Tag Archives: Abigail Gillingham

Newburyport edges Triton in back-and-forth thriller 3-2

Sydney Yim and Evelyn Pearson at the net
Emma Campbell finds an opening

(Byfield MA) Triton coach Karen Christian said the game was “probably the highlight of the season,” and her team lost!

The Vikings (5-5) took Newburyport to five games on Wednesday night at Triton.

The Clippers (8-2) extend their win streak to seven. Their last loss was to Triton in March.

Newburyport won the first two games tonight, 25-19 and 25-15.

In those first two, Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) gave Triton trouble serving, setting, and finishing.  Many of her finishes weren’t hard hits but, instead, dropped into open spaces.

Sydney Yim

I started thinking sweep and early evening.

The Vikings had other ideas.

“We flipped the switch in Games 3 & 4 and started making the plays we weren’t making before,” said Mia Berardino afterwards.

Suddenly the Vikings began to look like the team that had defeated the Clippers, 3-1, in March.

Triton took the next two games, 25-13 and 25-17.

The Vikings got off to good starts in both games and rode Newburyport errors to the two wins.

“We weren’t ourselves today,” said Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo post-match.  “but player for player we’ve improve so much.  My frustration is that I didn’t see the team I usually see most of the time.”

The level of play was remarkable at times. Hard hits were not definite winners. 

Both teams had terrific setters (Molly Kimball and Sydney Yim) so there was a steady diet of hard hits provided. 

Kate Sarra gets low

There was a play in Game Four in which both Sydney Yim and Abigail Gillingham launched hard hits, only to have Triton find a way to play on and eventually get the point.

In three of the games, the team with the early lead went on to victory.

That held true in crucial Game Five.  “We were overthinking it a bit early and we fell behind,” said Coach Christian.

The Vikings went down 6-1 and later 14-9. in the fifteen-point, deciding set, before turning on the “not-done-yet” button.

The Clippers struggled with four straight Evelyn Pearson serves and suddenly we had ourselves a 14-13 nail-biter!

Evelyn Pearson

A hard, deep hit by the Clippers was called in, and then it was called out, and then they decided to play it over again.

Fortunate for Triton because an “in” call ends the game.  Fortunate for Newburyport because an “out” call ties the game at 14-14.

“Thank goodness that out-of-bounds play didn’t end it,” said Coach Solazzo afterwards.

Given a second chance to win the game, the Clippers got it done.

Newburyport seniors keyed the set/match winner.  Kate Sarra received the serve and sent it to Sydney Yim.  Sydney set the ball near the net for Abigail Gillingham.  Abigail hit the ball through the Triton defense.

Clippers celebrate winning the match

“Abigail had an amazing game,” said Sydney Yim.  “She has been a huge part of our team this year.”

Abigail Gillingham at the net

“The team buckled down at the end, showed some grit, and pulled this one out,” said Coach Solazzo.

“It certainly had the feel of a championship game to me,” said Coach Christian.  “I would love to see them next week with the same energy.”

There will be a Cape Ann League tournament next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“Triton is a great team,” said Coach Solazzo.  “They’re scrappy.  They played their hearts out.”

Evelyn Pearson: “I’m proud of my team.  We pulled our energy together.  Newburyport was a lot more competitive than the first time we saw them.”

Mia Berardino: “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I’m proud of the way we played.  I think if we play like this we can go far in the playoffs.”

The Clippers ended up undefeated (5-0) on the road. 

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

Sydney Yim and Mia Berardino
Sydney Yim sets
Mia Berardino serves
Mia Berardino spikes
Sydney Yim and Em Hoggard
Abigail Gillingham and Molly Kimball
Evelyn Pearson and Ava Hartley
Mia Berardino blocks Sydney Yim

Leave a comment

Filed under Newburyport, Triton, Uncategorized

Newburyport runs streak to six with 3-1 win versus North Reading

Clippers celebrate another win
Abigail Gillingham and Sarah Gerber

(Newburyport MA) Six straight wins for Newburyport.

Tonight it was a 3-1 win against North Reading on Senior Night.

“It wasn’t our best effort,” said Clippers coach Lori Solazzo afterwards, “but I’m very happy with the win.”

Newburyport (7-2) has a win against every team in the Cape Ann League except Triton.

A rematch between those two teams is scheduled for Wednesday at Triton.

“I’ll be pretty disappointed if we play like we did last time (3-1 loss) against them,” said Newburyport senior Kate Sarra post-match.

Tonight, the sets went; 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, and 25-12.

“We came out slow tonight,” said NR coach Mike Milone.  “We weren’t clicking together very well and didn’t take advantage of their errors.” NR had won two straight.

Sydney Yim makes a hard hit

In Game One, the Hornets (4-5) trailed the entire game but were close to the lead most of the way.  It was 22-19 late but the Clippers wouldn’t give in.  Sophomore Ava Hartley dropped shots in and served well.

Sydney Yim has been noticeably good in every game I’ve seen her play.  No surprise that she’s in D1 Purdue’s plans in volleyball.

It’s not the big hits, although you see a few of them, it’s the steady diet of consistent play.  Some of her setups were so good that you actually wanted to come out of the stands and take a whack at them!

Tonight Sydney had a good eye for open spaces on the North Reading side that were reached with soft shots.

Sophia Messina

In Game Two, the Hornets started strong (9-8 lead) but then the bottom fell out.  With Kate Sarra serving, Newburyport pulled away, 17-10, and NR couldn’t recover.  Sophomore Sophia Messina finished the match with a neat drop shot. 

The third game was the most exciting.  Things were tied at 8-8 before the Hornets, led by Sarah Gerber, gained separation, 21-10.  Newburyport was down, but not out yet.  The Clippers put seven straight points together and suddenly the NR lead was just 23-21.  But the visitors hung tough and a nice hit by the Hornets Celia Standel was the game winner.

“We may have been too cocky in the third set,” said Kate Sarra.  “We had won two sets and just fell apart at the start of the third one.”

Sydney Yim was key in the decisive 4th game.  She set up teammates, especially Abigail Gillingham, and put away shots herself.  A 16-11 Clippers lead was 25-12 at the end.

“We played with them a while,” said Coach Milone.  “We just weren’t able to keep it up.  We should have been playing like a seasoned team, but we weren’t.”

Sydney Yim and Anna Bryk at the net

“Our energy was good tonight,” said Abigail Gillingham afterwards.  “When we got down in the 3rd game, we picked it back up in the 4th.”

“We got the win, but I thought North Reading was scrappier,” said Coach Solazzo.

Sydney Yim (21 assists), Ava Hartley (9 kills), Abigail Gillingham (7 kills), Laney Lucci (5 digs), and Kate Sarra (5 aces) led the Clippers.

Coach Milone: “Sarah Gerber was good tonight.  Her blocking, hitting, and passing were solid.”

The regular Cape Ann League season ends this week.  There will be a tournament next week although there has been nothing official on how many teams will be in the tournament.  Lynnfield with one loss (to Newburyport) and Newburyport with two losses (Lynnfield & Triton) will certainly be playing in it.

Kate Sarra

Coach Milone: “The season has been short and fast.  I am incredibly excited that our eight seniors have been able to have a season.”

Newburyport’s four seniors (Sydney Yim, Laney Lucci, Abigail Gillingham, Kate Sarra) were honored afterwards.

All of the pictures above and below should enlarge if you click on them.

Abigail Gillingham and Anna Bryk
Sarah Gerber sets
Sophia Messina and Viive Godtfredsen with Sarah Gerber
Sydney Yim sets
Anna Bryk spikes
Abigail Gillingham blocks
Ava Hartley
Laney Lucci
Viive Godtfredsen
Anna Bryk and Abby Gerber
Sophia Messina
Team celebrates seniors

Leave a comment

Filed under Newburyport, North Reading

Pentucket avenges earlier loss winning Kinney Division title 34-23 over Newburyport

Pentucket wins the Kinney Division (CAL vs Cancer) tournament

Emma Foley and Arielle Cleveland

Makenna Ward surrounded by Sachems

(Newburyport MA) Just over two weeks ago, Newburyport got the best of Pentucket.

The game was fast, and the points were flowing.

Against most teams, that works in the Sachems favor.  But it didn’t against Newburyport and a 58-54 loss resulted.

“We probably over-coached last time,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara after tonight’s 34-23 win.

“We went back to our basic man-to-man principles for tonight’s game and didn’t do anything fancy,” he explained.  “We just kept kids in front of us.”

The victory won the Kinney Division (CAL vs Cancer) tournament for Pentucket (12-1).

The formerly undefeated Clippers (11-1) were done in by a three-point second quarter and a two-point third quarter.

Mackenzie Currie (11 points) 5-for-7 from the line

After those two scoring famines, Newburyport was behind, 23-13, and could not generate enough offense to make things interesting in the final quarter.

“You have to give Pentucket credit,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “They played harder than we did.”

“It was frustrating to miss so many layups and free throws,” added Coach Grutchfield.

Poor free throw shooting may have been the key to the loss.  The Clippers were only able to make three-of-sixteen from the stripe.

In the win at Pentucket, the Clippers sealed that one by making eight free throws in the final forty seconds.

“A lot of our shots were off tonight,” said senior Abigail Gillingham.  “We haven’t played this way all season.”

The Clippers did start off well.  Sophomore Emma Foley hit two jump shots during an eight-point first-quarter run to put Newburyport in front 8-3.

Arielle Cleveland (10 points) 6-for-10 from the line

Pentucket took the lead, 11-10, in the second quarter after Arielle Cleveland (10 points) cashed two free throws.

Arielle ended the Sachems second-quarter scoring connecting a long pass to Greta Mauer for a layup.

Pentucket’s halftime lead was 16-11.

“We were confident that if we tweaked our defense enough, we could contain them,” said Coach McNamara, “the question was whether we could score enough points.”

The Clippers had been putting up plenty of points all season, so a five-point deficit at halftime seemed like a minor obstacle.

An Abigail Gillingham jumper (from Leah Metsker) made this a one-possession game with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Whether it was poor offense or great defense is speculation.  The fact is that Newburyport didn’t score a point in the final six minutes.

Abigail Gillingham (9 points) shoots over Mackenzie Currie

Pentucket used this time to build up a ten-point lead (23-13) by quarter’s end thanks to an Arielle Cleveland free throw and two other layups from the Sachems senior.

Arielle’s last basket was a runner in the lane just before the quarter ended.

Arielle (10 points) played only four minutes in the first meeting between the two teams.

“It hurt us last time not having Arielle,” said Coach McNamara.  “She can handle the ball and score baskets. We were thrown for a loop a little bit when we lost her last game.”

The Clippers were able to get within six points twice in the final quarter.

“I was proud of the way we kept pushing, even to the end,” said Abigail Gillingham (9 points).

Abigail’s jump shot (assist Jackie Doucette) put Newburyport within six (25-19) with five minutes left.

Abby Dube made the only three of the game

Abby Dube answered for Pentucket (assist Arielle Cleveland) with the only three either team would make during the entire game.

Abigail then had a free throw and a jump shot from the corner (assist Makenna Ward) to narrow things to, 28-22, with three minutes remaining.

Pentucket, however, built their lead back up by getting points on three straight possessions (Audrey Conover free throw, two Mackenzie Currie layups) and shutting out the Clippers during this segment.

The margin was now eleven (33-22) in the closing minute and Pentucket had the victory.

Greta Mauer: “This was our second time playing them.  We had to bring it to them, and we did.”

Greta Mauer lines up a shot

Mackenzie Currie (11 points): “It was hard to turn around from the Lynnfield game yesterday, but we all stepped up in some way.  For a very weird season, it was a good way to go out.”

Coach Grutchfield: “There were no easy shots in this one.  It was a hard one to end on.”

Coach McNamara: “This was only the third time we’ve ended a season with a tournament win.  The other times were state championships.  We have five seniors who contributed so much to the program.”

The Sachems defense limited sophomores Jackie Doucette and Deidre McElhinney to two points each.  In the first meeting, Jackie had twelve and Deidre eleven.

Newburyport box

Pentucket box

The link to this game will be posted on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter).  It also should appear in Mascores.  Pictures should be posted on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea) on Friday.

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

Arielle Cleveland guarded by Jackie Doucette

Makenna Ward drives to the basket

Emma Foley in for two

Anna Affolter in the lane

Audrey Conover elevates to defend

Greta Mauer gets a layup

Gabby Loughran block

Jackie Doucette pressures Arielle Cleveland

Makenna Ward

Emma Foley (7 points)

Audrey Conover and Deidre McElhinney

Mackenzie Currie

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Newburyport, Pentucket

Newburyport stays undefeated with exciting 58-54 win at Pentucket

Newburyport celebrates a rare win over Pentucket

Mackenzie Currie (18 points) heads into the heart of the Newburyport defense

(West Newbury MA) Pentucket doesn’t lose very often at home, or anywhere else, for that matter.

But the visiting Newburyport Clippers got that rare feat done, 58-54, on Wednesday night.

Both teams were undefeated and had large-margin wins over everyone else in the Cape Ann League.

“It was the win of the season for us,” said Newburyport senior Abigail Gillingham (10 points) afterwards. “They don’t expect anyone to come in here and give them a hard time.  We had the mindset that this was our game, and no one was going to take it away from us.”

Both teams were aggressive on offense (taking the ball to the basket) and defense.  There was never a chance that the 30-second shot clock would be used.

Two Mackenzie Currie free throws put the Sachems (7-1) ahead by two, 52-50, with 1:18 left.

“I thought we had enough to win,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara, “after we got the lead but give them credit, they knocked down free throws.”

Not only did Newburyport make free throws (eight in the final forty-four seconds) but even when they missed, they were able to immediately get the ball back and produce points.

Senior Leah Metsker (9 points) made her first attempt, missed the second but got her own rebound and earned two more free throws.  She made both and the Clippers led, 53-52.

Leah Metsker shoots a free throw

After a Pentucket turnover, Deidre McElhinney (11 points) was fouled.  She made the first, missed the second, but the Sachems lost the rebound out of bounds.

Deidre McElhinney shoots free throws

More chances followed for Newburyport at the line.  Leah Metsker made both and now the Clippers were up four, 56-52, with ten seconds left as the game got away from Pentucket.

Deidre McElhinney guarded by Greta Maurer

“I’m glad I could make some clutch shots,” said Leah.  “I tried hard to focus because the gym was so loud.”

“It was such a relief that we could finish it out,” added Deidre.

“Props to Leah and Deidre for making their free throws at the end,” added Abigail Gillingham.

Part of Pentucket’s defensive strategy was limit Abigail’s touches.

“We focused on her and gave up shots to other kids instead,” explained Coach McNamara, “but some of those kids made shots.”

Abigail Gillingham (10 points) guarded by Mackenzie Currie

Abigail didn’t even touch the ball for the first four minutes of the game.

Credit Mackenzie Currie for the tough defense on the NHS top scorer although she had plenty of help from nearby teammates.

Mackenzie led all scorers with eighteen points.  The Pentucket senior (going to St. Joe’s next year) hit two 3’s and went hard to the basket even against multiple defenders.

Sophomore Abby Dube tallied fourteen points including three 3’s.  Her last three was part of a seven-point run in the final quarter that gave Pentucket the 52-50 lead.

A key contributor for NHS was sophomore Jackie Doucette (12 points).  Jackie had a couple of three’s, as well as a full-court drive.

Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield: “It was a nice team win.  I am so happy for Leah.  Shooting under those circumstances is hard, but she did it.  I thought that Emma (Foley) did a good job rebounding and scoring.”

It certainly didn’t help Pentucket to lose their top scorer (Arielle Cleveland) four minutes into the game.

Pentucket coach John McNamara

“Despite not having Arielle available, we still had a chance to win and didn’t,” added Coach McNamara.

Newburyport had lost seven straight to Pentucket dating back to February of 2017.

“We’re so excited to finally beat them,” said Leah.

The Clippers had only four turnovers in the second half while the Sachems had nine.

Jackie Doucette: “We’ve been preparing for Pentucket for a while.  We had a good idea of what they would do.”

Impressed with Pentucket sophomore Audrey Conover.  First time I’ve seen her play.

One of the advantages for coaches is that all of the Cape Ann League games are being filmed for the excluded public.  No need to do any in-person scouting.

Easy to imagine how noisy it would have been if folks could have attended.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

The coverage of this game will be linked on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and be on my McClelland Miscellanea online blog.  Hoping to get it posted on Mascores too.  Pictures should show up on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

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

Lana Mickelson

Jackie Doucette (12 points)

Deidre McElhinney breaks after a steal

Greta Mauer

Gabby Bellacqua, Abby Dube, Makenna Ward

Gabby Loughran

Deidre McElhinney passes out of a double-team

Abby Dube (14 points)

Mackenzie Currie

Audrey Conover and Deidre McElhinney

Emma Lopata

Deidre McElhinney

Mackenzie Currie puts Pentucket up by two

Jackie Doucette (12 points) shoots from long range

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Newburyport, Pennridge

Undefeated Newburyport defeats Amesbury 46-18 led by Abigail Gillingham’s 20 points

Newburyport Clippers are undefeated after six games

Amesbury’s Avery Hallinan (11) looks for someone to pass to.

Abigail Gillingham (20 points)

(Newburyport MA) This was not a good matchup.

Amesbury was overwhelmed by Newburyport, 46-18, on Tuesday night at NHS.

The Indians faced undefeated Newburyport with only three days of practice, thanks to a ruling by the Amesbury School Committee.

The Clippers, now 6-0, could easily be the best team in the Cape Ann League.  They have been together for weeks and their play on both ends of the court shows it.

In this game, Newburyport passed its way to high percentage shots while defending Amesbury into low percentage shots.

Abigail Gillingham (20 points) was a game-long problem for the Indians.  Neither their perimeter defense nor their inside defense was effective enough to slow down the Clippers.

Avery Hallinan tries to cover Abigail Gillingham in close

“Abigail Gillingham was very good tonight,” admitted Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos afterwards, “but we didn’t battle the post.  We gave her all the positioning she wanted.”

Even when the Clippers missed shots in close there were teammates on hand to cash rebounds.

“Abigail did a great job of getting her body in the paint and we made really good passes to her,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.

Amesbury’s defensive struggles on the interior eliminated Newburyport’s need to rely on long-range shots and they took very few.

The Clippers gained separation 24-12 at halftime and Abigail had fifteen of Newburyport’s points.

Clippers interior defense

The Clippers defense truly made things tough for the visitors later on and they could only get six points in the entire second half. There were very few clean looks from anyplace for the Indians all night long.

“Our defense is the key to everything we do,” explained Abigail afterwards.  “Amesbury had trouble with our 1-2-2 press.”

“Our passing wasn’t good at all,” explained Coach Dollos.  “There were just too many individual things going on out there.”

It all came down to a well-organized team facing a team just getting used to being together.

Block by Liv DeLong

The Indians have two days to prepare for their home opener Friday versus Lynnfield. The time together should help them to improve.

“Amesbury has good kids and they’re physical,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “We were fortunate to catch them when we did.”

Deidre McElhinney had nine points for Newburyport while Avery Hallinan paced the Indians with ten points.

Newburyport box

Amesbury box

Interesting to see Amesbury’s Alyssa Pettet trying basketball her senior year.  She’ll be playing soccer for Holy Cross in the fall.

Newburyport seniors

Newburyport’s two seniors (Abigail Gillingham & Leah Metsker) were honored after the game.

This story/pictures will appear on my online blog (McClelland Miscellanea).  The link to the game with be on Twitter (mcclellandpeter).  Mascores has also been posting my entries.  There should be pictures showing up on Instagram (McclellandMiscellanea) over the next few days.

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

Newburyport triple-team

Alyssa Pettet gets to the basket

Gabby Redford tied up by Gabby Loughran and Makenna Ward

Jackie Doucette guards Gabby Redford

Abigail Gillingham jump shot in the lane

Deidre McElhinney (9 points) to the rim

Leah Metsker

Liv DeLong guards Abigail Gillingham

Mary Bullis

Metskers

Gillinghams

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Newburyport

Abigail Gillingham (17 points) leads Newburyport by Ipswich 39-24 in CAL opener

Senior Abigail Gillingham (17 pts) led all scorers

Leah Metsker and Gabby Loughran trap Ava Horsman

(Newburyport MA)  The Newburyport Clippers were good defensively all night.

The offense took a while to kick in.

But when it did, the visiting Ipswich Tigers were in trouble and fell to the Clippers, 39-24, on Tuesday night at NHS in the Cape Ann League opener for both teams.

Senior Abigail Gillingham (17 points) collected nine points in Newburyport’s game-turning, 16-point unanswered streak in the second half.

Jennie Tarr’s shot-clock buzzer beater had the Tigers within one, 21-20, with 1 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.

Riley Daly drew plenty of Newburyport attention

Ipswich coach Chris Tolios was pleased with the rally: “The girls played hard.  We went into the final quarter only down three points against one of the best teams in the Cape Ann League.”

And the Tiger’s top returning scorer (Riley Daly) hadn’t scored a point yet!

“We had missed a ton of shots,” explained Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.  “I don’t think that our shot selection was great.  We didn’t take what they gave us.”

None of that had to do with the 4th quarter, however.

The Clippers began to make shots and make it look easy.

Newburyport huddle

“When things got ugly, we did recover,” admitted Coach Grutchfield.

The Clippers made shots inside and outside and Ipswich couldn’t match them down the other end.

Key basket (Abigail Gillingham) in the sixteen-point streak was scored after three straight, offensive putbacks.

Sydney Turner’s layup from Makenna Ward ended the NHS run five minutes into the 4th period with the score now, 37-20.

The Clippers defense was tough throughout.

“Our team strength is our lockdown defense,” explained Abigail.  Newburyport has length and allowed few open shots from anywhere.

Emma Foley steals from Riley Daly

It seemed as if almost every Ipswich possession in the first half had Coach Chris Tolios counting down the final seconds so that the Tigers would get off a shot before the thirty-second clock went off.

Ipswich was quicker on offense in the second half and that was how they rallied to make things interesting in the third quarter.

“Newburyport made plays at the end that we couldn’t make,” added Coach Tolios.

Coach Grutchfield was pleased with the win but added, “offensively we’ve got a lot of work to do against zone defenses.”

It wasn’t hard to miss the novelty of the situation.  The doors were locked. There were no spectators.  Everyone had a mask on.  There were some rule adjustments especially on free throws.

Maddie Duffy gets off a shot for Ipswich

The game was extremely quick.  I think it lasted just an hour.  I think that half-time was five minutes long and the teams didn’t leave the court.

There was a bigger picture.

Coach Tolios: “At the end of the day we were playing basketball.  We’re lucky to be here.”

Abigail Gillingham: “All of us have made the decision that we have to make the most of what we’ve got.  We’re grateful that we even get to play.  We’ll work through the rules and make something great out of it.”

Newburyport box

Ipswich box

(The story and pictures will be posted on Mascores and the link to it on Twitter.  May post some pictures on Instagram.)

The pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.

Referee

Makenna Ward

Ipswich coach Chris Tolios

Battle under the basket

Jennie Tarr

Freshman Olivia McDonald set to play defense

Deidre McElhinney

Ava Horsman eyes the hoop with Brela Pavao defending

Jennie Tarr beats the 30-second clock with a three

Jackie Doucette looks to pass

Abigail Gillingham was hot from the outside

Riley Daly

Maddie Richard defends Jackie Doucette

Battle for the ball

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Ipswich, Newburyport