after visiting, I reached back.  When I step on their campus, I get butterflies.  As far as I’m concerned, it has the perfect balance of academics and athletics.  I am interested in government and psychology.  I have met the other nine recruits and played with the team and interacted with the coaching staff.”

Excellent April weather…….sunshine and temperatures in the upper fifties.

There will be a rematch at Manchester on May 21st. It would also seem likely that the two teams could meet for a third time, like last year, in the tournament.

I would expect a little more scoring from Maggie Pons in the games ahead.  Too many minutes off the field today because of infractions.

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

Ball on the ground

Abby Lantz passes

Brigid Edgerton, Emma Cochand, Sami Cavanaugh, Gianna Huet

Brigid Edgerton

Brigid Edgerton (2 goals) chased by Sami Cavanaugh

Bella Pomeroy makes a save

Maggie Pons

Maggie Pons attacks

Liberty Palermino

Bridget Lane

Sam King checked by Christina Calandra

Sam King shoots as Drew Charlton defends

 

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Late triple by Dracut knocks Newburyport out 57-54

Dracut celebrates the win

Mitch Monette’s pass led to the winning basket

(Newburyport MA) Freshman Adrian Torres delivered the shot Dracut needed to advance to the Division 3 North semifinals.

Adrian (16 points) took an excellent feed from Mitch Monette and swished a 3-pointer in the closing seconds from in front of the Middies crowd to give #12 Dracut a 57-54 upset win over #4 Newburyport on Friday night.

The Clippers (18-4) nearly got even in those closing seconds but Ryan Archie’s triple rimmed out.

George Coryell (11 points) defends Adrian Torres (16 points)

“Adrian shoots like that every day in practice,” said senior Mitch Monette afterwards. “I was confident that he would make it.”

The Middies (12-10) will face either Arlington Catholic or St. Mary’s in the next round.

Newburyport had a nine-point lead in the first half while Dracut was ahead by four in the second half.  But those leads didn’t hold up.

The Clippers led 12-10 after one period.  At halftime, the teams were even, 27-27. The third quarter ended with Newburyport in front, 40-39.  In the final quarter, the scored was tied, 54-54, with 1 ½ minutes remaining.

Neither team could gain separation.  The Middies were hurt by foul trouble while the Clippers missed fifteen free throws.

It came down to the final ninety seconds and the five possessions that filled them.

Newburyport sought the perfect shot and ended up with a shot-clock violation.

Ryan Archie guarded by Tyler Guerriero

Ryan Archie’s tight defense forced a bad Dracut pass.

George Coryell missed a shot.  Jake Robertson got the rebound but traveled.

This was the lead-in to Adrian’s game winner.  Mitch Monette (12 points) had been able to get to the basket, so when he looked to be about to come down the lane the Clippers defense sagged in to stop it.  But instead of shooting, Mitch tossed a jump-pass to his left to a wide-open Adrian Torres who didn’t miss.

“That freshman, he’s something else,” said senior Cam McCullough.  “I’m not surprised he made it because he does it every day in practice even when I’m guarding him!”

“We wanted to spread the court and see what turned up,” said Dracut coach Brian Myers about his team’s last possession.

Ball on the floor

The Clippers did have a chance to tie the game and came close. George Coryell tossed a full-court pass to Jake Robertson, who was fouled.  I suspect that the plan was for Jake to make the first shot and then miss the second hoping a rebound could produce a 2-point play for the tie.  Instead, Jake missed the first one.  The second shot was then missed intentionally and Harry Bovee was able to flip the rebound out to Ryan Archie, beyond the arc.  Against Swampscott, Ryan hit that shot.  Not tonight and the celebrating began for the Middies.

Coach Brian Myers said that playing in the tough Merrimack Valley Conference helped them.  “We play tight games like tonight’s every game in that league.”

The gymnasium was packed.  Many ended up standing around the perimeter.

Casey McLaren (21 points) chased by Jean Carlos Santiago

Casey McLaren (21 points) became Newburyport’s all-time leading scorer.  He passed Rachel Wile tonight to do it.

Casey scored all fifteen of Newburyport’s points in the second quarter.

Casey got those 15 points in the first six minutes of the second quarter giving NHS a 27-20 lead.  However, the last two minutes belonged to the visitors.  A layup be Cam McCullough and a triple and two free throws by Adrian Torres earned Dracut a halftime tie.

“Coming back from the nine-point deficit was key,” said Coach Myers.  “We showed that we could stay with them.”

After Dracut took a 3-point lead on Will Peters’ layup with 2:18 left in the game it was the Clippers’ turn to rally back.  A rebound conversion by Ryan Archie and a Casey McLaren free throw knotted things at 54.

Will Peters shoots against Parker McLaren

George Coryell & Parker McLaren each collected eleven points for NHS.

Mitch Monette added twelve points for Dracut.

That Dracut is even in the tournament is a story in and of itself.  The Middies had 1-19 seasons the last two years.  They were not only defeated a lot but often defeated by lopsided scores.  But along came Coach Brian Myers.  Brian said afterwards that he’s “a Dracut guy.”  After coaching successfully at Lowell, Brian opted to come back to coach the school he attended.  He said that he “saw potential.”

“It takes a group of kids buying into a system.  We work hard every day.”

Despite the team’s lack of size, they were able to hold their own against larger Casey McLaren and his brother Parker.  Casey had only three points in the second half.

Cam McCullough was in awe of the setting: “It was the loudest environment I’ve ever played in.  It was a great game to be part of.”

Newburyport box

Dracut box

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

Adrian Torres (16 points)

Cam McCullough

Casey McLaren chases a loose ball

Casey McLaren shoots a free throw

Discussing how to defend their 3-point lead

Dracut coach Brian Myers checks on his bench

Farai Zuvarokoka and Jake Robertson

Jake Robertson from the corner

Jean Carlos Santiago shoots a floater over Harry Bovee

Mitch Monette and Trevor Ward

Season ends for the Clippers

 

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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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