Why have there been so many coronavirus cases in Italy?

Why Italy?

Italy is second to China in reported coronavirus cases.

Why is that so?

I have seen reports that state that Italy has the oldest population in Europe. Therefore, it is implied, Italy’s population would be more susceptible  (lesser immune systems) to COVID-19 and get the virus easier.

That thinking seems to go like this: The virus was around, took note of Italy’s aging population, and went to work there. It was a random country choice. Countries with younger populations would be less vulnerable to an outbreak of the virus.

Makes sense but then the facts get in the way.

I saw information today that reveals a significant connection between Italy to China.

The northern part of Italy has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus. How is that area connected to China?

The fashion/garment industry is huge in that region. Think Prada & Gucci. China has long presented inexpensive manufacturing options to those businesses.

Some of the work for that industry has been done by Italian companies that have used inexpensive labor found mainly in Wuhan, China.

Chinese workers have also moved from China to northern Italy to work in the fashion/garment industry. There are an estimated 100,000 Chinese citizens working in Italian factories. More than 300,000 Chinese now live in Italy.

Until recently, end of January, there were direct flights from Italy to Wuhan.

I may not have this exactly right, but this looks to me like plenty of interaction between the area in China where the virus started and the place in Europe where it is the worst.

Portraying COVID-19 as a virus that randomly infects large areas out of nowhere may not be true. Cause and effect still are in play.

Certainly, we need to be careful and certainly we need to be wise.

Should northern Italy be under virtual house arrest? No question.

Should we? No longer as certain.

 

 

 

 

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St. Mary’s downs Rockland 53-37 to gain a D3 title shot

Maiya Bergdorf (13 points) was a key part in St. Mary’s strong second half

Lady Dogs close in on Nicolette D’Itria

(Boston MA) This one took a while to sort out.

Tied at 18-18 at halftime.

Rockland had size and had won sixteen straight.

St. Mary’s had a persistent defense and was capable of scoring seventy to eighty points.

Something had to give.

It was the Spartans (24-2) who turned things their way in the second half.

They continued to defend well and found a way to stoke their lackluster first-half offense.

Those ingredients led them to a 53-37 win in the D3 state semi-finals on Wednesday afternoon at the TD Garden.

St. Mary’s will face Hoosac Valley in a title game rematch from last season.

“Hoosac Valley is like UConn,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall post-game, “they are there every year.”

Jannise Avelino and Julia Elie (14 points)

The Elie sisters, senior Caroline and sophomore Julia, carried the Lady Dogs in the first half combining for fifteen points. Rockland (22-3) was able to use their size advantages inside to turn lob passes into layups.

Rockland led 18-12 with 2 ½ minutes left in the second quarter.

St. Mary’s used Rockland’s scoreless time thereafter to get a shot-clock beating three (Gabby Torres) and a Yirsy Queliz steal that the freshman turned into an old-fashioned 3-point play.

“We were tied at halftime and our offense couldn’t have been much worse,” said Coach Newhall.

After two lead changes early in the second half, a pair of Maiya Bergdorf (13 points) free throws put St. Mary’s in front, 25-24, with 2 ½ minutes. They would never trail again.

Yirsy Queliz scores and draws a foul on Hannah Wyllie

“When #14 (Hannah Wyllie) was taken out because of foul trouble, we inserted Van Nguyen and went with four guards and Maiya (Bergdorf),” recalled Coach Newhall. The Spartans took off from there.

“We did a 4-1 to space out their bigs and open up the paint for Maiya,” explained senior Olivia Matela.

Defending the inside opened up outside shots for St. Mary’s. Defending the perimeter gave Maiya a chance to operate against a single defender.

“They had a lot of weapons,” said Rockland coach Diana Newcomb, “and they could bring them from wherever they wanted to.”

St. Mary’s pushed their lead to nine (38-29) after two Maiya free throws and a drive by Olivia Matela (nine points).

Olivia Matela (9 points)

The deal was sealed for the team from Lynn a minute later when Maiya and Olivia hit three’s on consecutive possessions. These triples raised the Spartans advantage to eleven (44-33) and there was no coming back for the Lady Dogs.

“Van (Nguyen) sparked the win,” said Coach Newhall. “She’s a role player who sat on the bench for 2 ½ quarters today. To contribute as she did under those circumstances was special. We matched her up against a forward defensively and put as much pressure as we could on the ball.”

Julia Elie (14 points) and Caroline Elie (12 points) paced Rockland.

St. Mary’s two losses were to teams (D1 Franklin & D4 Cathedral) that will also play for state titles in their next game.

You have to like St. Mary’s chances against Hoosac Valley in the title game. Why? Granted HV won that game last year but in December of this season, at HV, it was St. Mary’s 62, Hoosac Valley 32!

Gabby Torres and Caroline Elie (12 points)

Caroline Elie: “Since the beginning of the season we’ve grown tremendously on and off the court.”

Hannah Wyllie: “We would have wished for a better outcome but just to be here is a great thing.”

Olivia Matela: “We used the big court to our advantage. We play fast. The majority of our points are scored in transition.”

Maiya Bergdorf: “Coach (Newhall) kept encouraging me even when my shots weren’t falling. Players need to hear that.”

Coach Newhall: “We were here a year ago and our goal has been to get back to the state championship game again.”

Rockland coach Diana Newcomb

Coach Newcomb: “This is the best group to come through Rockland in twenty years. They won the South Shore League and reached the Eastern Mass finals.”

Twenty years ago, the RHS coach played for the Lady Dogs when they won the state title. “I was here for the Eastern Mass game. We beat Chelsea by a pretty good margin, and then won against Bromfield in the state championship game.”

Rockland box

St. Mary’s box

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

Referee smiles as both coaches protest the same call

Caroline and Julie Elie leave the game

End of the game

Hannah Wyllie drives on Gabby Torres

Julia Elie breaks out

Julia Elie and Maiya Bergdorf

Nicolette D’Itria

St. Mary’s team post-game

St. Mary’s pre-game

Sydney Blaney covers Yirsy Queliz

Van Nguyen surrounded by Hannah Wyllie

Yirsy Queliz guarded by Hannah Wyllie

 

 

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Cathedral advances to D4 title game after 61-37 win over Matignon

Cathedral controlled the boards and ran for transition layups

Cathedral moves on to the D4 state championship game

Ariana Vanderhoop (17 points) looks to pass

(Boston MA) Matignon coach Joe DiSarcina had seen two of Cathedral’s games.

He knew what he was getting into.

“They have size, speed, outside shooting, and depth,” he said post-game.

The Panthers (18-2) showed glimpses of all those positives and took out the Warriors, 61-37, on Tuesday afternoon at the TD Garden.

With today’s D4 state semi-finals win, Cathedral will return to the state championship game.

The Panthers have been there before winning in 2016, 2017, and last year.

Matignon (20-2) was game and got off to a good start.

The Warriors had a sixteen-game win-streak in place and hadn’t lost this year. They played with confidence.

Kiara Ansley and Olivia Found (12 points)

Sophomore Olivia Found’s 3-pointer had Matignon ahead 7-4 after 3+ minutes of the first quarter.

Then Cathedral got its act together and ran off eleven unanswered points in 2 ½ minutes and suddenly had a 15-7 lead.

The team from Cambridge struggled to keep up and couldn’t catch up the rest of the way.

The Panthers had six miscues in the early going which explain their slow start.

“We made it hard for ourselves with our turnovers,” said Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter. “Despite the turnovers, however, we were used to being here (TD Garden) and we survived.”

It was quickly obvious that Cathedral could run and would run at every opportunity.

Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter

“Transition offense is our bread-and-butter,” said Coach Lassiter.

During the 11-point run, Cathedral had two inside scores from senior Mackenzie Daleba (18 points), plus fast break layups by Tayla Barros (12 points) and Ariana Vanderhoop (17 points). CeCe Gibson (7 points) finished the run of points with a three from the right side.

Cathedral pushed its lead to twelve (26-14) in the second quarter.

Cathedral’s Tayla Barros ended the first half with a jump shot. That basket was the start of another major Panthers’ run of points. This time it was twelve straight.

When the 12-point run ended, three minutes into the third quarter, the team from Boston was in command, 38-16.

All five Cathedral baskets to start the second half were on fast breaks. The Warriors missed shots and couldn’t get back on defense fast enough to prevent layups down the other end.

“When you’re fresh at the beginning, you can get back,” said Coach DiSarcina. “It’s a big court and we’re not deep.”

“We like to get out and run,” said Coach Lassiter. “We make sure we secure the ball and then we break out. We try to wear the other team down.”

Mackenzie Daleba (18 points) dominated in close at both ends

Cathedral was ready to go starting the second half.

“Anything can happen in the second half,” explained senior Ariana Vanderhoop afterwards. “We knew that they would come back with more energy and we had to push ours up too.”

Matignon did not go quietly. A long-range three from senior Emma Found (12 points) had Matignon within fourteen, 42-28, entering the final quarter.

A stretch followed with three fast-break layups in a span of just over a minute and Cathedral was back up by twenty (50-30) with six minutes remaining.

Benches were cleared over the final minutes which gave everyone in uniform the chance to be on this special court.

Mackenzie Daleba

Mackenzie Daleba wouldn’t tell me the name of the college she’s committed to. “I will reveal it after the season is over.” The revelation could happen after the championship game.

What’s not to like in Mackenzie’s skills? She can rebound. She turned rebounds into well placed outlet passes. She gets back on defense and can finish.

Mackenzie had one runner in the lane but everything else was from in close. I asked her if she had an outside game: “It’s more of taking what other teams give me. My shooting and my basketball IQ will have to be better at the next level.”

Coach DiSarcina: “Not many people gave us a chance against Fenway (D4 North finals). We’re glad about what we’ve done but if you’re satisfied with where you are then you’re not ready to make the next step.”

Coach Lassiter: “Defense leading to our transition offense is the key to our success.”

Cathedral’s two losses have been to D1 state finalist Franklin and to D3 semi-finalist St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s plays Rockland tomorrow afternoon to see if they can reach the state championship game again. Hoosac is already in that game. St. Mary’s lost to Hoosac in the title game last year but faced them early in this season and won handily.

Jordan Fergus and Olivia Domingos battle for a rebound

Both Matignon and Cathedral are in the Catholic Central League. I’m not sure how you can be in the same league and NOT play each other during the regular season.

Cathedral has now won fifteen of their last sixteen games. They were 22-2 last season with a state title.

Sophomore Olivia Found matched her sister with a team-leading twelve points.

I always enjoy covering tournament games at the Garden. So many memories!

Cathedral box

Matignon box

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

Cathedral team

Matignon team

Matignon seniors

Tayla Barros heads to the basket

Riley Fallon blocks Kamille Benjamin

Olivia Found moves back from Mackenzie Daleba

Olivia Found and Ariana Vanderhoop

Olivia Found (12 points) on a break

Olivia Domingos, Emma Found, Dolores Carey-Marugo

Mackenzie Daleba (18 points) shoots from in close

Loose ball

Kiara Ansley

Kamille Benjamin guarded by Emma Gillis

Erica Hutchinson tries the lane

Emma Found (12 points) gets off a shot

CeCe Gibson and Emma Found

CeCe Gibson

Ball on the floor

Ariana Vanderhoop and Erica Hutchinson battle for a rebound

 

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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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