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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Terrific defense gets Amesbury past Winthrop (50-28) and into D3 North title game

Plenty of pressure applied game-long by Amesbury on Winthrop

Alli Napoli couldn’t keep herself from smiling as both fan groups chanted her name

(Wakefield MA) Everyone knew her name.

There was chanting and singing. All in Alli Napoli’s direction.

And she smiled through it as Amesbury ousted Winthrop from the D3 North tournament with a 50-28 win on Tuesday night.

The Indians (20-2) get a rematch on Saturday against #1 seed St. Mary’s at the Tsongas Center. At stake will be the Division 3 North title.

The Amesbury defense was active and effective all night long.

“Everyone we used played good defense,” said Indians coach Gregg Dollas post-game.

And who could argue? Amesbury held the Vikings (15-8) to only a point over the final seven minutes of the first period and went off to a 16-3 lead. Winthrop never recovered.

Maura Dorr and Avery Hallinan battle for a rebound

“We struggled to score,” said Vikings coach Joe Lowe afterwards. “It’s been that way all year.”

Alli Napoli (11 points) had two baskets, three assists, and several steals in the breakaway first quarter.

“Alli had a terrific game,” said Coach Dollas.

The Indians played very little half-court offense because their defense was so disruptive. On this night their on-ball defense was influential in creating twenty-four Winthrop turnovers.

“If we can’t score in the half-court, we’ll struggle to generate pressure,” said Coach Lowe. “They played well defensively so they were part of the reason we had trouble scoring points.”

Amesbury was up, 24-13, at the half.

Alli Napoli on the fly

The Indians put their defense/offense neatly together some more in the third period. In the first five minutes Amesbury went on a 13-3 run and stretched their advantage to 37-16.

Alli was again in the middle of the good play. The AHS senior sparked the offense and defense. She also made a long pass to a cutting Gabby Redford that had “next-level” written all over it.

“They’ve been doing that all year,” said Coach Dollas. “I’m going to miss that next year.”

Great crowd interaction during the third quarter. Winthrop had plenty of active fans. When Alli went to the free throw line they started chanting her name, trying to throw her off. Meanwhile, the Amesbury fans also started chanting her name at the same time.

Alli laughed about it afterwards: “Maybe it was because it was my 18th birthday? It’s fun to play in front of a big crowd.”

After Amesbury got the twenty-one point lead (37-16) the Vikings suddenly found their touch from beyond the arc.

Maura Dorr (11 points)

Maura Dorr, Julia Marccocio, and Caroline Earl produced consecutive 3-pointers. Winthrop was suddenly within twelve (37-25) 2+ minutes into the final quarter.

Coach Dollas reinserted some of his starters and the Vikings run ended. The Indians tallied that next ten points, including two baskets by Avery Hallinan (18 points), and they coasted in from there.

Avery Hallinan: “We always focus on turning our defense into offense. We don’t run sets very often.”

McKenna Hallinan: “We had to push the pace. We knew that they weren’t as quick as us. We tried to make it a track meet and run and score as much as we could.”

Alli Napoli: “Every practice it’s defense, defense, defense. He (Coach Dollas) drills it into our heads.”

Avery Hallinan (18 points) guarded by Maura Dorr

Coach Dollas on the Winthrop crowd: “The girls loved the Winthrop crowd. I was proud of the group Winthrop brought. They had fun and that’s what we’re here for.”

Coach Dollas on facing St. Mary’s: “There was a 45-point differential last time we played them. We may have to work on some defense! We’ll go out there and try to knock down one of the top private schools in Massachusetts.”

McKenna Hallinan on the St. Mary’s rematch: “We’re hoping to play our best and see where that takes us.”

Great lighting at Wakefield High School.

Maura Dorr made All-Conference in the Northeastern Conference. Caroline Earl and Luly Pulsifer were All-Stars.

Alli Napoli, Avery Hallinan, and Gabby Redford were honored by the Cape Ann League.

Amesbury’s two losses have been to Pentucket (#1 seed D2 North) and St. Mary’s (#1 seed D3 North).

In Winthrop’s D3 North quarter-finals win over Whittier, Lily Polsifer had twenty points while teammate Maura Dorr had sixteen points with fourteen rebounds.

Winthrop box

Amesbury box

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

Maura Dorr gets a block in front of the Amesbury bench

McKenna Hallinan

Sadie Kermelewicz

Izzy Cambece

Lily Pulsifer

Freshman Maddie Stiglets in the air

Avery Hallinan guards Maura Dorr

McKenna Hallinan in the lane

Carolyn Kinsella

Gabby Redford lines up a shot in front of the Amesbury crowd

Alli Napoli waits for a pass

 

 

 

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Weston rallies to beat Newburyport 86-81 in a shootout to gain D3 North semis

Sawyer Mayhugh and Parker McLaren

Jake Robertson (16 points) from the corner

(Newburyport MA) The shots were flying and many from beyond the arc.

Newburyport had fifty points in the first half while Weston had forty-nine in the second half.

Eight lead changes. Three in the first quarter and five in the last quarter.

Exciting? Ask anyone who was there!

Weston grabbed the final lead change with two minutes left, thanks to the remarkable 6-10 Sawyer Mayhugh (36 points), and came away, 86-81, winning the D3 North quarter finals match on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Parker McLaren (34 points) played his last game for the Clippers and it was a beauty.

Parker McLaren (34 points) shoots a three

6-4 Parker had every aspect of his shooting talents working. The long-range game was on target all night. He made seven from out there.

Twice in the final quarter Parker scored from in close to restore the Clippers to the lead.

With thirty-six seconds left his seventh triple, with thirty-six seconds left, brought the Clippers to within two (82-80).

The game-deciding possession followed. There was an urgency on the Clippers’ part to protect the inside and keep Sawyer Mayhugh from scoring. The inside was definitely protected but the perimeter wasn’t.

Will Van Houten (24 points) hits the game-deciding three

Wide open on the left side, in front of the Weston partisans, was junior Will Van Houten (24 points). Will had time (and courage) to take and make the open three with fifteen seconds left. Now down by five (85-80) Newburyport lacked the time and accuracy to recover.

Weston now moves on to face Amesbury in the D3 North semi-finals at Whittier on Wednesday night.

It looked to me as if most of the Amesbury team was in the crowd scouting their next opponent.

The Clippers (16-6) were on fire in the first half. They drained ten three’s and Parker put up eighteen points.

Newburyport was happy on the perimeter and their shots were falling from there.

Sawyer Mayhugh (36 points) over Parker McLaren

Weston’s attack featured outside shooters and Sawyer Mayhugh on the inside.

The Wildcats (12-10) were within two points (32-30) at 4:46 of the second period after two Sawyer free throws.

The next two minutes were all Newburyport. The Clippers put a twelve-point, unanswered segment together and came out with a 44-30 lead.

Parker had a three and a jump shot in this section. Jake Robertson (16 points) had four free throws. Two of Jake freebies came at the expense of a technical on Weston coach Dave First.

“I said to the ref with a couple of minutes left,” explained Coach First post-game, “that I think that the points on the technical are going to cost me, and he started laughing.”

The Clippers lead reached sixteen (50-34) later in the period.

Weston trailed 50-37 at halftime.

“It was so sad in the first half,” said Sawyer Mayhugh afterwards. “We couldn’t find our offense and we were giving up too many three’s.”

Christos Iatrides (16 points)

The Wildcats were able to shrink the Clippers lead in the third period. Three’s by Isaiah Kacyvenski and Christos Iatridis (16 points) had Weston within one (60-59).

“Honestly,” said Alton Jenkins post-game, “we don’t give up. That’s what Weston is all about. We’re going to give intensity from start to finish. That 13-point halftime lead didn’t matter to us. We were going to put in our work regardless.”

The Clippers recovered after Weston was within one, thanks to a three by Ronan Brown and Ryan Archie layup, assisted by Jack Fehlner. Newburyport was ahead by four (67-63) after three quarters.

A three by senior Ryan Archie (assist Trevor Ward) had Newburyport up by eight (73-65) with 5:55 left in the game.

Now it was Weston’s turn to put a run together.

Sawyer Mayhugh

Key play alert! The decisive comeback run started with Sawyer Mayhugh launching a three. Knowing what he can do around the basket, you’d think defensively that he was doing you a favor shooting from beyond the arc.

Sawyer took the shot and it missed but he raced in from the wing, got the rebound, and made a layup. That’s what hustle is all about!

That basket started Weston on an 8-point run. Will Van Houten’s three was the shot that gave Weston it’s first lead (74-73) since the first quarter.

Parker hit a floater in the lane. Sawyer put in a layup.

Parker went at Sawyer for a layup. Sawyer answered with a dunk.

Four straight free throws (Sawyer two, Christos Iatridis two) boosted the Weston edge to five (82-77) with forty-eight seconds left. Parker responded with a three.

Weston coach Dave First

Will Van Houten’s win-securing three followed and Weston now moves on to the D3 North semi-finals.

Those who have seen the Clippers play, probably had the same flashback I had when Will sank that crucial shot from the left wing. A year ago, Dracut’s Adrian Torres gave the Middies a tourney win over Newburyport from the same spot.

“Will sealed the deal with that shot,” said Sawyer Mayhugh. “It gave us the extra push to get another stop and finish the game.”

“It was a real team effort,” according to Will Van Houten. “We were in a similar situation last year in the tournament. We don’t give up. That’s what we’re made of.”

Coach First: “Newburyport is a terrific team. They are well coached and well disciplined. I can’t believe we came back from thirteen down against them. It was fun to watch Sawyer against Parker.”

Sawyer Mayhugh sets to dunk

Sawyer Maghugh: “Newburyport has great shooters. It was definitely a challenge to stop them, but we did it.”

Packed house with some spectators having to stand. Plenty of school officials around to make sure the crowd behaved.

Jack Fehlner (17 points) and Jake Robertson each had thirteen points in the first half.

The Clippers missed the front end of three one-and-one’s in the last five minutes of the game. The Wildcats were 14/24 from the line.

Weston is in the Dual County League. Newburyport is in the Cape Ann League.

Newburyport made more 3-point shots (17) than they did 2-point shots (10).

Alton Jenkins heads to the basket

In the previous tournament game against Shasheen, Sawyer had nineteen points, sixteen rebounds, and five blocks. Will the 6-10 sophomore have committed to a D1 school two years from now? Wouldn’t surprise this reporter.

Parker certainly showed that he can shine in the bright lights of a big game. He won’t be covering any 6-10 post players at the next level. I wonder what college he’ll end up at?

You stay close to the action you risk having the action come to you. Sure enough, in the 4th quarter Christos Iatridis drives hard to the basket, gets fouled to the ground and slides into me. No damage to either of us, fortunately.

Weston box

Newburyport box

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

Alton Jenkins grabs a rebound

Alton Jenkins shoots a free throw

Battle for a rebound

Christos Iatradis free throw

Will Van Houten (24 points) looks to pass

Christos Iatridis tosses the ball in the air to end the game

Isaiah Kacyvenski and Jake Robertson

Isaiah Kacyvenski guarded by Max Gagnon

Ronan Brown made two 3’s

Sawyer Mayhugh free throw in the last minute

Weston celebrates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amesbury pressure defense key to 49-31 win over Watertown in D3 North Quarter Finals

Taylor Lambo double-teamed

Watertown under pressure

(Amesbury MA) The Amesbury offense was rusty, but their defense certainly wasn’t.

The Indians (#2 seed) rode their full-court, pressuring, trapping defense to a 49-31 win over Watertown (#10 seed) in the Division 3 North quarterfinals on Friday night.

“The defense saved us tonight,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “We hadn’t played in ten days and it showed on offense.”

The Indians (19-2) broke away from a 10-10 tie early in the second period on an Alli Napoli full-court drive and built their lead the rest of the way.

Avery Hallinan (16 points)

“We started off really slow but after a while we settled down and made our shots,” said sophomore Avery Hallinan (16 points).

Watertown led early (6-0) but generating offense was a game-long struggle thereafter.

“Their pressure kept us out of rhythm,” said Watertown coach Pat Ferdinand.

“We focused on our defense and trapping in our recent practices,” explained McKenna Hallinan. “It really helped us today. We needed to switch on pick-and-rolls because #53 (Taylor Lambo) was involved and we wanted to deny her the ball.”

Taylor ended up with thirteen points.

“#53 (Taylor) did a good job inside,” said Coach Dollas.

Amesbury registered seven straight points after tying the score at 10-10.

Alli Napoli (14 points) on her way to the basket

Alli Napoli (14 points) collected three layups in this surge. One was a full-court drive through the entire Raiders defense.

“She (Alli) was dynamic,” said Coach Ferdinand. “Regardless of what we did she was able to control the flow of the game.”

“Alli had another good game,” said Coach Dollas.

Amesbury’s next game will be at a neutral site, so this not only was another of the 1000-point scorer’s “good” games but her last at AHS.

The Indians ended the first half with two Gabby Redford (13 points) free throws that started Amesbury into ten unanswered points.

The Raiders (10-12) had gotten within seven (22-15) on a Brittany Catsoulis jump shot before Gabby’s free throws.

While the Raiders were shut out for nearly six minutes of the third period, the Indians scored eight in a row.

Gabby Redford (13 points)

Avery Hallinan had a layup and an old-fashioned 3-point play while Gabby Redford cashed the new-fashioned version of a three-pointer.

“I thought Gabby hit some big shots for us tonight,” said Coach Dollas. “She was a 2nd team Cape Ann League All-Star for good reason.”

The Amesbury lead had been built to 32-15 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

The teams played even (point-wise) the rest of the way.

Watertown’s Ellie Monahan had eight points in the second half including a buzzer-beating triple to close the third quarter.

The Raiders needed stops to go with their improved offense in the final period but on this night couldn’t find it.

“At times we got stops but we couldn’t get baskets on the other end,” said Coach Ferdinand.

Taylor Lambo (13 points) at the line

Watertown is from the Middlesex League. In their first-round game they defeated Latin Academy, 46-36. Taylor Lambo had twenty-two points, fifteen rebounds, and three blocks in that one.

Amesbury is in the Cape Ann League. Their two losses this season have been to the D2 North #1 seed (Pentucket) and the D3 #1 seed (St. Mary’s).

Coach Dollas: “Our defense was really good. We didn’t want them to be able to set up their offense. That was our goal. We had good energy the whole time.”

Gabby Redford: “At first it was very stressful because we were down at the beginning. It was good for us to step up in the second half. The fan section really helped.”

Mary Bullis: “I thought the girls stepped up on defense. Because of the pressure, #53 had to bring the ball up. I’m not sure she wanted to do that. I know that feeling.”

Coach Ferdinand: “I’m proud of our girls. We didn’t have enough tonight. Sometimes you see that a team has an edge on you. You just try to compete as much as possible and we did.”

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

Watertown coach Pat Ferdinand

Taylor Lambo passes

Taylor Lambo looks for an opening

McKenna Hallinan

Liv DeLong defends an inbounds pass

Leah D’Amico looks for an opening against Ashlee Porcaro

Izzy Cambece

Gabby Redford and Catherine LaForte guard Taylor Lambo

Flannery O’Connor honored at halftime

Brittany Catsoulis and Ciara Sullivan

Battle for control

Ashley Shaughnessy chased by Avery Hallinan

Alli Napoli in among four Raiders

Alli Napoli floats in against Taylor Lambo

 

 

 

 

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Governor’s Academy downs Nobles 53-48 on Seniors’ Day

Governor’s pressure gave Nobles trouble

Seniors Zach Clough, Eljay Morris, Jason Mahoney, and John Gorgol honored pre-game

Gov’s coach Michael Shelton

(Byfield MA) “I told the team that tonight was not going to be about anybody but the seniors,” explained Governor’s Academy coach Michael Shelton afterwards.

And that’s the way it went.

The four Govs seniors were honored before the game, then started the game, and later finished it.

“Coach told us in the second half,” said senior John Gargol, “that we started it and we’re going to end it.”

Governor’s (17-8) held off fast-closing Nobles, 53-48, on Wednesday night to give the evening a perfect ending.

One more game on the Gov’s schedule before they start the Class B tournament next Wednesday.

Despite differing lineups, the Govs applied effective pressure against the Bulldogs (10-13).

Governor’s “run-and-jump stuff,” as Coach Shelton called it, helped turn a 10-9 Nobles lead into a 21-10 Govs’ lead five minutes later.

Henry Mitchell over Eljay Morris

Senior Eljay Morris was the chief contributor with six points in the 12-straight Govs points, including a crowd-pleasing dunk on an assist from Drew Sachs.

“They did a good job with their pressure defense,” said Nobles coach Adam Cluff post-game. “They were relentless and very disciplined with it.”

Nobles (10-13) rallied in the last 1 ½ minutes of the half (3 by Brendan McNamara, jump shot Duke Ferrara) and only trailed, 28-21.

The Govs dominated the first eight minutes of the second half. Six different players contributed points with senior Jason Mahoney nailing a 3-pointer. Defensively? Even better, as they limited the team from Dedham (MA) to only a triple by Channing Bryant (11 points).

The Govs lead increased to 49-29 with 5 ½ minutes left.

There wasn’t enough time for the Bulldogs to catch the bench-clearing Govs but they certainly finished with a rush and that pleased Coach Cluff.

Brett Cosby (10 points)

“We decided that no matter what happened we were going to be resilient,” said Coach Cluff. “We ended up going with a smaller lineup and it gave us a little more flexibility against their full-court pressure.”

Nobles made shots and forced the Govs into mistakes (four turnovers) and closed the game on a 19-4 run but lost, 53-48.

Brett Cosby (10 points) and Channing Bryant (11 points) each contributed 3-pointers and layups in Nobles late run of good basketball.

Governor’s has a five-game win streak going and will start Class B tournament play next Wednesday.

Peyton O’Leary (11 points)

“We’re peaking at the right time,” said Coach Shelton. “Our young guys have bought into our principles and our daily habits. On Saturday (against St. Sebastian’s) we had a season-high twenty assists. We’re really sharing the ball and defending at a really high level.”

The team-to-beat in Class B would be undefeated Brooks. “We were close against them on the road and they went on a big run to end the half,” said Coach Shelton. “It was a tough game for our young guys. We look forward to seeing them in the tournament.”

Will Batchelder: “Tonight was a fun game for our seniors. It was a good win in a good atmosphere.”

Will is taking his road test on Saturday. Stay clear of the Haverhill Registry on that day!

John Gorgol shoots

Senior John Gorgol on being from Arizona and choosing Governor’s Academy: “My uncle and grandmother live about three minutes away from Govs. I learned about it from them. Having my grandmother nearby has been great because I can go over to her house every weekend and eat chicken.”

John’s college plans: “I am going to go to Babson. It’s a great business school. I will be playing basketball. I met with some of the players and I felt like I was already part of the team.”

Coach Sanders: “We’re a talented young team so some of our seniors have had to sacrifice playing time to the younger kids. They have made it work. They are all captains for us. I wanted to send them out on a high note tonight.”

Governor’s box

Nobles box

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

Zach Clough

Will Batchelder past Marc Garraud

Will Batchelder

Midcourt scramble

Marc Garraud

Liam Dunfee

Holden Symonds

Gov’s team with seniors and parents

Duke Ferrara

Channing Bryant (11 points)

Brett Cosby from the corner

Brendan McNamara

 

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport rallies to defeat Dracut 67-57 in D3 North First Round

Parker McLaren (23 points) in the lane

Adrian Torres (10 points) for Dracut

(Newburyport MA) “I was getting flashbacks from last year in the first half,” said Newburyport coach Dave Clay afterwards.

And he probably wasn’t the only one.

Dracut, last year, came to Newburyport and stunned the higher seeded Clippers. The Middies would go on to stun a few other teams and win the Division 3 North title.

But that was last year. This time around, the Clippers turned things around offensively and defensively in the second half and defeated Dracut, 67-57, on Monday night in a D3 North First Round game.

Parker McLaren (23 points) and Jake Robertson (21 points) led Newburyport.

Jake Robertson (21 points)

Tyler Guerriero (19 points) and JC Santiago (14 points) paced Dracut.

The Clippers (16-5) were in front early, 12-6, and then fell apart defensively. The Middies whacked Newburyport with a 25-point second quarter and were in front, 35-29, at halftime.

“The tone at halftime was that we had to be the tougher team in the second half,” said Jake Robertson.

“We needed more effort defensively,” said Coach Clay. “We needed to help earlier and be tougher with our on-ball defense.”

The Clippers may have been doing those things to start the second half but for four minutes the scoreboard told a different story.

Tyler Guerriero (19 points)

Dracut was up, 45-38, with four minutes to play in the third quarter. The Middies were making tough shots against the taller Clippers.

Was Newburyport on its way to another shocking loss to Dracut?

Not tonight.

The #3 seed Clippers overwhelmed Dracut (8-14) on both ends of the court for the next 5 ½ minutes of playing time.

The tightened NHS defense didn’t allow a single point while the offense rolled up an unstopped fourteen straight points.

That 45-38 score turned into 52-45 one minute into the final quarter.

Parker McLaren and Jake Robertson each had 3’s during the scoring surge. There were also two well-run backdoor cuts that led to layups for Jack Fehlner and Trevor Ward.

Coach Brian Myers watches Adrian Torres and Jack Fehlner

Jack Fehlner did a nice job defending sophomore Adrian Torres. Adrian (10 points) was the one last year who nailed the game-deciding three in the last minute.

“Coach (Clay) told me to stay in front of him,” explained Jack. “He a great player. Very shifty. I just held my ground on defense.”

Adrian had four 3’s last year but none this time around. Jack added ten points tonight including seven in the comebacking third quarter.

The Middies were still within striking range (54-50) with 4 ½ minutes to play. Then junior Jake Robertson took over.

The next nine Newburyport points came from Jake hitting a three, finishing twice at the rim, and making two free throws.

“Jake is not one-dimensional,” said Coach Clay.

“In the second half, guys did a good job of pushing the ball up the court and I got some easy looks because of it,” explained Jake.

Parker McLaren to the hoop

“He (Jake) came up super clutch in the fourth quarter,” said Parker McLaren. “We were able to get out and run and he was found open on the wing. We know he’s going to knock those down every time.”

Jake’s run of nine points boosted the Clippers advantage to, 63-52, with two minutes left. Dracut didn’t have the time, or long-range shooting, to duplicate last year’s finish.

“We guarded for the first half,” said Dracut coach Brian Myers. “In the second half we got away from it. That’s been us all year. We haven’t been able to guard a unit for an entire game.”

It certainly helped the Clippers to have Parker McLaren stay out of foul trouble.

“It was a focus of mine going in,” said Parker. “I knew that they were going to attack me and try to get me into foul trouble. As it turned out, I had fouls I could use in the second half.”

“Parker is a physical presence,” said Coach Clay. “He’s huge. They did a good job of collapsing on him and taking away his driving angle. He hit some three’s to stretch out the defense.”

Scramble in the corner

Coach Myers: “Newburyport played with a greater sense of urgency in the 3rd and 4th quarters. They are a good team. They get the right guys the ball. You help a little bit and they make you pay.”

Jake Robertson: “It kind of felt like that Dracut game last year in the first half. We needed to play better help defense.”

Last year against Dracut the Clippers missed fifteen free throws. “We tried as a team to learn from our mistake of missing free throws,” added Coach Clay. “The team spent a lot of time in the off-season practicing pressure free throws.”

Parker was sure that his brother Casey, who was in the crowd, enjoyed the win over Dracut. “They ended his career last year.”

The Middies lost nine of the last eleven games.

The Clippers have now won six of seven games. They play again at home on Wednesday night.

The Middies play in the Merrimack Valley Conference.

Newburyport box

Dracut box

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

Adrian Torres

Farai Zuvaradoka

Jack Fehlner tries to get off a shot

Jake Robertson ended the first at the foul line

JC Santiago (14 points)

Loose ball coming my way

Max Gagnon

Parker McLaren rebounds

Ronan Brown on the move

Tyler Guerriero

 

 

 

 

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