Tag Archives: Abby Gillingham

Cheyenne Nessinger scores 25 points but Newburyport defeats Danvers 48-37

Sadie Vandenberg tries to deny Cheyenne Nessinger (25 points) the ball

Abby Gillingham (12 points) shoots over Maddie Montanari

(Danvers MA) Cheyenne Nessinger was awesome tonight.

But Newburyport had the balance to offset Cheyenne’s big game and downed Danvers, 48-37, in the opening round of the Gieras Memorial Games.

The Clippers will face Reading in the title game tomorrow night.

Cheyenne had twenty-five points, twelve rebounds, and five blocks to literally carry Danvers on her back.

Cheyenne seemed as surprised as anyone regarding her special night: “I can’t explain the good game. We did have a shoot-around this morning and that probably helped.”

The Clippers (12-7) broke away from a close game (21-20) late in the first half while Cheyenne was on the bench.

While the Falons (10-9) went scoreless during the final 2 ½ minutes of the half, the Clippers put up nine straight points thanks to Deidre McElhinney (15 points) and Abby Gillingham (12 points).

Deidre’s part was a three and two free throws.

Deidre McElhinney (15 points) at the free throw line

Abby’s part was a jump shot (assist Jackie Doucette) and a nice put-back seconds before the halftime buzzer sounded.

Newburyport’s halftime lead was 30-20.

The Falcons were down 40-26 in the closing seconds of the third quarter but Sabrina Auciello drilled a three to give Danvers hope as they entered the final period.

Anna Affolter and Reese Pszenny

A free throw and a layup by Cheyenne Nesseinger and a layup by Kristina Yebba started things on a positive note for the Falcons in the final period. They were within six (40-34) with four minutes left.

The home team continued to stay close (43-37) with 1 ½ minutes left after Kristina Yebba dropped in a three-pointer.

But those would be the last points Danvers would score.

Key steal by Sami Cavanaugh along with a blocked shot by Makenna Ward protected the shrinking lead and helped earn the Clippers a win.

Newburyport had nine different players score points.

The Clippers guards were able to pressure the Danvers guards enough to limit their passes inside. That made perfect sense because it seemed that every time Cheyenne had the ball inside she scored.

Makenna Ward passes

Coach Crutchfield: “We had lots of contributions off the bench. Deidre had a good game tonight. Emma Foley helped us a lot off the bench. Makenna was composed and played tough defense.”

Deidre McElhinney: “We were looking for our offense tonight. When they got within six we had stop that run and end their momentum.”

Sami Cavanaugh: “I don’t think that the Danvers girl saw me. That was why I was able to steal it. I am committed to Holy Cross. I am interested in law. I expect to play club sports.”

This two-day tournament is the result of the love Danvers coach Pat Veilleux had for his friend Ed Gieras. Pat wanted to create a memory of his friend and has succeeded nicely.

Danvers box

Newburyport box

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

Cheyenne Nessinger at the line

Cheyenne Nessinger was money in close

Deidre McElhinney defends

Deidre McElhinney in the middle of Falcons

Gabby Chisholm with the ball

Jackie Doucette gets a rebound

Jackie Doucette in a trap

Julia Vaillancourt and Anna Affolter

Sami Cavanaugh

Sami Cavanaugh and Makenna Ward reach in

Sydney Turner looks to pass

 

 

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Lynnfield’s fast start leads to 44-35 win over Newburyport

Abby Gillingham and Tori Morelli

Grace Klonsky in alone

(Newburyport MA) That’s what finishing strong looks like.

The Lynnfield Pioneers ended the regular season with a win and have a nine-game winning streak going.

They defeated Newburyport, 44-35, tonight.

“We usually shoot well in the first half,” said Lynnfield coach Peter Bocchino post-game.

They certainly did that tonight.

Caroline Waisnor (8 points) took the opening tip in for a layup and the Pioneers (13-6) were on their way.

Deidre McElhinney looks for someone to pass to.

It took the Clippers (10-7) four minutes to score (Deidre McElhinney free throw) and even with that point Newburyport trailed 10-1.

The Lynnfield defense (3-2 zone) eliminated open looks.

“The girls have really stepped up defensively,” said Coach Bocchino. “We’re long and some of our length is athletic.”

The Clippers were denied layups and faced contested shots from elsewhere. They only made one three all night.

Sophomore Riley Hallahan drained two 3’s early in the second period and by the end of that period the Pioneers led, 30-15.

Kate MacDonald led all scorers with sixteen points. The sophomore had ten of them in the breakaway first half.

The Clippers are a tall team.

Riley Hallahan hit two 3’s in the second quarter

“They have a good defense and a lot of tall girls to block shots,” explained Tori Morelli afterwards. “We moved the ball quickly and that is what got us our good shots.”

“We run a continuity offense,” said Coach Bocchino. “Everybody has a chance to touch the ball, use a screen, and make cuts. We ended up with some layups out of it.”

While Lynnfield had layups, the Clippers were relegated to tougher shooting opportunities.

Newburyport’s best moments were early in the second half. Down by fifteen (30-15) the Clippers dominated the first 2 ½ minutes putting together seven straight points. Freshman Makenna Ward made a layup and then set up senior Sami Cavanaugh for a three. Deidre McElhinney added a nice pass to set up senior Sadie Vandenberg in close.

Makenna Ward

The run of points closed Newburyport to 30-22 but they could only tally two points over the final 5 ½ minutes of the same quarter.

The Clippers didn’t go away in the second half, in fact they outscored Lynnfield 20-14, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the disastrous first half.

“We work really hard on our offense and it has started to click the last few games,” said Melissa Morelli.

One word I would use to describe the Lynnfield approach to offense would be “patient.” They were content to pass the ball around the perimeter and wait for openings in closer to the basket. Their screens worked well against Newburyport’s man-to-man defenders.

Abby Gillingham (13 points) looks to shoot over Cate MacDonald

I was impressed with Lynnfield point guard Grace Klonsky. She handled backcourt pressure efficiently. She also blocked several Clipper shots. “She’s pretty energetic and plays great defense,” said Coach Bocchino.

Abby Gillingham (13 points) led Newburyport in scoring.

Tori Morelli had ten points for Lynnfield while Caroline Waisnor and Riley Hallahan both added eight points.

The Clippers had twenty-two turnovers including thirteen in the first half. Many of the miscues were on attempts to pass either into the zone or over the zone.

The Pioneers last loss was on January 22nd to Arlington.

Grace Klonsky

Lynnfield will have to wait a week + before they play again. Newburyport has games this week.

Newburyport seniors (Sadie Vandenberg, Sami Cavanaugh, Jess Rousseau) were honored pre-game.

In their first meeting (January 3rd) the Pioneers won, 53-44.

I talked to the Morelli twins post-game and they said that they had never won at Newburyport before tonight.

Cate MacDonald was a Cape Ann League first-team All-Star last year as a freshman.

Lynnfield is in Division 3. One-loss Amesbury and St. Mary’s (Lynn) are also in the D3 North. The Lynnfield I saw tonight might be able to upset either or both of them in the tournament.

The Pioneers finished 13-7 last year and now stand at 13-6 this year so far. The five years prior to those two fine seasons? 5-52! Talk about a program getting turned around!

Lynnfield box

Newburyport box

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

Deidre McElhinney in for two

Deidre McElhinney looks to pass by Cate MacDonald

Grace Klonsky and Sami Cavanaugh

Grace Klonsky catches an inbounds pass

Jackie Doucette shoots against Melissa Morelli

Jackie Doucette trapped by Ava Buonfiglio and Grace Klonsky

Melissa Morelli and Elle Doucette

Melissa Morelli looks to pass

Sadie Vandenberg

Sami Cavanaugh defends

Sydney Turner

Sami Cavanaugh

Sadie Vandenberg

Jess Rosseau

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport’s fast start enough to defeat Haverhill 47-35

Lindsay Joulbert faces tight defense by Jackie Doucette.

Makenna Ward (14) moves quickly after a Haverhill turnover

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport had the defensive heat on high from the get-go and gained permanent separation early against Haverhill.

The Monday night non-league game was an unsavory 47-35 loss for the Hillies.

“That was not Haverhill basketball you saw out there,” explained a disappointed HHS coach Melissa Tarpy afterwards.  “We didn’t play basic basketball.”

It certainly didn’t help the Hillies (3-6) that Merrimack Valley League All-Star McKayla Dingle was not in uniform.

“We were missing a player but that is no excuse,” added Coach Tarpy.  “Teams step up in those situations and we didn’t.”

The Clippers (6-2) turned full-court man-to-man defense into ten Haverhill turnovers and a nineteen-point first quarter. Haverhill never recovered from the 19-7 deficit.

Sami Cavanaugh covers Kya Burdier (9 points)

“We got turnovers and layups,” said Sami Cavanaugh afterwards.

Sometimes turnovers merely change possession.  The Clippers had the kind that led to points.

“If our defense is strong, everything else is dictated by that,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We’ll never win a game with that many turnovers,” added Coach Tarpy.

The home team started the second quarter with two more hoops (Abby Gillingham layup from Sadie Vandenberg, Deirdre McElhinney steal and layin).  The Clippers’ advantage became, 23-7, and had me wondering why I thought this might be a competitive game!

The rest of the way, however, was competitive.  Haverhill outscored Newburyport 28-24 in the remaining twenty-three minutes of action, but the closest the Hillies would get to the lead was, 35-28, in the first minute of the final quarter.

Newburyport immediately answered by getting baskets when, first Makenna Ward, and then Ann Affolter, got the ball in to 6-3 Abby Gillingham on the block.  Abby was able to turn and get consecutive layups against out-sized opponents.

Makenna Ward sends a bounce pass to Abby Gillingham

Abby gets good positioning to receive a pass in close

Abby (14 points) gets a layup

“We have tall forwards,” said Sami.  “It was important to get the ball in to them because Haverhill couldn’t match up with them.”

Kya Burdier set to block Sami Cavanaugh’s shot

Sami added two free throws to run the Clippers consecutive-point total to six and boosted their margin to thirteen (41-28).  The NHS defense kept Haverhill from getting inside of double figures over the final five minutes.

The Clippers had one turnover in the breakaway first quarter but fifteen more (by my count) after that.  “We turned the ball over a lot,” said Coach Grutchfield, “and that helped them get back into the game.”

Against North Reading, last Wednesday, the Clippers struggled to get the ball inside without losing possession.  Much better job tonight.

Neither team did themselves any favors at the free throw line; Newburyport (8/18) & Haverhill (9/26).

Senior Leandra Kwo led HHS with thirteen points.  Sophomore Kya Burdier added nine points.

Deirdre McElhinney (9 points) looks to pass

Abby Gillingham (14 points) led all scorers.  A jumper from the corner was part of her collection of points.  Freshman Deirdre McElhinney added nine points including a triple.

Coach Grutchfield: “We have good depth.  We did a good job of getting the ball inside to Abby.  It was good to see Makenna (Ward) looking for her shot tonight.”

Coach Tarpy: “It was probably one of the worst games we’ve played defensively.  We’ve got more than half the season left.  We will also face Newburyport again.”

Haverhill is a D1 team from the Merrimack Valley Conference.  The Hillies had their best season in sixteen years last year when they were 16-6 and won a tournament game.  Haverhill was 17-62 in the four seasons before last year.

Kya Burdier was All-MVC last season.  Leandra Kwo was an Lawrence Eagle-Tribune All-Star in the same season.

Newburyport box

Haverhill box

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

Abby Gillingham sets a screen for Sami Cavanaugh

Anna Affolter

Christina Firek

Deirdre McElhinney drives right

Opening tip

Sami Cavanaugh

Sami Cavanaugh gets by Haley Phillips

Carli Quinlan

fight for possession

Jackie Doucette

Kya Burdier in for two

On the floor

 

 

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Triton volleyball sweeps Newburyport 3-0 in rematch

Colleen McCarthy (5), Mia Berardino (13), and Caitie Rooney (15) had big games for Triton

Newburyport seniors honored before the match

(Newburyport MA) Call it the curse of Senior Night if you will.

The Clippers celebrated their seniors and then lost three straight sets to rival Triton on Monday night in Cape Ann League volleyball.

“It was extremely disappointing,” said NHS coach Lori Solazzo afterwards.  “We didn’t come out the way we usually do.”

Evelyn Pearson

The Vikings (4-12) took advantage of Newburyport subpar play in game one as they broke an 8-8 tie with ten straight points.  Evelyn Pearson was the server for Triton during the run.  Caitie Rooney tipped in several winners for the Vikings. The Clippers (4-13) lost the first set, 25-12.

The second set was much more competitive after Triton raced off 22-14.  Paige Volpone and Colleen McCarthy paced the Vikings to what looked like a comfortable spread.  But sophomore Abby Gillingham served the home team into contention and forced a Triton timeout.  The Clippers would get to within a point (24-23) on big plays by Melaina Lucci and Sydney Yim.  The visitors nailed down the final point after a lengthy, exciting volley to grab the second set 25-23.

Sophomore server Sydney Yim carried the Clippers to leads of 10-4 and 21-13 in the third set.

Abby Gillingham up to block

“We didn’t give up even though down 21-13 in the third set,” recalled Triton coach Bob Van Etten.  “We just picked away and came back and took it.”

The Vikings put nine unanswered points together and after a Colleen McCarthy winner led, 22-21.  An Abby Gillingham block gave Newburyport the serve with a 24-23 deficit but again after a long volley the Vikings gained the point they needed to win the set and the match.

Viking captain Caitie Rooney was excited about the win.  “A win over Port is always a big win.  Everyone stepped up especially Mia (Berardino), Evelyn (Pearson), and Colleen (McCarthy).  Those were our hitters and they played like out of the park tonight.”

Coach Van Etten: “It was very much a team effort but Caitie Rooney had an outstanding match.”

Coach Solazzo: “We let them in several times, point by point.  Volleyball is such a team sport that you have to trust that your teammate will be where they’re supposed to be.  Once that trust gets lost it gets into your head and you fall apart a little.”

Caitie Rooney serves

The Vikings and the Clippers met previously on October 1st.  Triton took that one 3-1.  “It was a close match that could have gone either way,” recalled Coach Van Etten.

Newburyport is in its second season of volleyball.  Last year the brand-new Clippers finished 1-15.  Their win?  The last game of the season against Triton.  Excited?  “It was a five-set match and it was like winning the World Series for us,” said Coach Solazzo.

Full disclosure.  This was the first volleyball game I have ever covered.  If you’re looking for digs, reception errors etc., you’ve come to the wrong place.  Even taking pictures was a challenge because the game is very fast, and the players closest had their backs to me.  It was an adventure for sure, but I enjoyed it.

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

Triton wins the match

Triton wins a set

Abby Gillingham blocks

Caitie Rooney

Clippers coach Lori Solazzo

Colleen McCarthy

Colleen McCarthy serves

Jess Rosseau (8)

Julianne Heath

Julia Vachon (9) blocks Linda Freeman (26)

Julia Vachon

Kalli Doyle and Grace Shelley

Maggie Bowen

Paige Volpone

Senior Skylar Sneider

Sydney Yim (15), Melaina Lucci (5), and Abby Gillingham (15)

 

 

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