Category Archives: Pentucket

North Reading upsets Pentucket 41-36 to take D2 North title

North Reading wins D2 North title

Game over

Ali Grasso and Coach Bob Romeo

(Lowell MA) “Oh my goodness!”

Those were the first words that came out of Coach Bob Romeo’s mouth immediately after the game.

The excitement was understandable.

North Reading had just defeated Pentucket, last year’s state champs, 41-36, at Tsongas Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Winning the D2 North puts the Hornets (16-8) into the D2 state semi-finals against Foxboro on Wednesday (5:30PM).

The Hornets were behind by eight in the first half, took the lead for good in the third quarter, and held off a Pentucket rush in the last minute to get the win.

Angelica Hurley (20 points) hits a three with fifteen seconds left to get Pentucket within three points

“That last minute was the longest minute of my life,” exclaimed Coach Romeo.

North Reading had lost twice to Pentucket during the regular season and hadn’t scored more than ten points in any of the eight quarters played.

Lauren Sullivan (16 points)

“We were such underdogs,” said Lauren Sullivan (16 points) afterwards. “We were looking for revenge for the two losses.”

“These kids have been special all year,” said Coach Romeo. “We were down eight and looked like we couldn’t score in this game, but we kept going.”

An Anna Wyner reverse layup gave Pentucket the eight-point lead (14-6) five minutes into the second quarter.

Full-court defense by both teams limited the half-court structure for both teams. One-on-one basketball was the order of the day.

Angelica Hurley (20 points) carried the Sachems as far as she could. Angelica had eight points, including two three’s, as Pentucket took that eight-point lead.

Loose ball

Even with the lead, Pentucket was not playing well.

“We never got into synch,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara, “and that’s a credit to North Reading. Bob Romeo and his staff did a great job getting them ready. They deserved to beat us today.”

The Sachems’ defense created twenty-one turnovers, by my count, but most of them were in the front court. Pentucket is well known for turning miscues into quick points. But they didn’t have that going for them today.

Credit the ballhandling and passing of senior guard Ali Grasso for much of that. She saw the court really well today. When trapped, she’d find open teammates. Guarded one-on-one, she would bring the ball up without losing it.

Kiley McCarthy (12 points) guards Angelica Hurley

Pentucket had the eight-point lead but eight minutes of playing time later they trailed, 18-14. That’s twelve unanswered. The Sachems would never get the lead back.

Lauren Sullivan started the run of good NR offense with two 3’s in the closing 1 ½ minutes of the second period.

The Hornets’ streak of points continued with Ali Grasso setting up Nasha Arnold for a layup. Lauren Sullivan then had an old-fashioned 3-point play and Sarah Gerber added a free throw.

Angelica Hurley stopped the bleeding with a layup off a turnover, narrowing things to 18-16 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

The Sachems stayed within one-possession range until the end of the quarter when a free throw and a last-second, NBA-distance three by Kiley McCarthy (12 points) sent NR to a 27-21 edge.

Angelina Yacubacci and Nasha Arnold

Kiley’s triple was one of four she made on this afternoon. She had made two earlier but on several had missed everything. “I tried to get the ones I missed out of my head,” said Kiley.

That she did because the next points scored were yet another three by Kiley. This one went off the backboard and in. The NR lead was now a game-high nine points (30-21) with 6 ½ minutes left in the game.

You waited for Pentucket to put some defense/offense together and they did at the very end.

The Sachems started getting to the basket for layups in the final quarter but on this afternoon the Hornets had responses.

Lauren Sullivan shoots free throws to ice the win

NR was still up by eight (39-31) after Lauren Sullivan’s two free throws with 1:10 left.

Ali Grasso and Alyssa Thompson

A Mackenzie Currie layup followed and, after Ali Grasso missed the front end of a one-and-one, Angelica Hurley nailed a long 3-pointer. Pentucket was back within a possession with fifteen seconds left.

But North Reading was able to get the ball into Lauren Sullivan’s hands and she was fouled. The senior cashed two pressure free throws with ten seconds left and the Hornets had the win and the D3 North title.

“We came back but they made plays,” said Coach McNamara.

“I didn’t sub,” said Coach Romeo. “All five played thirty-two minutes. Lauren, Ali, and Kiley took turns making big shots.”

“It was an amazing team effort,” said Ali Grasso. “We worked so hard to get here. We scouted them. We came in so prepared.”

Scramble on the floor

Coach McNamara: “We didn’t seem to have a lot of energy. I don’t know why. We didn’t play our usual aggressive defense. We missed a lot of shots and we didn’t dribble very well. It was just one of those days. We didn’t play as good as we could, and they did…a recipe for a loss.”

Coach Romeo: “Credit to Pentucket. They’re state champs. They weren’t going to go away easy in this game. That last minute was the longest minute of my life.”

Kiley McCarthy: “I wasn’t going to let this be our last game. We’re a team. That’s how we won.”

Lauren Sullivan: “In the second quarter we knew we could do it. We just had to hang on. The five of us did amazing. We never stopped.”

Pentucket seniors

Pentucket will graduate four seniors. “They have won a state championship and been to Tsongas three times,” said Coach McNamara, “and they’re better people off the court than they are on it.”

Coach Romeo on being the underdog: “It’s a game. That’s why we play. Anything can happen.”

The MIAA. Who can figure them out? They decided that photographers should not be allowed in the area around the court until there was two minutes left. What were they afraid of? That we’d take pictures?? The result was that I ended up in the penalty box before I had even committed an infraction! But I digress.

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

Ali Grasso (7 points) and Anna Wyner

Ali Grasso and Abby Dube

Ali Grasso passes out of trouble

Angelica Hurley guarded by Lauren Sullivan

Angelica Hurley shoots a layup

Angelina Yacubacci introduced

Lauren Sullivan and Angelica Hurley

Mackenzie Currie defends

North Reading captains

On the floor

Pentucket ending

Sarah Gerber sets a screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket starts fast and holds off Wilmington later getting 45-37 D2 North semi-final win

Angelica Hurley (12 points) splits two Wildcats on her way to the basket

Angelica Hurley was ten-for-twelve from the foul line including two in the closing minute

(Lawrence MA) Free throws.

Pentucket (22-2) made enough of them (13) in the second half to survive, 45-37, on Wednesday night against comebacking Wilmington.

The D2 North semi-finals win puts the Sachems into the finals on Saturday (2PM) against North Reading at the Tsongas Arena.

The Wildcats could well have been considered overmatched after falling behind by nineteen (28-9) in the first half.

You score one point (!) in a period and you can leave that sort of impression.

Pentucket coach John McNamara wasn’t fooled: “Even when we were up at halftime, we knew they’d come back. They have scoring power and can knock down shots.”

Kyle Ducharme (13 points) was a force in the second half

As good as the Sachems were in the first half, the Wildcats nearly matched them in the second half.

“We weren’t playing in synch in the first half,” explained Wilmington coach Jessica Robinson afterwards. “We needed to play like a team.”

Getting Kylie DuCharme (13 points) back on the court after foul trouble in the first half really helped Wilmington. Kylie required special defensive attention and prevented Pentucket from trapping other Wildcats very often. The junior could also get to the basket and make shots.

The Sachems 21-1 segment in the first half was answered by the Wildcats with a 15-1 segment of their own in the third period.

Liv Almeida had a pair of three’s and teammate Kylie added a triple to two layins in Wilmington’s run of great offense.

Alyssa Morrison from the corner

Before you knew it, Wilmington was within five (31-26) with plenty of game left.

Twice in the final quarter, the Wildcats (17-6) would get within one possession: 35-32 & 36-33. But they could never get closer.

The defending D2 champs have been in close games before and were able to respond enough to get the W.

“We lost our composure,” recalled Angelina Yacubacci (10 points), “but we got it back at the end.”

Pentucket had only two field goals in the entire second half but both came after Wilmington closed to 36-33 with five minutes left.

MacKenzie Currie into the lane

One of the Pentucket field goals was on a runner in the lane by Arielle Cleveland. The other had Angelina Yacubacci finding a way through traffic to get a layup.

A Kylie DuCharme layup narrowed things to 41-37 with 1 ½ minutes left.

The Sachems were extremely deliberate with their next two possessions. Wilmington was forced to foul.

Angelica Hurley (12 points) and MacKenzie Currie each made both of their pressure-packed free throws in the last forty-nine seconds and Pentucket was on their way to Tsongas.

“We’ve worked on free throws a lot in practice,” said Angelica Hurley. “The practice sure paid off.” Angelica made ten-of-twelve free throws.

“They went to the line and hit their free throws, and that was the difference in this game,” said Coach Robinson. “We didn’t get to the line.”

Ball on the flour

“Somehow we regrouped late in the game because we sure were rattled,” said Coach McNamara. “We made some foul shots and hung on for dear life.”

The Sachems ability to drive and draw fouls was a key to this win. The fouls kept a dangerous player such as Kylie DuCharme out of action for part of Pentucket’s big first-half run.

“We knew that we could get to the foul line if we drove,” said Coach McNamara. “That was crucial for us.”

Anna Wyner: “Wilmington is a great team. We were expecting them to come back and they did. We were strong enough to pull this game out. Coach Mac often tells us that free throws can be the difference in a game.”

Angelica Hurley draws a foul on Liv Almeida

Angelica Hurley: “I could only get one 3-point shot off, so I was focusing on getting free throws. I play AAU ball with Kylie DuCharme and Jenna Tavanese. They are very talented. I love playing with them and against them.”

Coach Robinson: “Our offense goes through Kyle (DuCharme).”

Angelina Yacubacci: “We weren’t getting 3’s tonight. We got here pretty early to shoot.”

Coach McNamara: “We weathered the storm barely. They’re a good team. We’ll take a one-point win over them. It doesn’t matter. It was a game of two runs. Luckily, we had more of a cushion than they did.”

Wilmington used to be in the Cape Ann League. Now they’re in the Middlesex League.

Pentucket will face North Reading also of the Cape Ann League for the third time this season in the D2 North title game on Saturday.

Pentucket box

Wilmington box

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

Angelina Yacubacci

Game end

First half turnover for Wilmington

Hannah Lambert

Jenna Sweeney

Angelina Yacubacci chased by Annie Wingate and Kylie DuCharme

Anna Wyner – last minute defense

Jenna Tavanese

Jenna Tavanese guards Greta Mauer

MacKenzie Currie drives against Kylie DuCharme

Sachems look for a turnover

Wilmington defense surrounds Angelina Yacubacci

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket holds off Masco 44-42 after eleven lead changes

A strong final quarter by Angelina Yacubacci helped Pentucket hold off Masconomet

Mak Graves led Masco with 16 points

(West Newbury MA) Masco led by nine after one period.

Pentucket led by one at the half.

Masco led by seven after three periods.

Pentucket led by two at the end (44-42).

Back and forth it went all night long.

There were eleven lead changes with at least two in each quarter.

It was anyone’s game right down to the last shot by Mak Graves (16 points).

The Sachems (19-1) played with fire in the last eleven seconds and didn’t get burned.

Pentucket had the ball with eleven seconds left and a two-point lead.

Angelica Hurley inbounds pass attempt was intercepted by Paige Richardson.

“I was so scared to throw it too far that I didn’t throw it far enough,” explained Angelica post-game.

That put Masco in possession and very quickly Mak Graves had the ball in her talented hands and she was stepping back beyond the arc.

Mak steps back beyond the arc

“My heart stopped, I’m not going to lie,” said Anna Wyner.

“I was petrified,” said Coach McNamara. “I thought she was going to pull up and shoot a three. They had the ball in their best player’s hands and that’s scary. I was happy when she drove because a two would let us keep playing.”

“It was nerve-racking with her at the 3-point line,” said Greta Mauer, “because you don’t know what could happen.”

Angelica, who had thrown the bad pass reacted quickly. “I knew that I had to play defense (on Mak Graves) and get the ball back,” she said.

When Mak stepped back, Angelica stepped forward to discourage a 3-point attempt.

Angelica Hurley steps out to discourage a 3-point attempt

Mak chose, instead, to drive baseline. The Pentucket defense closed on her and her shot missed. Angelica was there to secure the rebound and the game ended.

Mak decides to drive

Angelica secures the final rebound as the game ends

A collective sigh of relief and disappointment followed from both sides.

Liv Fillmore (11 points) shoots over MacKenzie Currie

Senior Angelina Yacubacci carried Pentucket down the stretch after she was a foul magnet early and spent much of the game on the bench.

“When she finally got in, she was a difference maker,” said Coach McNamara.

Angelina scored all her points (eight) in the final quarter.

In that productive quarter, Angelina got to the basket three times without charging and made two free throws.

On one of her missed free throws in the last thirty seconds, she stole the ball from the rebounder (Paige Richardson) to continue the Pentucket possession.

Tonight was Masco’s last game in the Cape Ann League and they played very well.

The Chieftains (11-6) took charges on the hard-driving Sachems and made shots early.

Seven straight points (Liv Fillmore three, Mak Graves jumper and layup) had Masco ahead 13-6 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.

MacKenzie Currie (15 points) takes a shot in the lane

Pentucket recovered nicely in the second quarter. Masco was held scoreless for the first six minutes while the Sachems put a ten-point run together. An old-fashioned 3-point play by MacKenzie Currie (15 points) started Pentucket on their comeback. Senior Hannah Lambert hit a triple and a fast-break layup. Abby Dube finished the run with a jump shot assisted by Alyssa Thompson.

The Sachems held a 22-21 halftime lead.

The Chieftains limited Pentucket to only five points in the third quarter and scored the last five points to create a 34-27 advantage after three quarters. Mak Graves hit a jump shot and assisted on Liv Fillmore’s 3-pointer to account for the closing surge.

The Sachems were down seven, but Angelina Yacubacci came to their rescue. “We played as a team in the 4th quarter,” she explained. “Each of us seems to take turns getting into foul trouble. We support each other from the bench even if we can’t be on the floor.”

But Angelina was now on the floor.

After a MacKenzie Currie jumper in the lane, Angelina sent MacKenzie away on a fastbreak layin. Angelina then twice successfully drove to the basket. Masco’s lead was now gone and Pentucket was up by one (35-34) with 5 ½ minutes left.

Masco stopped the bleeding with a Mak Graves layup and retook the lead.

Arielle Cleveland layup

Back came the Sachems. Angelina assisted on an Arielle Cleveland layup and MacKenzie followed with a drive to the hoop. Those scoring plays gave Pentucket the lead for good, 39-36, with 3:40 remaining.

Masco would get within two twice in the closing minute but Pentucket made enough plays to save the win.

“Give Masco credit,” said Coach McNamara. “They fought hard.”

The Sachems have now won sixteen straight. Last loss? To Masco, 56-51, at Masco.

“We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we lost to them,” said Anna Wyner.

Angelica: “We’re excited to win on Senior Night. We knew it would be a tough game. They are a very good team. Mak Graves kept me from doing a lot of things with her defense.”

Jenna DiPietro surrounded by Sachems

Coach McNamara: “It was really nice to beat them in their last CAL game. They have lost five games in the league this year which is a testament to how strong this league is.”

I asked the four Pentucket seniors about their college plans:

Angelica: I am going to St. Joe’s. I thought at first that the campus was too small but the coach there has been very encouraging. He came to our North Reading game which was important to me. I intend to go into the nursing program.”

Angelina: Not sure exactly. Probably somewhere local like Bridgewater State, Endicott, Keene State or UMass Boston. Won’t be playing basketball. I want to go into business.”

Anna Wyner: My top two choice are UVM and UNH. I am interested in the medical field. I have an interest in being a physician’s assistant.”

Hannah Lambert: “I want to study nursing. I am looking at Fairfield and James Madison.”

Full house at Pentucket for this game and they saw a beauty!

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

Angelina Yacubacci forces a turnover

Cally McSweeney

Greta Mauer

Hannah Lambert’s layup

Mak Graves guards Angelica Hurley

Maria Lantzakis draws a charge on Anna Wyner

Paige Richardson

Pentucket seniors honored

 

 

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Angelica Hurley hits game winner in last second as Pentucket defeats Tewksbury 36-34

Pentucket players mob Angelica Hurley after her game-winning basket

Good shot of the referee. Not so good of Angelica’s winning basket.

(Tewksbury MA) Everyone had a beef with the referees.

Pentucket coach John McNamara, coaching against the school he graduated from, questioned many calls.

Tewksbury coach Mark Bradley couldn’t believe Alli Wild’s go-ahead free throw was negated by a lane violation with 8 seconds left.

And me? In comes Angelica Hurley for the buzzer-beating winner and the referee intrudes into the special shot.

Angelica’s last-second shot was indeed the game winner as Pentucket escaped with a 36-34 victory over Tewksbury on Sunday afternoon.

“We struggled,” said Coach McNamara afterwards. “We didn’t shoot the ball well at all.”

Kati Polimeno and Angelina Yacubacci

The teams were quite familiar with each other having faced off in the D2 North finals at the Tsongas Arena eleven months ago.

The Sachems (18-1) took that one, 56-45, and went on from there to win the D2 state title. Today’s victory runs their winning streak to fourteen. Last loss was to Masco on January 3rd.

“They’re a tough team to play against because it’s hard to simulate their style of play in practice,” explained Coach Bradley. “We had a game Friday night so there was little time to prepare.”

Tewksbury (9-10) was down, 19-10, but recovered.

“We took their aggressiveness and used it to our advantage,” said Coach Bradley recalling how his team fought back to leave with a 19-19 tie at halftime.

Alli Wild blocks Angelica Hurley’s layup attempt

Of the Redmen’s comeback, Coach McNamara said, “We missed three’s, there were long rebounds and they were off to the races in transition.”

In this game, Tewksbury didn’t give up backcourt turnovers and were quick enough to get back on defense after missed shots. They also had shot-blocker Alli Wild in their defense.

Alli not only blocked several Sachem layup attempts but she didn’t foul doing it.

“We knew about her (Alli Wild) from last year at the Tsongas,” said Coach McNamara. “Her defense is special.”

The Redmen ran the last nine points of the second period. Pentucket, meanwhile, didn’t score a point for the last seven minutes of that same second period.

The Sachems, however, started the second half with six straight points. Two free throws by Angelica Hurley and two inside shots by Arielle Cleveland (15 points) sparked the visitors.

Arielle Cleveland (15 points) benefited from some great feeds from teammates

One of Arielle’s scores came after teammate Angelina Yacubacci drove into the lane and drew Arielle’s defender over to help defensively. A quick pass from Angelina gave Arielle an uncontested shot.

“Angelina sees those passing opportunities very well,” said Arielle post-game.

Pentucket was still up by six (33-27) after Angelina once again set up Arielle for a layup in the first minute of the 4th quarter.

But the home team refused to go away. “I’m proud of our girls,” said Coach Bradley. “We competed and battled even when we were down.”

The Redmen scored the next seven points. Julia Cafferty had two free throws in the surge of offense. Lexi Polimeno (9 points) was the big spark. The junior drained a three and later hit a runner from the side to push Tewksbury in front for the first time in the game, 34-33, with 1:43 left.

Next possession Pentucket got a point back after MacKenzie Currie made one-of-two free throws.

Both teams failed to get anything in their next possession.

Tewksbury had the ball and a timeout with twenty-one seconds left. Carefully they worked the ball around before Alli Wild was fouled with 8.8 seconds remaining.

Alli made the free throw……….but then it didn’t count. Why? Because she had violated the lane. I assumed that this meant that she had stepped on or over the line. My pictures indicate that neither happened. (Enlarge them for a better look.)

This unfortunate (for Tewksbury) turn of events gave Pentucket possession with a full court to cover in eight seconds.

Lexi Polimeno (9 points)

“We wanted to set a high ball-screen and let Jelly (Angelica Hurley) come off the screen and create,” said Coach McNamara.

“I was looking for someone open but when I saw #15 (Alli Wild) jump up in the air I went for the layup,” recalled Angelica.

The shot went up and in. Then the buzzer sounded. There was a pause, the referees agreed that the shot beat the buzzer, and then the Sachems celebrated.

Coach McNamara: “Tewksbury is a very good team from a tough conference (Merrimack Valley Conference). It was a nice win, but we’ve got some things to clean up.”

Arielle Cleveland: “On that last play I was supposed to set a screen on Jelly’s defender. Angelica and Angelina are great teammates. I feed off their energy because they bring it every single game.”

Coach Bradley: “John (McNamara) does a phenomenal job. Year after year he runs his successful system. John has ties to Tewksbury, and I know his family here. He offered to play here, and we want to play good basketball teams at the end of the season.”

Angelica Hurley (13 points)

Angelica Hurley: “Tewksbury is a very good team. Fifteen (Alli Wild) is very talented. We’re heading into the state tournament in two weeks.”

Today’s game was an “endowment” game. That means that all the stats count but winning or losing will not influence placement in the state tournament.

Pentucket box

Tewksbury box

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

Alli Wild (12 points) guarded by MacKenzie Currie

Angelica Hurley fouled by Julia Cafferty

Angelina Yacubacci

Greta Maurer guards Alli Wild

Julia Cafferty

Julia Cafferty looks to pass

Katie Polimeno defends Angelina Yacubacci

Kati Polimeno unguarded

MacKenzie Currie and Alli Wild

MacKenzie Currie shoots free throw

Maddie Stovesand

Maddie Stovesand and MacKenzie Currie

 

 

 

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Pentucket overwhelms Newburyport 58-24 to clinch CAL Kinney Division

Lana Mickelson (32) and Deidre McElhinney (4)

Angelina Yacubacci (16 points)

(West Newbury MA) It doesn’t happen every game but when it does…..watch out!

Pentucket was excellent on both ends of the court and that put Newburyport on the wrong end of a  58-24 score on Friday night.

Combined with a Masconomet loss, the Sachems (17-1) clinched their sixth straight Cape Ann League Kinney Division title.

“Our girls came out with a ton of energy and played great defense,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

The Clippers (9-6) ended up with a night full of tough shots and turnovers.

Pentucket mustered only thirty-eight points in the first meeting (January 20th) with Newburyport.

“Last time was a different style of game,” explained Coach McNamara.  “They controlled the tempo with their 1-2-2 halfcourt defense.  This time our defense got us going offensively.”

Sami Cavanaugh tries for control

The Sachems had thirty-six points in the first half alone and were comfortably ahead, 36-15, at that time.

The Clippers had won three of their last four games including a shocker over Masco.

Tonight, the score was tied (4-4) after three minutes before Pentucket began putting everything together.  On this evening, the visitors had no answers.

The Sachems ran nine unanswered points together and never looked back.

In this breakaway segment, Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) assisted on an Arielle Cleveland jump shot and a Hannah Lambert triple.

Angelica Hurley (11 points)

The nicest play in this collection of points was an Arielle Cleveland save of a ball going out of bounds that ended up with an Angelica Hurley (11 points) 3-pointer.

Pentucket was ahead, 13-7, after one quarter.

The Sachems put a 23-point second quarter together.  Freshman Abby Dube (12 points) had two beyond-the-arc three’s and one old-fashioned three in the high-scoring quarter.

“I tend to think a lot when I shoot,” explained Abby post-game.  “Tonight, I was just playing and having fun out there.”

Abby’s twelve points were a career high for her.

Most of the night the Clippers had trouble getting to the basket as well as getting the ball inside to their tallest player, Abby Gillingham.

“MacKenzie Currie didn’t score a lot tonight but what a job she did against Abigail (Gillingham),” explained Coach McNamara.  “She’s a good scorer but she may have had only one basket tonight because of MacKenzie’s defense.”

Abby Gillingham with MacKenzie Currie defending

MacKenzie tallied eighteen points in the first meeting.  Tonight she had only four points but her defense on Newburyport’s top scorer was crucial in Pentucket’s victory.

The Clippers had twenty-six turnovers (by my count) and some of the miscues quickly led to Sachem layups.

“We got them rattled early,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “We made some shots and fed off our defensive energy.  We got a lot of transition baskets.”

Pentucket has now won thirteen straight.  Last loss was to Masco on January 3rd.  Those two teams will meet again at Pentucket next Friday night.

The Sachems, with just one loss, have the best record in Division 2 North.  Another D2 school, Marblehead, was 16-2 going into tonight.

Sadie Vandenberg

Newburyport (9-6) is just a win away from qualifying for the post-season.

“Newburyport is a good, young team,” added Coach McNamara.  “They are going to be very good.”

Coach McNamara has now won 296 games in his 14+ years directing the Sachems.  If Pentucket takes care of their final three regular-season games, that memorable 300th win could happen in the first round of the D2 tournament at Pentucket.

Abby Dube: “Playing with seniors and juniors is scary but really fun.  At first I was terrified but eventually I got comfortable.”

I continue to be impressed with the Pentucket band.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Terrific Angelica Hurley pass to Abby Dube

Abby Dube (12 points) and Anna Affolter

Abby Gillingham tries to block Angelina Yacubacci’s shot

Anna Affolter at the line

Anna Wyner and Sami Cavanaugh

Hannah Lambert

MacKenzie Currie

Jackie Doucette and MacKenzie Currie

Leah Metsker

Makenna Ward

MacKenzie Currie

Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Triton holds off Pentucket 62-52 – Mason Ferrick 22 points

TJ Overbaugh (11 points) in the air in the lane

Battle under the basket

(West Newbury MA) Both teams were missing two captains.

Both teams were on losing streaks.

Triton fared best in this crucial outing for both squads and defeated Pentucket, 62-52, on Friday night.

The noise during the game was at tournament level.

It was Senior Night.  Kids played at halftime and there was a heavily-involved band.  To say the least, there was a lot going on.

Mason Ferrick (22 points)

The Vikings (8-7) led by senior Mason Ferrick (22 points) started fast and never trailed.

Sparked by thirteen of Mason’s points, Triton was ahead, 28-12, halfway through the second quarter.

“We were missing several key players,” said Mason, “and coach said that I had to pick up some of the slack on offense and that is what I did.”

Pentucket coach Ed Hickey cited the bad start as crucial: “We dug ourselves too deep a hole early in the game.”

The Sachems (5-9) were still in double-digit trouble early in the final quarter trailing, 43-30.

Thereafter, the struggling Pentucket offense, which had put up seven points, thirteen points, and ten points in the previous three periods, came to life.

Silas Bucco (13 points)

Silas Bucco (13 points) and Sam Stys (11 points) led the charge for the Sachems.

A rebound basket (Sam) and a layup and a three (Silas) and suddenly the home team was within reach of the Vikings, 43-37, with six minutes left.

With all the noise and excitement in the building you suspected that the Vikings might fold into a tight finish.  Your suspicions would have been wrong on this evening.

Every time the Sachems got within six, and they did it four more times (45-39, 47-41, 51-45, 57-61), the Vikings handled the pressure and pushed the lead back up.

Mason Ferrick and fellow senior TJ Overbaugh (11 points) led the Triton resistance each of the final four times.  TJ made free throws while Mason converted a rebound, hit a jump shot, and assisted on a last-minute layin by junior Brendan Dennis.

Credit Pentucket for continuing to come back.  “Pentucket kids don’t quit,” said Coach Hickey.

Peter Lopata and Silas Bucco trap TJ Overbaugh

“It was a great team effort,” said Coach Ted Schruender post-game.  “We had guys step up with key guys injured.  We had big games from TJ and Mason.”

“We tried making a push at the end,” said Sachems coach Ed Hickey.  “Whenever it seemed like the momentum was swinging our way, we’d miss a shot or foul or have a turnover.  The kids played hard.  We just didn’t get it done tonight.”

TJ Overbaugh: “We played well.  We came out and did what we had to do.”

The Pentucket losing streak now reaches eight after a very promising start to this season.  The Sachems were 19-3 last season.

The Vikings ended a three-game losing streak.

“We’ve got five more games left,” said Mason Ferrick.  “Two wins will get us into the tournament.  If we win more than that we might get a higher seed in the tournament.”

The Pentucket band impressed me.  The kids could play, and they were astute and organized enough to play only when the teams on the floor weren’t playing.

Triton box

Pentucket box

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

Silas Bucco  in the lane

Sam Stys (11 points)

Nolan O’Neil

Nicholas Dupuis and Chase Dwight

Mason Ferrick waits to inbounds

Mason Ferrick (18 points) in the lane

Loose ball

Dylan Wilkinson (12 points) looks for someone to pass to

Brendan Dennis at the line

Tight Triton defense

TJ Overbaugh

Silas Bucco and TJ Overbaugh

 

 

 

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Pentucket struggles in 57-50 win over non-league Notre Dame Academy (Hingham)

Angelina Yacubacci (22 points) puts up a floater

Neither team backed down

(West Newbury MA) Both teams were aggressive and neither team backed down.

The result?  A whistle fest.

Pentucket (7-1) took the lead for good midway through the third quarter and survived non-league Notre Dame Academy (Hingham), 57-50, on Saturday night.

The visitors were within two points (51-49) with 1:17 left but the Sachems (7-1) dominated the rest of the way. A beautiful interior pass by freshman Abby Dube set up teammate Mackenzie Currie for a layup, boosting the lead back to four. After a NDA free throw (Ava Orlando), senior Angelina Yacubacci (22 points) surrounded a Cougar turnover with foul-producing drives.  Angelina sank all four freebies and the defending D2 champs had a victory.

“It was a good win,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards, “but we’ve got some things to work on. Our defense needed to get better.  We’re fouling too much.”

Angelica Hurley in the lane chased by Ava Orlando

“We did not do a good job of containing the drive,” explained Notre Dame coach Nicole Orlando.

Pentucket shot thirty-five free throws and the Cougars twenty-six.

There was hardly a possession that didn’t earn a whistle for something, because the teams also combined for thirty-five turnovers to go along with all the fouls!

The teams were tied at 8-8 with a minute left in the first quarter.  At this point Pentucket put a 13-2 run together that stretched into the second quarter.  Their 21-10 lead threatened to take the suspense out of the final outcome.  Five different Sachems contributed points as their dangerous pressure defense kicked in.  Hannah Lambert had a three in the collection of Pentucket points.

Megan Reading and Haley Roberts tie up

Some teams fall apart when the Sachems put a run of points together……..NDA wasn’t one of them. The excessive fouling started to hurt the home team.  The Cougars went to the foul line seven times and made six of them.  With Pentucket cooled down, their big lead vanished and NDA tightened things to 23-22 in the closing seconds.

At this point, Angelina Yacubacci fired the beyond half-court buzzer beater that seldom goes in……..but this time it did.  Pentucket had a four-point lead (26-22) at halftime.

Notre Dame (5-2) was able to take the lead in the first two minutes of the second half.  A rebound basket by Ava Foley and a layup off a Pentucket turnover put NDA in front, 29-26.

The defending champs in trouble?  Not for long.

Megan Reading (33) puts up a shot

The Sachems headed toward the basket on almost every possession thereafter and when they didn’t score, they did get free throws.  Pentucket put seven unanswered points together and three minutes later they were in front, 34-29.  A key possession for the Sachems in this successful sequence was when an offensive rebound led to a corner three by Alyssa Thompson.

Pentucket led the rest of the way but the Cougars were never far away.  They were within one point several times but Pentucket had answers.  Rebound baskets.  Floaters in the lane and free throws kept the Cougars from actually catching up.

The Sachems depth was crucial in the end game.  Coach McNamara was able to have his starters on the court in the closing minutes.  Coach Orlando had three starters (Ava Foley, Haley Roberts, Ellie Hilsabeck) foul out.

Impressive for NDA was senior Kristin Barrett.  Kristin ended up with eighteen points including eight in the first five minutes of the final quarter that had the Cougars only trailing, 48-46.

Kristin Barrett (18 points) chased by Abby Dube (23) and Lana Mickelson (32)

“Notre Dame has always been a good team,” explained Angelica Hurley post-game, “especially #13 (Kristin Barrett). We always struggle to contain her.  She’s really fast.”

“We kept them in the game with our fouling,” said Coach McNamara. “There was no flow to the game as a result.”

Angelica Hurley: “We definitely need to work on our gap defense.  We do it well in practice, but it doesn’t show in the games.  We also can’t get frustrated with each other.”

Coach McNamara: “We have been playing Notre Dame for thirteen years.  Somehow their coach and I started talking and we ended up playing them. They now have a new coach, but I hope we can continue to play them in the future.”

Coach McNamara had daughters play for him a while ago.  Coach Orlando had her seventh-grade daughter playing for her tonight.

Ava Foley covered by Angelica Hurley

“You have to focus on the game and not on your kid playing,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “Coach Orlando’s daughter is pretty good for a 7th grader.”

“It’s exciting to have your daughter play for you,” said Coach Orlando.  “We don’t put a lot of emphasis on it.  I don’t coach her differently.  She is very poised for her age.”

A first for me tonight: Both coaches thanked me for covering the game.

Junior Arielle Cleveland injured an ankle on Friday night during Pentucket’s win over Triton.  Could be out a couple of weeks.

Notre Dame box

Pentucket box

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

Abby Dube

Abby Dube (23) and Angelica Hurley (24) try to trap Kristin Barrett

Alyssa Thompson at the line

Alyssa Thompson leads a break

Notre Dame coach Nicole Orlando

Angelica Hurley shoots over Ellie Hilsabeck

Angelina Yacubacci and Haley Roberts get tied up

Anna Wyner defends

Julia Foley (4) defends

Lana Mickelson at the line

 

 

 

 

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Triton sweeps challenging Pentucket in CAL volleyball

Mia Berardino (13) led Triton with thirteen kills.

Katherine Quigley (11) and Arielle Cleveland (21) at the net

(West Newbury MA) What a difference a month makes!

Pentucket continues winless in their first volleyball season but their improvement was noticeable.

“Pentucket has improved considerably since the last time we saw them,” said Triton coach Bob Van Etten after tonight’s match with the Sachems. “Their middle was a lot better.  They passed better and were able to work the middle.  It was a hard-fought win for us.”

Jillian Sheehy readies to hit

The Sachems reached a season-high twenty-two points in the second game.

“Our confidence is getting better,” said Pentucket coach Lauren Bennett.  “The skill levels have improved so much.”

The final scores were; 25-16, 25-22, and 25-18.

Mia Berardino was the star of the show for the (5-11) Vikings.  The tall sophomore was able to produce a steady flow of serves and hits that gave the home team trouble.

“She (Mia) had an outstanding night,” said Coach Van Etten.  “She had a lot of kills, smart hits, and great serves.”

Mia finished with fifteen kills and four service aces.

Arielle Cleveland and Coach Lauren Bennett

“Mia is very, very talented,” said junior Macey Cowl of Pentucket.  “When she gets set up you know it’s coming and it’s coming hard.”

Despite Mia’s impressive performance, Pentucket kept things interesting in all three games.

In the first game, the Sachems rode some Triton errors and Arielle Cleveland hits to a 15-12 lead and a Vikings timeout.  After the timeout, the team from Byfield put a lengthy run together.  The Vikings won ten straight points, with sophomore Molly Kimball serving and Mia getting set up for kills, and Triton gained separation, 22-15.

The best takeaway for Pentucket would be the second game.  The Sachems trailed early, 6-2 and 10-6 before rallying on Triton miscues and Arielle’s serves to tie things at 16-16.  Later a serve by senior Caitlin Kutcher hit the net and dropped in and the game was tied 22-22.  But along came Mia Berardino.  Three straight times she was beautifully set up for kills and Triton escaped 25-22.

Molly Kimball serves

“I give so much credit to our setters,” said Mia afterwards.  “They did such a great job putting the ball on the net so that we could hit it down.”

The Sachems never led in the final game, but the deficit was small (16-15) late in that game.  The biggest cheer from the Pentucket faithful was after sophomore Nicole Zahornasky was able to block one of Mia’s kill attempts and have the rebound drop in for a Sachems point.

Coach Van Etten gave special credit to Molly Kimball: “We were playing a 6-2, not a 5-1, so Molly was only getting half the touches.  For her to get nineteen assists under those conditions was huge.”

Jillian Sheehy: “We had some people step up tonight.  We could have won.  This was one of our best games.”

Nicole Zahornasky checks out

Macey Cowl: “Our serves were good.  We had some really nice rallies.  We’re getting there.”

The Vikings have now won two straight.

“We have more wins than we had last year already,” said Mia.  Mia was a Cape Ann League All-Star last year.

Arielle Cleveland: “Volleyball is helpful for basketball.  It improves my anticipation and my jumping.  I enjoy the game a lot.  We’re progressively getting better.  I have been playing AAU basketball on a team that has been winning a lot of games.”

Mia Berardino: “A lot of things worked tonight.  It was a loud crowd, but we stay focused.”

Coach Bennett: “I could see the disappointment in the girls’ faces afterwards and in some ways I liked that.  Even though this was our best game, the girls still want more.”

The quest for that elusive W will continue for Pentucket.  The rematch ahead with Georgetown might be the place for it to happen.

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

Ava Ford (23)

Caitlin Kutcher

Jillian Sheehy

Katherine Quigley serves

Hit in the middle

Lena Freeman (26) and Molly Kimball (8) at the net

Lena Freeman (26) blocks Nicole Zaharnasky

Macey Cowl (18) blocks

Mia Berardino hits and Macey Cowl tries to block

Mia Berardino

Molly Kimball had nineteen assists

Paige Volpone

Waiting for a serve

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport keeps ALS Cup with 3-0 win over Pentucket

Clippers celebrate a 3-0 shutout over Pentucket

Meaghan O’Leary sets up for a direct kick.

(Newburyport MA) She couldn’t have picked a better time.

Senior Meaghan O’Leary turned two direct kicks into the first two goals of her high school career helping Newburyport (7-4-2) shut out Pentucket, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon at Newburyport.

The win kept the coveted ALS Cup in the possession of the Clippers.

Pentucket (8-4-2) has yet to win the ALS Cup in the annual crowd-drawing event.

There was valid optimism that today might be the day for the Sachems’ drought to end.

Why?

Shot coming in

Pentucket had a 6-5 win over the Clippers on September 10th at West Newbury.  The Sachems were down twice by two goals in that back-and-forth contest but rallied to stun the visitors.

The Sachems could score (46 goals) and they had the character to rally back if necessary.

On this cloudy afternoon, however, the Clippers kept both of those things from happening.

“The differences this time,” said NHS coach Kevin Sheridan, “were the organization of our defense, the discipline of our defense, and the communication all the way from the keeper to the strikers in terms of who’s covering who.  That first game was a wakeup call for us.”

Sabrina Campbell (19) and Page Cole (24)

“We came out in the second half determined to crush any hope they had of winning,” explained captain Molly Elmore.  “There was no letup.  We played the full eighty minutes.”

“Newburyport was very organized and defended well,” said Sachems coach Dan Millard.  “We had scored forty-six goals but got none today.”

Eight minutes into the first half (32:19), Meaghan O’Leary’s direct kick from the right deflected off the fingertips of Pentucket netminder Ashlynne Reade to put Newburyport in front, 1-0.

The visitors had some good chances to tie the score in the first half.  The best may have been with less than two minutes when Sabrina Campbell sent a ball into the middle that GK Anneliese Truesdale caught with Mackenzie Currie bearing down on her.

“We were better in the first half than we were in the second,” recalled Coach Millard.

The Clippers were awarded two direct kicks within the span of four minutes in the second half.  Meaghan O’Leary cashed the second one at 25:41.

First goal – upper left corner

“We practice a lot of free kicks,” said Meaghan.  “We have about ten girls that can take really good ones.  I was lucky enough to be the one who stepped up.”

Meaghan’s second goal (25:41 – second half) was off a direct kick from straight away.  Both of her goals were driven toward the upper left side and deflected off GK Ashlynne Reade into the net.

Clippers celebrate 2nd goal

Another set play produced the third goal at 14:26. Senior Cricket Good had plenty to do with this one.  The St. Anselm’s commit came across from the right into the middle and fired a shot back toward the right post that GK Ashlynne Reade make a brilliant save on.  The deflection gave Newburyport a corner kick from the right corner.

Cricket’s 13th goal was off a corner kick with her left foot that was sent low toward the goal.  Ashlynne came out to get the ball, between two teammates, but the hard shot deflected off her hand into the net.

Cricket Good’s CK coming in

Down 3-0 with fourteen minutes remaining, the Clippers had the lead and the solid defense to keep the shutout.

Referencing the three goals on set plays, Coach Millard said, “There were things out of our control.”

Mackenzie Currie (9) and Izzy Kirby (13)

The key defensive player for the Clippers was sophomore Izzy Kirby. Izzy had the job of trying to contain high-scorer Mackenzie Currie.

Meaghan O’Leary: “#13 (Izzy Kirby) was unbelievable.”

GK Anneliese Truesdale: “Izzy was always there to help with Mackenzie.”

“When their top guns received the ball, we had them marked and we had help there as well,” said Coach Sheridan.

A large crowd enjoyed the middle game of today’s triple-header at Stehlin Field.  Only on a turf field could you play a football game and two soccer games, after a night of rain, and still have a great field in place.

GK Anneliese Truesdale up for a save with Mackenzie Currie (9) close by

Anneliese Truesdale: “In the beginning of the season I struggled with high shots but Coach (Sheridan) had worked a lot on it with me.  Give credit to Pentucket.  This is the toughest competition we’ve seen in the ALS Cup.”

Cricket Good: “We were expecting a ton of goals, but we did a good job of knowing their players this time specifically.  It could have been a closer game, but Anneliese had some amazing saves.”

Olivia Sullivan: “We knew what we had to do after the first game with Pentucket.  We came out with plenty of energy this time.  Everyone was focused in warmups.”

Molly Elmore: “Today’s game was bigger than us.  It was for a cause.  I have been going head-to-head with Jacey Jennings for a couple of years.  I tried to find her because she can be a big threat.  She has a good shot.”

Molly Elmore and Jacey Jennings

Coach Sheridan: “Pentucket is a really good team.  We expected them to come out firing in the second half and we knew we had to match them.  It was a great statement game for our girls.  They are thrilled to maintain the cup.”

The Clippers have now won four straight and allowed only one goal during the win streak.

You couldn’t help but notice how dangerous Mackenzie Currie can be.  The combination of size, strong shot, and hustle make her a constant threat.

Cricket Good received a yellow card in the second half.  She was sent off in the first half. “The first time off I said that I’d keep my mouth shut and figure it out,” she said. “There’s still work to be done.”

Yellow card for Cricket Good

Both teams are in Division Three.  “I’m hoping that maybe we can play them again in the tournament,” said Coach Millard.  The Sachems have already made the tourney.  The Clippers need a win or two ties in their remaining schedule to also qualify.

Another Division Three Cape Ann League team is Lynnfield.  They have beaten Newburyport twice and Pentucket once.

That 6-5 win in September was the first time Pentucket had defeated Newburyport in NINE years.  From 2013-2018, in twelve meetings with the Clippers the Sachems had scored only TWO goals. That is why that 6-5 win sent the message that things had changed in West Newbury.

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

Annabelle Sylvanowicz and Olivia Sullivan

Anneliese Truesdale, Meaghan O’Leary, Katie Gallagher

GK Annaliese Truesdale corrals a loose ball

Deidre McElhinney (8) and Katelyn Sudbay (21)

Deidre McElhinney

Kinneal Dickens

Sage Seymour sang The National Anthem

Molly Elmore will attend Sacred Heart (Fairfield CT) next year

Molly Elmore and Jacey Jennings

Olivia Coletti and Syiera Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Georgetown gets first CAL volleyball win defeating Pentucket 3-0

Emerson Nicholas (13) extends over Meaghan Codair

Arielle Cleveland and Macey Rodrigues-Cowl

(West Newbury MA) Pentucket, the new team, took on the team they played for last year.

“This was a very special game for us,” said Pentucket’s Macy Rodrigues-Cowl afterwards. “All of us used to play for Georgetown.”

That familiarity generated plenty of excitement.

But in the end, the team with the experience together (Georgetown) prevailed.

The Royals (3-7) swept the sets, 25-6, 25-15, and 25-19 to notch their first Cape Ann League victory of this season.

The winless Sachems (0-7) got better as the match went on and that is something for them to build on.

“The team is working on controlling the ball and just getting their bodies in the right spots,” explained Pentucket coach Lauren Bennett.  “I know that skill will come with time and reps.”

Georgetown coach Alexis Bedard

The experienced Royals felt pressure playing a new, excited team in their own gymnasium.  “This was intense,” said Royals coach Alexis Bedard.  “I coached most of the players from both sides.”

Now that Georgetown has its first CAL win, they hope that more W’s will come the rest of the way.  “We’ve been playing up with all these teams, but we keep giving it away at the end,” said Coach Bedard.  “We hope that his victory will push us to wins in other matches in this league.”

Grace Sorenson went out with an injury in the first set

The Royals have size and their serving was fast and deep.  Freshman Grace Sorenson sent the visitors off to an 11-0 start in the first game with a nice collection of serves and sets.

“Grace is an amazing setter,” said Coach Bedard.  “She had about ten assists in the first set alone before she was injured.”

Senior Emerson Nicholas was also impressive.  Emerson served the Royals to 9-2 start in the second set and was deadly around the net.  “Emerson is always consistent,” explained Coach Bedard.  “She’s active at the net.  Blocking those balls and killing them straight down.”

“The other team was serving really well,” admitted Coach Bennett, “and it challenged us.  They also had a good setter.”

The approach for the Sachems is to get better and to have some fun along the way.

“Tonight was a fun environment,” recalled Macey.  “We did a good job of communicating and diving for balls. We had a good crowd here.  In the last set, we were really catching up to them.”

Arielle Cleveland served several aces in the final set

Still looking to win their first set, the Sachems made a strong move in that direction in the third set.  The final score was 25-19 with freshman Ava Hughes serving matchpoint.

But the takeaway positive for the home team was that twice during that final set the Royals called a timeout.  The hometown crowd started to get a little excited after first Arielle Cleveland and then Macey made serves that Georgetown couldn’t handle.

But experience prevailed at the end.

Unforced errors plagued the Sachems.  “I think that we would be neck-and-neck with teams if we didn’t make the errors,” said Coach Bennett, “but we will get better with experience.”

Coach Bedard agreed: “Once they get a little more playing time, they’ll be better.  Then they’ll be able to work as a team.”

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

Emerson Nicholas and Kendall Begin battle

Emerson Nicholas ready to serve

Isabel Schultz over Meaghan Codair

Katie Sutton

Lexirose Aulson

Macey Rodrigues-Cowl

Meaghan Codair returns a shot

Rachel Cenci

Sachems having fun

Sophia Scola

Sophie Ferraguzzi

Waiting for a serve

Sachems coach Lauren Bennett

Sachems gather before the match starts

 

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