Tag Archives: Alex Moore

Archbishop Williams defeats Pentucket 52-38 to reach state Division 3 finals

Coley Viselli faces defender Alana Gilmer

Coley Viselli faces defender Alana Gilmer

Archbishop Williams - state Division 3 finalists

Archbishop Williams – state Division 3 finalists

(Boston) The Boston Globe had Archbishop Williams as the second-best team in the state behind Reading before today’s state semi-finals.

The #7 seed Archies (22-5) looked awfully good in their, 52-38, Division Three state semi-finals win over Pentucket at the TD Garden on Monday afternoon.

When I learned that Reading had been beaten by Medfield later today in the Division 2 semifinals, I think that it is safe to say that Archbishop Williams is now the best in the East in all divisions.

Lee will be the Archies’ opponent on Saturday at the Worcester Centrum (10:45AM) for the state Division Three title.  Just to caution the overconfident in the East: the Lee girls basketball program has won more state titles than any school in Massachusetts.

Alana Gilmer (12 points)

Alana Gilmer (12 points)

The Bishops were able to gain separation (18-9) from the Sachems with a ten-point run in the last three minutes of the first quarter.  A new three (Kayla Free), a converted rebound (Alana Gilmer), an old-fashioned three (Leah Spencer), and a layup at the buzzer (Jaylen Williams) provided the decisive 10-spot.

The Sachems (24-2) chased the Archies the rest of the afternoon. The undersized girls from West Newbury were within four (20-16) in the second quarter and five (28-23) in the third quarter.

The Sachems had their best moments in the final quarter when their pressing defense forced two turnovers and four quick points (two Kelsi McNamara free throws and Tess Nogueira layup from Kelsi).  Pentucket was suddenly within six (40-34) with six minutes left.

Those who have seen Pentucket play, envisioned the start of a big run and an interesting finish.  Didn’t happen.  Sara Ryan answered with a three.  Kelsi followed with two free throws. That put the difference at seven (43-36).

Pentucket then went into a five-minute scoring drought that sealed their fate.  During the same time frame, Archbishop Williams added eight points to their lead (51-36), and the reserves from both sides finished the last minute.  Jaylen Williams tallied from in close twice and Leah Spencer and Katryna Veasey had the other baskets in the late-game run.

There were few easy baskets at any time for Pentucket.  6-3 sophomore Jaylen Williams patrolled the lane on defense and the usual drives of the Sachems were discouraged.

Leah Spencer did a good job of keeping Kelsi McNamara (13 points) from getting looks at 3-point attempts.  Kelsi had only one three in the game.

6-3 Jaylen Williams

6-3 Jaylen Williams

Sophomore 6-footer Alana Gilmer (12 points) put the defensive blanket over Coley Viselli (3 points).  Just getting by Alana was difficult for the talented Pentucket senior and there was always 6-3 Jaylen Williams ready to pick up the defensive slack if Coley was driving.

If you had to narrow Pentucket’s twenty-four wins down to two reasons, I would say that one was being able to force turnovers that lead to quick points and the other was making three’s.  Neither one of those went the Sachems way on this day.

By my count, Pentucket had fourteen turnovers and the Archies only ten turnovers.  Only one of the Archie miscues led to a quick Pentucket basket.

The Sachems made only three long ones.  They really had trouble, because of the Archbishop Williams’ height, getting open looks even from long range.

Coley Viselli was injured early in the second quarter but came back before halftime.

At the end of the game, four seniors (Emily Dresser, Coley Viselli, Tess Nogueira, and Alex Moore) had ended their Pentucket hoop careers.

arpe A13 Emily, Coley, Tess, Alex

During Coach John McNamara’s seven seasons with Pentucket, the team has always been able to reload the following season despite graduation losses.  Don’t bet against it happening again.

Plenty of support on hand at the TD Garden for both teams.

I continue to wonder why those in charge of the chanting student sections don’t discourage them from taunting each other.  Directing positive chants toward their own team would make a lot more sense and create fewer hard feelings………but what do I know?

Archbishop Williams boxscore

Pentucket boxscore

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

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) drives on Leah Spencer

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) drives on Leah Spencer

Alex Moore gets her shot blocked by Sara Ryan

Alex Moore gets her shot blocked by Sara Ryan

Tess Nogueira was six-for-six from the line

Tess Nogueira was six-for-six from the line

Coley Viselli heads for the hoop

Coley Viselli heads for the hoop

McKenna Kilian gets into the lane

McKenna Kilian gets into the lane

Tess Nogueira reacts to her 5th foul

Tess Nogueira reacts to her 5th foul

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Pentucket defeats Watertown 38-24 to win Division 3 North title

Pentucket - Division 3 North champs

Pentucket – Division 3 North champs

Coley Viselli (15 points) fires from long range

Coley Viselli (15 points) fires from long range

(Lowell)  Some will call it great defense.  Some will call it very, very cold shooting.

Take your pick, Pentucket overwhelmed Watertown, 38-24, to win the Division 3 North title on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Center.

The Sachems will face Archbishop Williams (Braintree) at the TD Bank Garden on Monday in a state Division 3 semifinals battle.

Pentucket (24-1) was never behind against the Raiders (13-11).

After a 3-2 start (Kelsi McNamara three & Rachel Campbell layup), this game got away from Watertown completely over the next nine minutes of playing time stretching into the second period.

The Sachems ran off fifteen unanswered points and were ahead, 18-2, before Rachel Campbell made a free throw.

It is not unusual for Pentucket (#1 seed) to put runs of points together off of turnovers but that wasn’t the case here.  Simply explained: Pentucket made shots and Watertown didn’t.

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) hit a three on the first Pentucket possession

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) hit a three in the first Pentucket possession

The Sachem points in this run were spread around.  Kelsi McNamara (15 points) had a three and a floater in the lane.  Coley Viselli (15 points) nailed a three and two driving layups.  Alex Moore added a free throw and a layup.

Much of the credit for the nine-minute shutout goes to Pentucket’s half-court defense. The Raiders had little trouble in the backcourt because of point guard Gabby Coppola’s dribbling skills.  The frontcourt was a different story.  Watertown had very few good looks and had to settle for heavily-defended shot attempts.

Alex Moore and later Kelsi McNamara forced the Raiders top scorer (Gabby Coppola) to be a passer by denying her open looks from the outside and keeping the talented junior from driving.

There were six minutes of first half and the entire second half played after the 18-2 start, but on this day, Watertown couldn’t get enough stops or enough made shots to challenge the defending D3 champs.

looking for a rebound

looking for a rebound

The Raiders (#11 seed) actually “won” the last twenty-two minutes, 22-20, but it was too little, too late for Watertown.

The Raiders’ drought during those devastating nine minutes in the first half was so noticeable that the Pentucket student section cheered (insincerely) when Rachel Campbell ended the 15-point run with a free throw.

Kelsi McNamara hit two 3’s in the first three minutes and had ten of her fifteen points in the first half.  Her defense on Gabby Coppola, when Alex Moore didn’t have her, may have been more valuable than her point totals.

Coley Viselli connected twice from long range and was able to get to the basket three times on scoring drives.  The senior became a 1000-point scorer recently in a win over Division 1 Central Catholic.

Kelsi McNamara drives on Gabby Coppola

Kelsi McNamara drives on Gabby Coppola

Kelsi McNamara appeared fully recovered from the calf injury she suffered against Ipswich in the D3 North semifinals.  Kelsi went out in this game, with two minutes left, holding her elbow.

Alex Moore had short minutes after hurting her wrist falling during a drive to the basket in the first half.

As I mentioned earlier, turnovers were not a factor.  Pentucket had fourteen and Watertown ten.

The foul shooting by both teams was pitiful.  The Sachems missed five in eight attempts while the Raiders missed ten in fourteen attempts.

The Pentucket defense held Gabby Coppola to four points on 1-for-8 in field goal attempts.

You watch Pentucket play and wonder when their domination (93-11 over the past four years) will end.  Maybe not so soon.  Two sophomores start (Kelsi McNamara and McKenna Kilian) and in this game there were significant minutes for junior Sydney Snow, sophomore Sarah Wiles, and freshman Riley Holden.

Rachel Campbell and Riley Holden

Rachel Campbell and Riley Holden

Typical of Pentucket was a lack of jumping up-and-down and rushing the court after the win.  You could hardly tell afterwards whether they had won or lost!  I suspect that they’re saving that post-game excitement for the next game on Monday afternoon.

Rachel Campbell paced the Watertown scorers with seven points.

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

Coley Viselli gets in for two

Coley Viselli gets in for two

Sydney Snow (#3)

Sydney Snow (#3)

Gabby Coppola

Gabby Coppola

Pentucket coaching staff

Pentucket coaching staff

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Strong finish gets Pentucket past Ipswich 46-26 in Division 3 North semifinals

Alex Moore lines up a free throw.  The Sachems made sixteen in the second half.

Alex Moore lines up a free throw. The Sachems made sixteen in the second half.

Coley Viselli (13 points) defends against Julia Davis

Coley Viselli (13 points) defends against Julia Davis

(Beverly)  Pentucket never seems to run out of ways to defeat other teams.  Credit defense and foul shooting as keys to the win over Ipswich.

The Sachems (23-1) broke away from a tight three-point game (27-24) in the last minute of the third quarter and won their Division 3 North semifinal match with Ipswich, 46-26, on Wednesday night at Beverly High School.

Pentucket will face Watertown in the D3 North finals at the Tsongas Center on Saturday.

If you did the math, you now know that Pentucket, over the last nine minutes of this contest, put a 19-2 collection of points on the Tigers.

In fact, the last Ipswich points were registered by Julia Davis (jump shot in the lane) with 7:13 left in the game.

Kelsi McNamara crowds Jenna Gagnon

Kelsi McNamara crowds Jenna Gagnon

This was a terribly frustrating outing for a very good Ipswich (19-4) team.  They were victimized by turnovers (sixteen by my count) in the first half, put some points together in the third quarter to get to within one possession, and then couldn’t make a shot over the final nine minutes.

The Pentucket pressure defense had plenty to do with the turnovers and the poor shooting.  Masey Zegarowski (15 PPG) and Caroline Soucy (10 PPG) saw plenty of defense, especially Masey from Alex Moore.  Masey was held to five points and Caroline six points.

The Sachems’ shooting was scary bad in the first half.  They had plenty of looks but were missing shots they usually make.  They also had Tess Nogueira get into foul trouble and have to sit through much of the second period.

Pentucket led 7-5 after one quarter and 15-12 at the half.

Julia Davis, Caroline Soucy, and Masey Zegarowski

Julia Davis, Caroline Soucy, and Masey Zegarowski

The Tigers took the lead (17-15) early in the third quarter on a three by Caroline Soucy and a jump shot by Julia Davis.

Now the defending state champs were behind and to add to their trouble had Kelsi McNamara (13 points) on the bench with a sore knee.  You started to think that this might be the night that the Tigers would take down Pentucket.

But it didn’t happen.  Coley Viselli (13 points) took over Kelsi’s point guard spot and Pentucket started taking the ball to the basket.  There were some layups but more important to the final outcome, there were eighteen, second-half free throws.

The Sachems were 16-of-18 from the charity stripe in the second half and that may well have been the difference maker.  The Tigers were forced outside by outstanding defense and shot poorly and had only four free throws all game.

Kelsi McNamara went out early in the third quarter but came back later to start Pentucket on the 19-2 closing surge.

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) dribbles and Brigid OFlynn chases

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) dribbles and Brigid OFlynn chases

Kelsi had both of Pentucket’s three’s.

During the game, Ipswich struck from long range five times –  Jenna Gagnon (2), Caroline Soucy (2), and Masey Zegarowski (1).

Alex Moore totaled nine points and McKenna Kilian eight points for Pentucket.

Sophomore Caroline Soucy paced Ipswich with eight points including two long ones.

This was the second time that Ipswich has faced Pentucket in tournament action.  Last year it was in the North finals at the Tsongas Center.   In that one, the Sachems ran twenty unanswered points in the second half and a 14-10 game turned into a 34-10 rout as Pentucket won, 49-30.

Ipswich student section

Ipswich student section

The play of both teams was unusually bad in the first half.  Why?  May have been that both teams had to function on offense in front of the other team’s very active student section.

Pentucket played Saturday’s opponent (Watertown) at Pentucket in the First Round two years ago.  The Sachems overwhelmed the young Red Raiders, 52-22, on that occasion.

Watertown was able to eliminate St. Mary’s (62-61) last night.  St. Mary’s won the D3 state title two years ago.  They eliminated Pentucket that year on the way to the championship.  I am sure that no tears were shed in West Newbury when word came of St. Mary’s exit from this year’s tournament.

Pentucket Boxscore

Ipswich Boxscore

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

Alex Moore lines up a three

Alex Moore lines up a three

loose ball

loose ball

Mine!

Mine!

Brigid OFlynn and Tess Nogueira

Brigid OFlynn and Tess Nogueira

Kelsi McNamara with the trainer afterwards

Kelsi McNamara with the trainer afterwards

Masey Zegarowski guarded by Alex Moore

Masey Zegarowski guarded by Alex Moore

Julia Davis

Julia Davis

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Pentucket wins 18th defeating Newburyport 60-29 in girls basketball

Kelsi McNamara (12 points) breaks clean to the basket

Kelsi McNamara (12 points) breaks clean to the basket

Coley Viselli (10 points) gets an open three

Coley Viselli (10 points) gets an open three

(Newburyport) Normally it’s the pressure defense that gets you when you face the Pentucket Sachems.

Not so tonight.  It was an on-fire Pentucket offense.

Newburyport (10-7) had no defensive answers and were defeated, 60-29, by the defending Division 3 state champs on Tuesday night in Cape Ann League action.

The girls from West Newbury took great care of the ball (three turnovers in the first half) and made shots from everywhere.

Pentucket (18-1) had the long ball going early.  Four minutes into the first quarter three different Sachems (Alex Moore, Kelsi McNamara, and Coley Viselli) clicked from downtown.  That barrage of 3-point offense helped put the Clippers behind, 13-2, and there was no recovery.

The visitors closed the quarter with yet another three (Alex Moore) and two Tess Nogueira layups and the rout was on, 24-7, after one period.

Tess Nogueira (10 points) gets loose inside

Tess Nogueira (10 points) gets loose inside

It was one of those games where no matter what defense NHS coach Greg Dollas tried ran into trouble.  He used a zone and Pentucket made three’s.  He played man-to-man and the Sachems blew past one-on-one defenders for easy layups.  It was a defensive nightmare for the Clippers, plain and simple.

In the second quarter the 3’s were key in another Pentucket run of points.  With the score, 28-10, after three minutes, the Sachems put a 10-2 package in place over the next four minutes.  Three-pointers by Alex and Coley as well as layups by Coley and McKenna Kilian provided the points.  The Sachem advantage was extended to, 38-12, in the process, with a minute left.

The rest of the game was played mostly by reserves on both teams.  Pentucket only had a 22-16 edge during the rest of the game but that was probably little consolation to anyone connected to the Newburyport program.

All of the Pentucket starters reached double figures in limited minutes: Kelsi McNamara (12), Alex Moore (11), Tess Nogueira (10), Coley Viselli (10), and McKenna Kilian (10).

Emily Pettigrew blocks the shot of Coley Viselli

Emily Pettigrew blocks the shot of Coley Viselli

Newburyport had ten girls score with the Pettigrew sisters (Mary and Emily) leading the way with four points each.

The Sachems connected on nine three-pointers.  Reserve Kassidy Kennefick nailed two in the 4th quarter.

In the previous meeting between the two teams on January 4th at West Newbury, the Sachems rode Kelsi McNamara’s four 3’s to a, 61-33, win.

Newburyport, which has qualified for the state tournament, finishes its regular season on Thursday against Masconomet at Masconomet.

Pentucket will be hosting Hamilton-Wenham on the same night in what should be an emotional Seniors Day for the Sachems.  Key pieces in the Pentucket success over the past few seasons (Alex Moore, Tess Nogueira, Coley Viselli, and Emily Dresser) will be honored.

Newburyport recognized its seniors tonight – Lea Tomasz, Rebecca Kell, and Casey Barlow.

Lea Tomasz

Lea Tomasz

Casey Barlow

Casey Barlow

Rebecca Kell

Rebecca Kell

Casey had her left hand wrapped but that didn’t stop the usual lefthander from making two free throws with her right hand.

Newburyport boxscore

Pentucket boxscore

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

Mine!

Mine!

action under the basket

action under the basket

Aly Leahy heads for the hoop

Aly Leahy heads for the hoop

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Strong shooting and a strong finish get Pentucket past Billerica 59-39 in girls basketball

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) fires a three

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) fires a three

McKenna Kilian (13 points) pullup jump shot

McKenna Kilian (13 points) pullup jump shot

(West Newbury)  Pentucket hit eight 3’s and scored the game’s last eleven points as they defeated Billerica, 59-39, in a nonleague contest on Wednesday night.

A little over a year ago Billerica, at their place, had a strong second half and routed the Sachems, 63-43.

But this time around undefeated Pentucket (6-0) made shots from long range (eight over the first three quarters) and shut out the Indians (4-1) over the last 4:25 of the game.  That combo did in the Division One opponent from the Merrimack Valley League.

Pentucket took the lead for good midway through the first quarter (7-6) on a three by Kelsi McNamara (15 points).  That lead would get to nine (17-8) before the Indians ran seven straight into the second quarter.  Brittany Lomanno (10 points) had Billerica’s only three as the Indians moved to within two (17-15) 1 ½ minutes into the second quarter.

Pentucket would get that lead up to eight (29-21) as Coley Viselli (9 points) ended the half with a three and two free throws.

Shannon Hayes (eight points in third quarter)

Shannon Hayes (eight points in third quarter)

Kelsi McNamara dropped three 3’s in the first 2 ½ minutes of the second half to offset a strong third quarter by junior Shannon Hayes (eight points in the quarter).  Pentucket led, 46-35, after three quarters.

The final quarter started out harmlessly enough – full court drive by Kayla Leverone, two free throws by Alex Moore, and two free throws by Danielle Nickerson.  48-39 with 4:25 left.

The rest of the way?  All Pentucket.  McKenna Kilian (13 points) sparked the Sachems.  The speedy sophomore started things with a block of Brittany Lomanno’s layup attempt.  Later she added a couple of full-speed, stop-on-a-dime jumpers, two free throws, and a last-second toss off the backboard.

Alex Moore (8 points) from the corner

Alex Moore (8 points) from the corner

Pentucket had four three’s in the first quarter, one in the second, and three in the third.  Normal starter Alex Moore (8 points) came off the bench late in the first quarter and promptly drained two 3’s in thirty seconds.

Billerica coach Chris Doneski surprised me plenty by going to a zone defense after Pentucket had four 3’s in the first quarter.  But it actually worked in the second quarter.  The third quarter?  Not so much!  Blame Kelsi McNamara.  The sophomore found three openings around the top of the key and connected on all of them.

Back to the man-to-man went the Indians.  Playing that defense and facing full-court pressure all game long may have been the culprits in the Indians disastrous last 4 ½ minutes.

Tess Nogueira (12 points) looks to go under and up

Tess Nogueira (12 points) looks to go under and up

Tess Nogueira (12 points) had the best game I’ve seen her play.  She faced a taller defender (Joslyn King – 6’1”) and was able to score points and get Joslyn (6 points) into foul trouble.  Two memorable Tess moments were a flip-back as she went under the basket and a full-court drive in the last two minutes.  On that drive I’m certain she was planning on giving the ball up but no one from Billerica stepped up to stop the senior and she kept on going.

It is hard not to be impressed with Division Three Pentucket being able to defeat a quality D1 opponent.  Billerica was 17-4 last season.  I saw them lose to D1 undefeated state champ Andover (with Nicole Boudreau) by a point at Andover.  The Indians missed four free throws in the last 1 ½ minutes in that tough loss.

Brittany Lomanno (10 points) looks to get open

Brittany Lomanno (10 points) looks to get open

The pace of this game was certainly to the Sachems liking.  They forced the ball away from Billerica’s primary ball-handlers much of the game and made passing difficult.  Credit the Indians for being able to handle the pressure in the backcourt.  The struggle was in the front court.  Billerica had twenty-one turnovers (by my unofficial count) and missed a ton of rushed shots.

You win by twenty you probably will overlook your own team’s eighteen turnovers.  Billerica’s athleticism forced that many and showed well in the one-on-one matchups when the pace was to their liking.  However, Pentucket was able to speed things up most of the night and get enough openings to dominate from long range.

Billerica will next be hosting a very tough North Andover team at home on Friday night.

Pentucket will be hosting Cape Ann League opponent Newburyport also on Friday night.

ESPN Boston was in the house.  So was Masco’s Bob Romeo.

The state championship banner has now found a spot on the gymnasium wall.

Pentucket boxscore

Billerica boxscore

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

McKenna Kilian along the sideline

McKenna Kilian along the sideline

opening tip

opening tip

McKenna Kilian in the lane

McKenna Kilian in the lane

Kayla Leverone (3), Tess Nogueira (32), Danielle Nickerson (22)

Kayla Leverone (3), Tess Nogueira (32), Danielle Nickerson (22)

Coley Viselli (9 points) sets for a three

Coley Viselli (9 points) sets for a three

Joslyn King

Joslyn King

Kelsi McNamara

Kelsi McNamara

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Pentucket girls defeat North Reading 57-35 after championship banner unveiled

2011-12 Division 3 state champs - March 17, 2012

2011-12 Division 3 state champs – March 17, 2012

championship banner unveiled

championship banner unveiled

Alex Moore (11 points) fires from long range

Alex Moore (11 points) fires from long range

(West Newbury)  The Pentucket girls struggled mightily in the first half but returned to last year’s form in the second half as they defeated North Reading, 57-35, in Cape Ann League action on Tuesday night.

The “first half Sachems” could well have been thrown off by the festivities before the game.

The 2011-12 Division 3 state championship banner was unveiled and the thirteen team members from that 23-4 squad were reunited one last time before an adoring home crowd.

This was my first look at the team since the March 17th win over Sabis (55-32) at the DCU Center in Worcester as they captured the D3 title.  Leading the way for Pentucket on that memorable afternoon were Sarah Higgins with 22 points and Kelsi McNamara with three long ones.

Elise Makowski soars in the lane over Coley Viselli during a strong Hornet first half

Elise Makowski soars in the lane over Coley Viselli during a strong Hornet first half

You know that the bar has been set pretty high for a team when they lead by three (20-17) at halftime and you describe them as, “struggling.”

But the 2012-13 Sachems (2-0) were struggling.  There wasn’t a shot near or far that they could make consistently.  And there were plenty of turnovers.

In the second half, a crucial ingredient in years of success returned……….shooting, and when that happened in the third quarter, the 2012-13 team started giving a great impression of the championship team of the previous season.

North Reading (0-2) actually got within two points (21-19) a minute into the second half but then the Pentucket scorers started hitting shots from everywhere, especially long range.

With shots falling, the Sachem defense could setup and pressure North Reading into a pace that created turnovers and rushed shots.

The visiting Hornets would make just one basket (Tarah Reilly) over the next six minutes while the Sachems put up twenty-one points and blew this one wide open, 42-21, with a minute left in the third quarter.

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) about to pass to a breaking McKenna Kilian (14 points)

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) about to pass to a breaking McKenna Kilian (14 points)

Two treys by Alex Moore and one each from Coley Viselli and Kelsi McNamara highlighted the surge.  The Sachems also added 7-of-8 free throws and a floater in the lane from McKenna Kilian.

That burst of positive production separated the two teams and North Reading was unable to get within double-figures of the Sachems the rest of the way.

Not only was the championship banner unveiled but the home fans also got a look at seven new players including five freshmen.

Sophomores McKenna Kilian (14) and Kelsi McNamara (13) paced Pentucket.  Senior Alex Moore added eleven points. The Sachems next game is Friday night at Triton.

Carly Swartz (11 points) launches a last-second shot

Carly Swartz (11 points) launches a last-second shot

Freshman Carly Swartz (11) led the Hornets.  Carly scored all eleven in a first half in which North Reading made things very interesting for Pentucket.  6-5 freshman Jessica Lezon was a defensive presence for NR.

The Hornets will look for their first win at Masconomet on Friday night.

Quietly in the background during the pre-game celebrations was Pentucket coach John McNamara.  His 136-18 record at Pentucket, and counting, is truly remarkable.

A look ahead at the Pentucket schedule has them starting off with Division 1 Billerica in January in a non-league game.  Last season I saw Billerica nearly defeat Nicole Boudreau and the Andover Golden Eagles at Andover.  Their key players were underclassmen.  The Pentucket/Billerica contest is at Pentucket and should be special.

(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

junior Sydney Snow

junior Sydney Snow

Coley Viselli chases a loose ball

Coley Viselli chases a loose ball

Elise Makowski double-teamed by Alex Moore and McKenna Kilian

Elise Makowski double-teamed by Alex Moore and McKenna Kilian

McKenna Kilian (14 points) and Morgan Maiola

McKenna Kilian (14 points) and Morgan Maiola

Kelsi McNamara defends

Kelsi McNamara defends

Morgan Maiola (7 points)

Morgan Maiola (7 points)

Emily Dresser in close

Emily Dresser in close

freshman Rebecca Torrisi

freshman Rebecca Torrisi

Coley Viselli shoots a technical foul shot

Coley Viselli shoots a technical foul shot

Tess Nogueira (6 points) drives

Tess Nogueira (6 points) drives

6-5 Jessica Lezon

6-5 Jessica Lezon

Coach John McNamara

Coach John McNamara

Alex Moore pressures Carly Swartz

Alex Moore pressures Carly Swartz

Leigh McNamara returns

Leigh McNamara returns

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Sarah Higgins and Kelsi McNamara spark Pentucket past Fairhaven (53-39) in the state D3 semi-finals

Kelsi McNamara (10 points) lines up one of her 4th quarter triples

 

Sarah Higgins (20 points) layup

(Boston) Pentucket (22-4) secured passage to the state D3 finals on Saturday in Worcester with a solid second half  as they defeated Fairhaven (22-3), 53-39, on Tuesday at the TD Bank Garden.

Each team tallied just five points in a second period that may well have been impacted by a serious injury to Fairhaven starter Ashley Brown in the first quarter.  Ashley dove out-of-bounds for a loose ball and collided with the edge of the scorer’s table.  Considerable time was rightly spent by the numerous medical people on hand to take care of Ashley.  She was taken to Mass General.

The Sachems had a 19-18 lead after the sluggish second period and I had no sense of how the second half would go.

As it turned out, for Pentucket it went very well.  Their defense produced turnovers (six in the 3rd period) and Sarah Higgins (20 points) hit from the outside, inside, and from the foul line.  The Sachems actually took the lead for good (26-24 on a full-court Sarah drive at 4:54) with the advantage being 34-28 heading into the final quarter.

Kelsi McNamara destroyed any Fairhaven thoughts of a last-quarter rally with three long ones.  The first one gave Pentucket a 40-30 lead with 5:23 left.  The second one, on the next possession, built the Sachem advantage to 43-31 with five minutes left, and the third one kept the lead at twelve (48-36) with 2:45 to go.

Also in that final frame, Sarah Higgins continued to be productive.  She had an old-fashioned three, a layup, and a steal and a layup by the two-minute mark.  Sarah’s last score put this one out of reach, 51-38, with two minutes left and many reserves saw action the rest of the way.

Basketball is a team game and every coach knows the value of having players who get the ball to scorers.  Pentucket’s Alex Moore had four assists in the last quarter.  The 5-7 junior assisted Kelsi McNamara on all of her triples and also spotted Sarah Higgins in close for a layup.

Kara Charette (15 points) and Tess Nogueira

Kara Charette led Fairhaven with fifteen points.  The Pentucket full-court defense double-teamed Kara to try and keep the ball away from her.  That approach paid off especially in the final quarter when Pentucket earned point separation from the Blue Devils by holding the talented senior scoreless.

Pentucket scored the first seven points of the game (Sarah Higgins layup, Coley Viselli triple, and Tess Nogueira layup) but Fairhaven answered with six straight (Kay Mullen jumper, Ashley Brown fast break layup, and a Kara Charette converted rebound).

Coley Viselli (10 points) had three triples in the first half.  Kelsi McNamara had three in the final quarter.  Fairhaven did not connect from beyond the arc.

Tess Nogueira had four points and during the days leading up to this Saturday’s D3 finals in Worcester will probably be spending considerable prep time at the foul line.  The normally reliable free-throw shooter was an abnormal 2-for-11, including one air ball, against Fairhaven.

Pentucket had only six turnovers in the decisive second half.

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown had already scored seven points before she was injured.  I overheard her coach say in the pressroom afterwards that Ashley usually averages fifteen points per game.  I suspect that many of the Fairhaven faithful will recall this game with, “What if Ashley…….”  I hope that the Blue Devil junior recovers fully for next season.

Two years ago Pentucket reached the D3 finals only to lose to Lee at the DCU Center in Worcester.  Maybe this time around things will be different.

Pentucket boxscore

Fairhaven boxscore

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

Pentucket team afterwards

Kelsey Perron-Sovik and McKenna Kilan

Pentucket celebrates

Fairhaven cheerleaders

Leigh McNamara and Kara Charette

tight defense

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Pentucket scoring runs get them past Ipswich (49-30) for the Division 3 North title

Pentucket Regional High School – Division 3 North champs

Pentucket seniors (Sarah Higgins, Tori Lane, Molly McDonough, and Leigh McNamara) head for the D3 North trophy.

(Lowell)  Pentucket did in Ipswich with two lengthy scoring runs and defeated the Tigers, 49-30, on Saturday morning at the Tsongas Center.

The Sachems’ (#3 seed) win gives them the Division 3 North title and a trip to the TD North Garden on Tuesday (4:15 PM) to face D3 South champs, Fairhaven, in the state D3 semi-finals.

Pentucket (21-4) rolled to 9-0 lead in Run #1 before Tiger senior Shannon McFayden hit a long one over four minutes into the first period.

A Julia Davis free throw midway through the second quarter had Ipswich (18-5) still in contention, 14-10.

There was no recovery, however, for the Tigers from Run #2.  This one lasted 4 ½ minutes, stretching into the third quarter, and totaled twenty unanswered points.  That’s right, twenty!  It put Pentucket ahead, 34-10, with plenty of second half left but certainly not enough time for Ipswich to make things interesting trailing by that much.

Coley Viselli sees an open lane

In the big run, Pentucket’s organized offense turned up five layups (Tess Nogueira two, one each from Coley Viselli, Alex Moore, and Sarah Higgins).  Coley had two free throws, and Sarah had a steal and a score.  The real dagger shots in this run were two Alex Moore three’s in the last thirty seconds of the first half.  Her last one was a prayer from in front of the Ipswich bench that was arc-less but went in on a line.

All this talk of Pentucket offense tells only half the story.  Their trapping defense was equally impressive during this segment forcing four Tiger turnovers and limiting open looks.

Julia Davis, Tiger’s top scorer, was injured just before halftime and didn’t play in the second half.  Julia slid off the playing surface chasing a missed shot to got a knee injury for her efforts.

Julia Davis – did not play in the second half

Minus their best rebounder and top scorer, the Tigers were severely handicapped in the second half.  However, the Tigers did put a couple of 4th quarter runs together.  One went for nine points and the other eight.

In the nine straight, there was a layup by Bridget Curran, two freebies from Shannon McFayden, and a long one from Natalie Soliozy.

The eight straight were all from freshman Masey Zegarowski.  She hit from all the scoring spots (triple, jumper, layup, free throw) putting on quite a show.

One of the best matchups late was the two team’s freshman starters (Kelsi McNamara and Masey Zegarowski) defending each other.  Those two should see a lot of each other over the next three years, I suspect.

The leading scorers for Pentucket were; Sarah Higgins (12), Alex Moore (10), Coley Viselli (9), and Tess Nogueira (8).

Masey Zegarowski paced Ipswich with eight.

Pentucket has now won thirteen straight.  Their opponent on Monday (Fairhaven) has won ten of their last eleven.  Fairhaven was the #2 seed in the D3 South.  They are 21-2 and from the South Coast Conference.

Credit the Ipswich student section for continuing to support their team long after the outcome was in doubt.  (I do not condone obscene chanting and never have.  Positive team support always sounds good to me.)

Pentucket boxscore

Ipswich boxscore

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

Natalie Soliozy shoots a three

Freshmen Masey Zegarowski and Kelsi McNamara

Brigid OFlynn defends

Bridget Curran gets two

loose ball

Julia Davis defends Tess Nogueira

Ipswich student section

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Pentucket defense crucial in win over Revere (50-27) in the opening round of the Girls Division of the IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic

Tess Nogueira (10 points) breaks away with second half steal.

Kelsi McNamara (14 points) gets an open look along the baseline.

(Lawrence)  What can you say about the Pentucket Sachems girls basketball team?

On an afternoon when key defender Sarah Higgins is on the sidelines (illness), high scoring Coley Viselli struggles to get four points, and the Sachems make just 4-of-25 3-point attempts, they still have enough to defeat Division 1 Revere, 50-27.

This was the opener of the IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic on Sunday afternoon at Central Catholic.  Pentucket will return tomorrow afternoon to face the winner of the Archbishop Williams/Central Catholic game at 5:30PM.

The Revere Patriots (10-7) came in having won six of their last seven in the Northeastern Conference North.  They are probably happy that in the state tourney they’ll be in Division 1 and Pentucket will be in Division 3.

Pentucket (17-4) had their staple full-court pressure working from the outset.  By game’s end they had forced the Lady Patriots into twenty-seven miscues.

But in the first half of this game, the Revere turnovers didn’t lead directly to points while the Sachem long-range shooting was scary bad (2-for-19).  Those two factors kept this game close (20-13 at the half).  In fact, 1 ½ minutes into the second half, two Amy Rotger free throws had Revere still in this one, 22-17.

The rest of that third quarter everything came together in a nice package for the Sachems and they went on a decisive 14-3 run.

Pentucket’s first three scores in this surge were directly off of steals by Kelsi McNamara, Tess Nogueira, and Alex Moore.  Next, Tess found room in close for a layup.

Caitlyn Caramello (9 points) battles Tess Nogueira

Revere stopped the bleeding (8-point run) temporarily with a Caitlyn Caramello layin but back came Pentucket with two of their four 3’s (Kelsi McNamara and Sydney Snow).  The Sachems were clearly in command 36-20 after three quarters.

Revere was held scoreless for the first 3 ½ minutes of the final quarter partly because of four more turnovers.  Meanwhile Pentucket was putting up ten unanswered points to get away even further, 46-20.  Reserves dominated the rest of the game. The final score was 50-27.

In a game where Coley Viselli struggled for points, Kelsi McNamara (14), Alex Moore (12) and Tess Nogueira (10) picked up the slack nicely.  Freshman Kelsi had eleven of her points in the breakaway second half.

Caitlyn Caramello paced Revere with nine points.  Michaela Maguire added five including a put-back just before the halftime buzzer.

Pentucket is now on a nine-game winning streak.  They have won fourteen of their last fifteen.

The last time I saw them lose was in a state tournament game last year at Wilmington High School against St. Mary’s of Lynn the eventual D3 champ.

Can Pentucket be in the D3 state championship game at the Worcester Centrum in mid-March?  Their multiple ways of hurting an opponent suggest to me that they can do it.  We’ll see.

Pentucket box score

Revere box score

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

Coley Viselli gets to the rim

Michaela Maguire and Emily Dresser

battle under the basket

Liza Brackbill

Kelsi McNamara defends

Amy Rotger and Sydney Snow

Alex Moore (12 points) floater in lane

tie up

McKenna Kilian

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Solid ending gets Pentucket past Masconomet (57-54) in girls basketball

Coley Viselli (16 points) made three free throws in the last fourteen seconds to seal the Pentucket win.

Chelsea Nason (17 points) connected on five triples.

(Topsfield)  Before a sizable Sunday afternoon crowd, Pentucket turned a strong final two minutes into a, 57-54, win over Masconomet in a matchup between two of the best girls teams in the state.

Evenly matched?  How about eleven ties over the course of the game with five of them in the frantic last quarter?

After the last tie (47-47) with 2:54 left, Masco broke out with a triple by Chelsea Nason (17 points) and two Danielle Davis (9 points) free throws to get up by five (52-47) with 2:13 left.

Pentucket’s response won the game for them.  Two freebies by Sarah Higgins (she was an amazing 9-for-9 from the line), a driving layup by Alex Moore, and gutsy triple by Alex (from Kelsi McNamara) went unanswered by the Chieftains.  This consecutive action put the Sachems on top, 54-52, with thirty seconds left.

Masco’s Katie Hutchinson missed the front end of a one-and-one with fifteen seconds left.  Coley Viselli (16 points) took the rebound and was immediately fouled.  She made both free throws to stretch the Pentucket advantage to 56-52.

Coley Viselli shoots a three as Chelsea Nason defends

Brooke Stewart (8 points) drove the length of the court to close her team’s deficit to two (56-54) with six seconds left.  Coley Viselli received the inbounds pass and Chelsea Nason (5th foul) sent her to the foul line with five seconds left.

Coley missed the first and made the second.  Danielle Davis dribbled to midcourt before attempting a tying long one that went wide as time ran out.

If Chelsea Nason hadn’t fouled out she probably would have been the one taking the last shot.  She had connected on five 3’s during the game.

The foul shooting was excellent for both teams.  Pentucket made 21-of-25 while Masco hit 10-of-13.

The Chieftains started the second period with six unanswered points (21-15) before the Sachems strung thirteen unanswered back (28-21) over the next eight minutes of playing time stretching into the third quarter.

Chelsea Nason’s triple midway through the third quarter finished Masco’s rally back to a 32-32 tie. Seven ties followed the rest of the way.  Pentucket closed with a 10-2 game-decider.

Alex Moore chases Brooke Stewart

Pentucket (7-0 in Cape Ann League D1 / 11-4 overall) lost Tess Nogueira (groin injury) with a minute left in the third quarter and the score tied at 37-37.  I thought at the time that Pentucket might be in serious trouble because Tess had shadowed Brooke Stewart into a non-factor status.  But Alex Moore took over and, although at least six inches shorter than Brooke, was able to limit the talented senior to just four points the rest of the way.

Besides the good fill-in defense, Alex (13 points) put up seven in the final quarter including the go-ahead triple with thirty seconds left.

Masco (5-1 in CAL / 9-2 overall) had won seven of their last eight games before today’s loss.  I saw them defeat a highly regarded Central Catholic team in Lawrence last Sunday.

Both Masco and Pentucket are in Division 1 of the Cape Ann League.  When it comes to the MIAA tournament, however, Pentucket slides down to Division 3. Could that have been why St. Mary’s Jeff Newman was in the house??  I saw Jeff’s Spartans oust Pentucket from the tournament last year at Wilmington.

Two of the most sideline-active coaches were in action today and it was hard not to watch them even as the game was going on.

Bob Romeo (Masco) is at least 6’5” with a loud voice.  Dressed in a pink shirt for the Coaches vs. Cancer event he was pretty hard to miss.

Pentucket coach John McNamara gets a technical in the 4th quarter.

Meanwhile, down the other end was Pentucket’s John McNamara.  He spent more time on the court than most of his players.  I did see him kick the bench – I have a coaching friend who broke a toe doing that.  John had a legitimate complain late in the game when someone in the Masco band used their trumpet (?) as a noisemaker while Coley Viselli was shooting free throws.  Earlier, with 4:16 left John got hit with a technical foul.  Brooke Stewart made both technical foul shots.

I guess it begs the question, why are coaches allowed on the floor when the game is going on?  At the least, it is very dangerous.  What do the rules say??

Both coaches have tremendous records and produce competitive teams year after year.  Graduation never seems to slow them down.

Brooke Stewart (8 points) was overheard saying at halftime that she “had a blister the size of Mexico.”  That’s big and surely a distraction.

Pentucket has won eight of their last nine.  They are at Manchester-Essex on February 3rd.

Masco hosts Hamilton-Wenham on January 31st.

Driving bare roads with snow nowhere in sight on January 29th?  Delightful!

Pentucket box score

Masconomet box score

(The pictures above and below all enlarge if you click on them.)

Danielle Davis on her way to last shot

Kelsi McNamara

Alex Moore

Sarah Higgins looks for an opening

Tess Nogueira drives – Katie Hutchinson defends

Brooke Stewart and Sarah Higgins eye rebound

Claudia Marsh

Masco student section

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