Tag Archives: Angelina Yacubacci

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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Pentucket holds off Masco 44-42 after eleven lead changes

A strong final quarter by Angelina Yacubacci helped Pentucket hold off Masconomet

Mak Graves led Masco with 16 points

(West Newbury MA) Masco led by nine after one period.

Pentucket led by one at the half.

Masco led by seven after three periods.

Pentucket led by two at the end (44-42).

Back and forth it went all night long.

There were eleven lead changes with at least two in each quarter.

It was anyone’s game right down to the last shot by Mak Graves (16 points).

The Sachems (19-1) played with fire in the last eleven seconds and didn’t get burned.

Pentucket had the ball with eleven seconds left and a two-point lead.

Angelica Hurley inbounds pass attempt was intercepted by Paige Richardson.

“I was so scared to throw it too far that I didn’t throw it far enough,” explained Angelica post-game.

That put Masco in possession and very quickly Mak Graves had the ball in her talented hands and she was stepping back beyond the arc.

Mak steps back beyond the arc

“My heart stopped, I’m not going to lie,” said Anna Wyner.

“I was petrified,” said Coach McNamara. “I thought she was going to pull up and shoot a three. They had the ball in their best player’s hands and that’s scary. I was happy when she drove because a two would let us keep playing.”

“It was nerve-racking with her at the 3-point line,” said Greta Mauer, “because you don’t know what could happen.”

Angelica, who had thrown the bad pass reacted quickly. “I knew that I had to play defense (on Mak Graves) and get the ball back,” she said.

When Mak stepped back, Angelica stepped forward to discourage a 3-point attempt.

Angelica Hurley steps out to discourage a 3-point attempt

Mak chose, instead, to drive baseline. The Pentucket defense closed on her and her shot missed. Angelica was there to secure the rebound and the game ended.

Mak decides to drive

Angelica secures the final rebound as the game ends

A collective sigh of relief and disappointment followed from both sides.

Liv Fillmore (11 points) shoots over MacKenzie Currie

Senior Angelina Yacubacci carried Pentucket down the stretch after she was a foul magnet early and spent much of the game on the bench.

“When she finally got in, she was a difference maker,” said Coach McNamara.

Angelina scored all her points (eight) in the final quarter.

In that productive quarter, Angelina got to the basket three times without charging and made two free throws.

On one of her missed free throws in the last thirty seconds, she stole the ball from the rebounder (Paige Richardson) to continue the Pentucket possession.

Tonight was Masco’s last game in the Cape Ann League and they played very well.

The Chieftains (11-6) took charges on the hard-driving Sachems and made shots early.

Seven straight points (Liv Fillmore three, Mak Graves jumper and layup) had Masco ahead 13-6 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.

MacKenzie Currie (15 points) takes a shot in the lane

Pentucket recovered nicely in the second quarter. Masco was held scoreless for the first six minutes while the Sachems put a ten-point run together. An old-fashioned 3-point play by MacKenzie Currie (15 points) started Pentucket on their comeback. Senior Hannah Lambert hit a triple and a fast-break layup. Abby Dube finished the run with a jump shot assisted by Alyssa Thompson.

The Sachems held a 22-21 halftime lead.

The Chieftains limited Pentucket to only five points in the third quarter and scored the last five points to create a 34-27 advantage after three quarters. Mak Graves hit a jump shot and assisted on Liv Fillmore’s 3-pointer to account for the closing surge.

The Sachems were down seven, but Angelina Yacubacci came to their rescue. “We played as a team in the 4th quarter,” she explained. “Each of us seems to take turns getting into foul trouble. We support each other from the bench even if we can’t be on the floor.”

But Angelina was now on the floor.

After a MacKenzie Currie jumper in the lane, Angelina sent MacKenzie away on a fastbreak layin. Angelina then twice successfully drove to the basket. Masco’s lead was now gone and Pentucket was up by one (35-34) with 5 ½ minutes left.

Masco stopped the bleeding with a Mak Graves layup and retook the lead.

Arielle Cleveland layup

Back came the Sachems. Angelina assisted on an Arielle Cleveland layup and MacKenzie followed with a drive to the hoop. Those scoring plays gave Pentucket the lead for good, 39-36, with 3:40 remaining.

Masco would get within two twice in the closing minute but Pentucket made enough plays to save the win.

“Give Masco credit,” said Coach McNamara. “They fought hard.”

The Sachems have now won sixteen straight. Last loss? To Masco, 56-51, at Masco.

“We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we lost to them,” said Anna Wyner.

Angelica: “We’re excited to win on Senior Night. We knew it would be a tough game. They are a very good team. Mak Graves kept me from doing a lot of things with her defense.”

Jenna DiPietro surrounded by Sachems

Coach McNamara: “It was really nice to beat them in their last CAL game. They have lost five games in the league this year which is a testament to how strong this league is.”

I asked the four Pentucket seniors about their college plans:

Angelica: I am going to St. Joe’s. I thought at first that the campus was too small but the coach there has been very encouraging. He came to our North Reading game which was important to me. I intend to go into the nursing program.”

Angelina: Not sure exactly. Probably somewhere local like Bridgewater State, Endicott, Keene State or UMass Boston. Won’t be playing basketball. I want to go into business.”

Anna Wyner: My top two choice are UVM and UNH. I am interested in the medical field. I have an interest in being a physician’s assistant.”

Hannah Lambert: “I want to study nursing. I am looking at Fairfield and James Madison.”

Full house at Pentucket for this game and they saw a beauty!

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

Angelina Yacubacci forces a turnover

Cally McSweeney

Greta Mauer

Hannah Lambert’s layup

Mak Graves guards Angelica Hurley

Maria Lantzakis draws a charge on Anna Wyner

Paige Richardson

Pentucket seniors honored

 

 

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Angelica Hurley hits game winner in last second as Pentucket defeats Tewksbury 36-34

Pentucket players mob Angelica Hurley after her game-winning basket

Good shot of the referee. Not so good of Angelica’s winning basket.

(Tewksbury MA) Everyone had a beef with the referees.

Pentucket coach John McNamara, coaching against the school he graduated from, questioned many calls.

Tewksbury coach Mark Bradley couldn’t believe Alli Wild’s go-ahead free throw was negated by a lane violation with 8 seconds left.

And me? In comes Angelica Hurley for the buzzer-beating winner and the referee intrudes into the special shot.

Angelica’s last-second shot was indeed the game winner as Pentucket escaped with a 36-34 victory over Tewksbury on Sunday afternoon.

“We struggled,” said Coach McNamara afterwards. “We didn’t shoot the ball well at all.”

Kati Polimeno and Angelina Yacubacci

The teams were quite familiar with each other having faced off in the D2 North finals at the Tsongas Arena eleven months ago.

The Sachems (18-1) took that one, 56-45, and went on from there to win the D2 state title. Today’s victory runs their winning streak to fourteen. Last loss was to Masco on January 3rd.

“They’re a tough team to play against because it’s hard to simulate their style of play in practice,” explained Coach Bradley. “We had a game Friday night so there was little time to prepare.”

Tewksbury (9-10) was down, 19-10, but recovered.

“We took their aggressiveness and used it to our advantage,” said Coach Bradley recalling how his team fought back to leave with a 19-19 tie at halftime.

Alli Wild blocks Angelica Hurley’s layup attempt

Of the Redmen’s comeback, Coach McNamara said, “We missed three’s, there were long rebounds and they were off to the races in transition.”

In this game, Tewksbury didn’t give up backcourt turnovers and were quick enough to get back on defense after missed shots. They also had shot-blocker Alli Wild in their defense.

Alli not only blocked several Sachem layup attempts but she didn’t foul doing it.

“We knew about her (Alli Wild) from last year at the Tsongas,” said Coach McNamara. “Her defense is special.”

The Redmen ran the last nine points of the second period. Pentucket, meanwhile, didn’t score a point for the last seven minutes of that same second period.

The Sachems, however, started the second half with six straight points. Two free throws by Angelica Hurley and two inside shots by Arielle Cleveland (15 points) sparked the visitors.

Arielle Cleveland (15 points) benefited from some great feeds from teammates

One of Arielle’s scores came after teammate Angelina Yacubacci drove into the lane and drew Arielle’s defender over to help defensively. A quick pass from Angelina gave Arielle an uncontested shot.

“Angelina sees those passing opportunities very well,” said Arielle post-game.

Pentucket was still up by six (33-27) after Angelina once again set up Arielle for a layup in the first minute of the 4th quarter.

But the home team refused to go away. “I’m proud of our girls,” said Coach Bradley. “We competed and battled even when we were down.”

The Redmen scored the next seven points. Julia Cafferty had two free throws in the surge of offense. Lexi Polimeno (9 points) was the big spark. The junior drained a three and later hit a runner from the side to push Tewksbury in front for the first time in the game, 34-33, with 1:43 left.

Next possession Pentucket got a point back after MacKenzie Currie made one-of-two free throws.

Both teams failed to get anything in their next possession.

Tewksbury had the ball and a timeout with twenty-one seconds left. Carefully they worked the ball around before Alli Wild was fouled with 8.8 seconds remaining.

Alli made the free throw……….but then it didn’t count. Why? Because she had violated the lane. I assumed that this meant that she had stepped on or over the line. My pictures indicate that neither happened. (Enlarge them for a better look.)

This unfortunate (for Tewksbury) turn of events gave Pentucket possession with a full court to cover in eight seconds.

Lexi Polimeno (9 points)

“We wanted to set a high ball-screen and let Jelly (Angelica Hurley) come off the screen and create,” said Coach McNamara.

“I was looking for someone open but when I saw #15 (Alli Wild) jump up in the air I went for the layup,” recalled Angelica.

The shot went up and in. Then the buzzer sounded. There was a pause, the referees agreed that the shot beat the buzzer, and then the Sachems celebrated.

Coach McNamara: “Tewksbury is a very good team from a tough conference (Merrimack Valley Conference). It was a nice win, but we’ve got some things to clean up.”

Arielle Cleveland: “On that last play I was supposed to set a screen on Jelly’s defender. Angelica and Angelina are great teammates. I feed off their energy because they bring it every single game.”

Coach Bradley: “John (McNamara) does a phenomenal job. Year after year he runs his successful system. John has ties to Tewksbury, and I know his family here. He offered to play here, and we want to play good basketball teams at the end of the season.”

Angelica Hurley (13 points)

Angelica Hurley: “Tewksbury is a very good team. Fifteen (Alli Wild) is very talented. We’re heading into the state tournament in two weeks.”

Today’s game was an “endowment” game. That means that all the stats count but winning or losing will not influence placement in the state tournament.

Pentucket box

Tewksbury box

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

Alli Wild (12 points) guarded by MacKenzie Currie

Angelica Hurley fouled by Julia Cafferty

Angelina Yacubacci

Greta Maurer guards Alli Wild

Julia Cafferty

Julia Cafferty looks to pass

Katie Polimeno defends Angelina Yacubacci

Kati Polimeno unguarded

MacKenzie Currie and Alli Wild

MacKenzie Currie shoots free throw

Maddie Stovesand

Maddie Stovesand and MacKenzie Currie

 

 

 

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Pentucket overwhelms Newburyport 58-24 to clinch CAL Kinney Division

Lana Mickelson (32) and Deidre McElhinney (4)

Angelina Yacubacci (16 points)

(West Newbury MA) It doesn’t happen every game but when it does…..watch out!

Pentucket was excellent on both ends of the court and that put Newburyport on the wrong end of a  58-24 score on Friday night.

Combined with a Masconomet loss, the Sachems (17-1) clinched their sixth straight Cape Ann League Kinney Division title.

“Our girls came out with a ton of energy and played great defense,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

The Clippers (9-6) ended up with a night full of tough shots and turnovers.

Pentucket mustered only thirty-eight points in the first meeting (January 20th) with Newburyport.

“Last time was a different style of game,” explained Coach McNamara.  “They controlled the tempo with their 1-2-2 halfcourt defense.  This time our defense got us going offensively.”

Sami Cavanaugh tries for control

The Sachems had thirty-six points in the first half alone and were comfortably ahead, 36-15, at that time.

The Clippers had won three of their last four games including a shocker over Masco.

Tonight, the score was tied (4-4) after three minutes before Pentucket began putting everything together.  On this evening, the visitors had no answers.

The Sachems ran nine unanswered points together and never looked back.

In this breakaway segment, Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) assisted on an Arielle Cleveland jump shot and a Hannah Lambert triple.

Angelica Hurley (11 points)

The nicest play in this collection of points was an Arielle Cleveland save of a ball going out of bounds that ended up with an Angelica Hurley (11 points) 3-pointer.

Pentucket was ahead, 13-7, after one quarter.

The Sachems put a 23-point second quarter together.  Freshman Abby Dube (12 points) had two beyond-the-arc three’s and one old-fashioned three in the high-scoring quarter.

“I tend to think a lot when I shoot,” explained Abby post-game.  “Tonight, I was just playing and having fun out there.”

Abby’s twelve points were a career high for her.

Most of the night the Clippers had trouble getting to the basket as well as getting the ball inside to their tallest player, Abby Gillingham.

“MacKenzie Currie didn’t score a lot tonight but what a job she did against Abigail (Gillingham),” explained Coach McNamara.  “She’s a good scorer but she may have had only one basket tonight because of MacKenzie’s defense.”

Abby Gillingham with MacKenzie Currie defending

MacKenzie tallied eighteen points in the first meeting.  Tonight she had only four points but her defense on Newburyport’s top scorer was crucial in Pentucket’s victory.

The Clippers had twenty-six turnovers (by my count) and some of the miscues quickly led to Sachem layups.

“We got them rattled early,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “We made some shots and fed off our defensive energy.  We got a lot of transition baskets.”

Pentucket has now won thirteen straight.  Last loss was to Masco on January 3rd.  Those two teams will meet again at Pentucket next Friday night.

The Sachems, with just one loss, have the best record in Division 2 North.  Another D2 school, Marblehead, was 16-2 going into tonight.

Sadie Vandenberg

Newburyport (9-6) is just a win away from qualifying for the post-season.

“Newburyport is a good, young team,” added Coach McNamara.  “They are going to be very good.”

Coach McNamara has now won 296 games in his 14+ years directing the Sachems.  If Pentucket takes care of their final three regular-season games, that memorable 300th win could happen in the first round of the D2 tournament at Pentucket.

Abby Dube: “Playing with seniors and juniors is scary but really fun.  At first I was terrified but eventually I got comfortable.”

I continue to be impressed with the Pentucket band.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Terrific Angelica Hurley pass to Abby Dube

Abby Dube (12 points) and Anna Affolter

Abby Gillingham tries to block Angelina Yacubacci’s shot

Anna Affolter at the line

Anna Wyner and Sami Cavanaugh

Hannah Lambert

MacKenzie Currie

Jackie Doucette and MacKenzie Currie

Leah Metsker

Makenna Ward

MacKenzie Currie

Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket struggles in 57-50 win over non-league Notre Dame Academy (Hingham)

Angelina Yacubacci (22 points) puts up a floater

Neither team backed down

(West Newbury MA) Both teams were aggressive and neither team backed down.

The result?  A whistle fest.

Pentucket (7-1) took the lead for good midway through the third quarter and survived non-league Notre Dame Academy (Hingham), 57-50, on Saturday night.

The visitors were within two points (51-49) with 1:17 left but the Sachems (7-1) dominated the rest of the way. A beautiful interior pass by freshman Abby Dube set up teammate Mackenzie Currie for a layup, boosting the lead back to four. After a NDA free throw (Ava Orlando), senior Angelina Yacubacci (22 points) surrounded a Cougar turnover with foul-producing drives.  Angelina sank all four freebies and the defending D2 champs had a victory.

“It was a good win,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards, “but we’ve got some things to work on. Our defense needed to get better.  We’re fouling too much.”

Angelica Hurley in the lane chased by Ava Orlando

“We did not do a good job of containing the drive,” explained Notre Dame coach Nicole Orlando.

Pentucket shot thirty-five free throws and the Cougars twenty-six.

There was hardly a possession that didn’t earn a whistle for something, because the teams also combined for thirty-five turnovers to go along with all the fouls!

The teams were tied at 8-8 with a minute left in the first quarter.  At this point Pentucket put a 13-2 run together that stretched into the second quarter.  Their 21-10 lead threatened to take the suspense out of the final outcome.  Five different Sachems contributed points as their dangerous pressure defense kicked in.  Hannah Lambert had a three in the collection of Pentucket points.

Megan Reading and Haley Roberts tie up

Some teams fall apart when the Sachems put a run of points together……..NDA wasn’t one of them. The excessive fouling started to hurt the home team.  The Cougars went to the foul line seven times and made six of them.  With Pentucket cooled down, their big lead vanished and NDA tightened things to 23-22 in the closing seconds.

At this point, Angelina Yacubacci fired the beyond half-court buzzer beater that seldom goes in……..but this time it did.  Pentucket had a four-point lead (26-22) at halftime.

Notre Dame (5-2) was able to take the lead in the first two minutes of the second half.  A rebound basket by Ava Foley and a layup off a Pentucket turnover put NDA in front, 29-26.

The defending champs in trouble?  Not for long.

Megan Reading (33) puts up a shot

The Sachems headed toward the basket on almost every possession thereafter and when they didn’t score, they did get free throws.  Pentucket put seven unanswered points together and three minutes later they were in front, 34-29.  A key possession for the Sachems in this successful sequence was when an offensive rebound led to a corner three by Alyssa Thompson.

Pentucket led the rest of the way but the Cougars were never far away.  They were within one point several times but Pentucket had answers.  Rebound baskets.  Floaters in the lane and free throws kept the Cougars from actually catching up.

The Sachems depth was crucial in the end game.  Coach McNamara was able to have his starters on the court in the closing minutes.  Coach Orlando had three starters (Ava Foley, Haley Roberts, Ellie Hilsabeck) foul out.

Impressive for NDA was senior Kristin Barrett.  Kristin ended up with eighteen points including eight in the first five minutes of the final quarter that had the Cougars only trailing, 48-46.

Kristin Barrett (18 points) chased by Abby Dube (23) and Lana Mickelson (32)

“Notre Dame has always been a good team,” explained Angelica Hurley post-game, “especially #13 (Kristin Barrett). We always struggle to contain her.  She’s really fast.”

“We kept them in the game with our fouling,” said Coach McNamara. “There was no flow to the game as a result.”

Angelica Hurley: “We definitely need to work on our gap defense.  We do it well in practice, but it doesn’t show in the games.  We also can’t get frustrated with each other.”

Coach McNamara: “We have been playing Notre Dame for thirteen years.  Somehow their coach and I started talking and we ended up playing them. They now have a new coach, but I hope we can continue to play them in the future.”

Coach McNamara had daughters play for him a while ago.  Coach Orlando had her seventh-grade daughter playing for her tonight.

Ava Foley covered by Angelica Hurley

“You have to focus on the game and not on your kid playing,” recalled Coach McNamara.  “Coach Orlando’s daughter is pretty good for a 7th grader.”

“It’s exciting to have your daughter play for you,” said Coach Orlando.  “We don’t put a lot of emphasis on it.  I don’t coach her differently.  She is very poised for her age.”

A first for me tonight: Both coaches thanked me for covering the game.

Junior Arielle Cleveland injured an ankle on Friday night during Pentucket’s win over Triton.  Could be out a couple of weeks.

Notre Dame box

Pentucket box

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

Abby Dube

Abby Dube (23) and Angelica Hurley (24) try to trap Kristin Barrett

Alyssa Thompson at the line

Alyssa Thompson leads a break

Notre Dame coach Nicole Orlando

Angelica Hurley shoots over Ellie Hilsabeck

Angelina Yacubacci and Haley Roberts get tied up

Anna Wyner defends

Julia Foley (4) defends

Lana Mickelson at the line

 

 

 

 

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On to the D2 North finals for Pentucket after 52-28 win over Swampscott

Pentucket double-team

MacKenzie Currie had ten points off the bench for Pentucket

(Haverhill MA) Fouls were a problem for Pentucket in the first half but that didn’t prevent the Sachems from defeating Swampscott, 52-28, on Tuesday night at Whittier.

The win sends Pentucket (21-3) to the Division 2 North finals at the Tsongas Arena on Saturday to face the winner of the Tewksbury/Melrose game.

For part of the second quarter, Maddie Doyle was the only Pentucket starter on the floor.  Angelica Hurley, Angelina Yacubacci, and Jess Galvin each had two fouls while Liv Cross had an injury.

On this evening the Sachems reserves were crucial contributors.  “Z (MacKenzie Currie) gave us points,” said Coach John McNamara. “Anna (Wyner) covered their best player, and Arielle (Cleveland) was good on both ends.”

Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) between Nikki Rosa (15) and Sophia DiGrande (5)

Instead of Swampscott taking advantage of Pentucket’s foul woes, they instead fell behind, 15-5, after one quarter.

“Pentucket is a very, very tough team,” said Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard afterwards.  “We just couldn’t find the basket.”

The personnel for the Sachems may have changed but the effective defense didn’t.  Their full-court pressure often forced turnovers and hurried shots.

“Defense is what we focus most on in practice,” said senior Maddi Doyle.  “Everyone wants their chance to play run-and-jump.”

The Big Blue (16-6) were only down 26-16 at the half.  Make some shots and things could get interesting.

“I told the team at halftime,” said Coach McNamara, “that they had to settle down and play better defense.”  And that is what they did.

Maddi Doyle uses a Liv Cross screen

The starters applied their tight brand of defense with few fouls, while down the other end the points started to pile up.  Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) had a triple and two free throws while teammate Maddi Doyle added a layup and a triple to pace the Sachems in the breakaway third quarter.

That 10-point halftime lead bulged to 39-22 and the #1 seed coasted through the final quarter.

Coach Leonard: “Pentucket didn’t do anything we didn’t expect.  They just execute so well.  It’s one thing to know something is coming. It’s another thing to stop it.”

Maddi Doyle: “Surprisingly, I wasn’t in foul trouble.  I’m usually the first one on the bench with fouls.  Kids came off the bench and stepped up.  It shows the depth we have.”

Sophie DiGrande shoots against Liv Cross

Coach McNamara: “We were anxious at the start.  It took a whole half for us to be playing defense the way we wanted to. In the second half, we played defense without all the fouling.”

Arielle Cleveland: “Our team is deep.  I had more playing time and tried to contribute any way I could.”

Maddi Doyle told me after the game that she wants to go to the College of Charleston in South Carolina in the fall and study physical therapy.

Senior Grace DiGrande paced SHS with eleven points.

Sophomore MacKenzie Currie had ten points for Pentucket.

Swampscott’s Nikki Rosa is going to play basketball for Roger Williams next year.

Katie Watts is going to go to Endicott to play softball.

MacKenzie Kearney and Sophie DiGrande

The Big Blue reached the semifinals by defeating North Reading 49-47.  Nikki had nineteen points and twelve rebounds against the Hornets.

Maddie Doyle: “I would rather play defense than anything.  When we’re trapping it does things to other teams.”

The Sachems are three wins away from a state title. “We were so close (state semifinals) last year,” said Maddie.  “I want to just keep going forward.”

Pentucket box

Swampscott box

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

Angelica Hurley and Nikki Rosa

Angelica Hurley in the open

Anna Wyner guarded by Katie Watts

Jess Galvin

Katie Watts

loose ball

Maddie Doyle brings pressure to Sophie DiGrande

Sophie DiGrande tries to get the ball back from Angelina Yacubacci

Nikki Rosa and Angelica Hurley

 

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Pentucket advances to D2 North semi-finals with 61-34 win versus Wilmington

Kylie DuCharme brings the ball up the court against Pentucket pressure

Maddi Doyle guards Jenna Tavanese

(West Newbury MA) “No amount of scouting can help you against that kind of defense.”

That was what Wilmington coach Jessica Robinson said after her Wildcats fell to Pentucket, 61-34, in the Division 2 North quarter-finals on Thursday night.

The Sachems (20-3) move on to the semi-finals on Tuesday night against #4 Swampscott at Whittier.

The top-seed hounded #8 Wilmington into twenty-five turnovers and kept the Wildcats from functioning smoothly on offense for much of the game.

“We work hard on defense,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “They had a couple of very good players and so we had to key on them.”

Jenna Tavanese (2) paced Wilmington with fifteen points.

One of those players was junior Jenna Tavanese (15 points).  Jenna hit two 3’s and Olivia Almeida added another during 1 ½ minutes of the first quarter.  That burst of great shooting propelled the visitors into a, 9-4, lead with three minutes left in that quarter.  Sophomore Kylie DuCharme assisted in all three triples.

“We were definitely nervous in the early going,” explained Pentucket senior Jess Galvin afterwards.  “We were getting used to the crowd.”

Once the team from the Cape Ann League settled in, the Wildcats were in trouble.  The Sachems trapping stymied the offensive flow of Wilmington and when Pentucket’s offense began to click, this game turned in their favor.

Pentucket answered the Wilmington 3’s with two of their own (Anna Wyner & Angelina Yacubacci) plus a layup from Angelina (17 points).

The Sachems led 12-11 after one quarter.

Full-court pressure by Pentucket.

The home team took the lead for good early in the second quarter after Liv Cross converted a rebound and teammate Maddi Doyle drained a three.

Jess Galvin (10 points)

Up by two (17-15) three minutes into the 2nd quarter, the Sachems put a 10-2 segment together (featuring 3’s from MacKenzie Currie and Jess Galvin) and the spread rose to double digits (28-17).

Pentucket led, 33-22 at the half.

“We hung in there with them for a while,” said Coach Robinson, “but we ran out of offensive gas.”

Credit the persistent Pentucket pressure with wearing down the team from the Middlesex League.

Gabby Bond gets a shot

“Our main focus is defense,” said Jess Galvin.  “Coach has said all four years that defense wins games and I agree.”

The Wildcats (12-9) were able to draw within ten (38-28) after Jenna Tavanese hit a three and made a free throw with 3:25 to go in the third quarter.

Thereafter it was all Pentucket.

“We gave up a lot of easy baskets in the first half,” said Coach McNamara, “we did much better defensively in the second half.”

Wilmington scored two baskets in the last minute of the game.  Other than that, the Sachems turned their ten-point lead (38-28) into a 59-30 spread.  That’s a 21-2 segment!

Jess Galvin (10 points) led the Pentucket surge.  She had a beyond-the-arc three, an old-fashioned three, and a free throw.

Cassidy Collins defends

“We work hard in practice,” said Jess.  “Coach gets all the offenses and defenses that the other teams play, and we just execute against them.  Coach always changes things up so that teams won’t know what’s coming.”

One of the key Pentucket defenders was junior Angelica Hurley.  Angelica scored only two points but her defense on sophomore Kylie DuCharme (4 points) was significant.

“Angelica did a great job defensively,” explained Coach McNamara.  “She sacrificed her offensive game to play defense like that.  It is what you have to do in the tournament to advance.”

Coach Robinson: “We were hoping to keep this game in the 30’s and 40’s because then we could hang with them offensively, but it got out of hand for us.”

Maddi Doyle under pressure

Jess Galvin: “I’m looking at UMass Amherst next year.  I am going to try and play basketball there.  I want to study sports business.”

Former Sachem Tess Noguiera was in the house.  She was part of the Pentucket state championship team in 2012.  From Pentucket she went to WPI where she was also on a championship team.  She now works at Raytheon.

Good crowd.  Bleachers were added to the bench side of the gym.

Pentucket box

Wilmington box

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

Angelica Hurley, Kylie DuCharme, Jenna Tavanese

Angelica Hurley with a steal

Anne Wingate (10)

Arielle Cleveland in the open court

Double-team by Pentucket

Kylie DuCharme finds Gabby Bond (44)

Tight defense by Angelica Hurley on Kylie DuCharme

 

 

 

 

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Masco avenges earlier loss downing Pentucket 56-43

Morgan Bovardi (17 points) on the move

Rebound battle

(Boxford MA) Masco coach Bob Romeo told his team afterwards, “if you play the way you did tonight you can play with anyone in Division 1 North.”

Hard to disagree after seeing his D1 Chieftains dominate Pentucket in the second half and take a 56-43 win on Friday night.

The Sachems (17-3) have the best record in Division 2 North.

Masco (15-5) lost to Pentucket in January (39-27) but played with much more poise this time around.

“We knew what this team (Pentucket) was capable of doing,” said Mak Graves (19 points) after the game.  “We practiced hard to be ready for them.”

In the first meeting, Masconomet took a 17-11 lead into the second half and then stumbled through a 10-point second half.

Mak Graves (19 points) gets away from Maddie Doyle

This time around Pentucket had a 21-18 lead at halftime and it was the Chieftains pleasing the home crowd with a 38-point second half.

With the scored tied, 26-26, three minutes into the second half, Mak Graves took over.  The flashy junior put a jump shot, a three (from Cally McSweeney), and two free throws together.  Pentucket had just a free throw (Angelica Hurley) during this three-minute segment.  Masco had separation, 33-27.

The game was far from over.  Early in the 4th quarter two free throws and a Jess Galvin three (from Maddie Doyle) had the Sachems down four, 39-35.

Later, a layup by Angelica Hurley (15 points), a free throw (Anna Wyner), and a three by Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) and Pentucket was within one possession, 44-41, with 3:50 remaining.

Angelina Yacubacci (16 points) chased by Marissa DeLucia and Sara Fogarty

On this evening, Pentucket couldn’t stay close down the stretch.

“We were outplayed in the second half,” explained Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “We just didn’t have the legs to shoot the ball and defend at the end.”

Pressure games, tight games, always seem to come down to free throws in crunch time.

After an Olivia Filmore jump shot on an inbounds play started the final 3:50, the Chieftains paraded to the foul line twelve times.  They made ten!  “We made our free throws when we had to,” said Coach Romeo.

The Sachems had just two made free throws (in four tries) during the final 3:50.

That 14-2 finish for Masco was enough to give Pentucket a rare loss.

“Hats off to Masco,” said Coach McNamara.  “They are aggressive on this court and a tough team to beat.”

Marissa DuLucia covers Angelica Hurley (15 points)

Morgan Bovardi had seventeen points for Masconomet.  In the first meeting, Morgan was in foul trouble early and had a 3-point night.

Having both Mak Graves and Morgan on the court most of the night enabled the Chieftains to handle Pentucket’s non-stop pressure.

“You have to make plays against Pentucket because they play such great team defense,” said Coach Romeo.  “They won’t give you anything easy.”

Coach Romeo: “Jenna DiPietro, Olivia Filmore, and Paige Richardson made important contributions in the win.”

Paige had ten points and ten rebounds.

You had to think that it might be Masco’s night when in their first-half struggle to score points they were able to bank in two 3-pointers.

“We got some breaks early when those bank-three’s went in but it was a good sign,” Coach Romeo said.  “It loosened everyone up.”

In bounds play

Take those two shots away and Masco is down by nine at the half instead of three.

Both teams had surprising losses recently against teams they had defeated soundly in first meetings.  For Pentucket it was Notre Dame (Hingham) and for Masco it was North Reading.

But that’s why we show up to games; you never know what will happen.

The Chieftains honored their two seniors (Sara Fogarty and Marissa DeLucia) before the game.

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

Sara Fogarty

Anna Wyner in for two

Jenna DiPietro

Liv Cross

Mak Graves (19 points) gets loose

Marissa DeLucia

Morgan Bovardi (17 points) floats one up

Olivia Filmore guards Angelina Yacubacck

 

 

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Pentucket hits eleven 3’s in 68-44 win over Newburyport

Angelina Yacubacci applies the D to Sami Cavanaugh

Angelica Hurley had twenty-one points for Pentucket including four 3’s

(West Newbury MA) The Pentucket defense always catches your eye.

There are times when you’re sure that the Sachems must be using extra players because of the way they double team opponents.

Tonight their defense was good but 3-point shooting was even better as they defeated Newburyport, 68-44, on a very cold Monday evening.

Pentucket (12-1) has now won nine straight and have the best record in Division 2 North.  Swampscott is the only other D2 North team with one loss, but they’ve only won eight games.

Newburyport’s first-year coach Karen Grutchfield saw Pentucket in person for the first time. “They’re too good if we’re not smarter on each possession.”

The Sachems had good offense going from the get-go.  They jumped ahead 8-2 and ran that lead to 19-9 with two minutes left in the first quarter.  By then Pentucket had already drained three 3’s and they added another triple before the quarter ended and led, 23-9.

The Sachems would edge further ahead (36-18) at the half.

Abi Gillingham (11 points) gets two for Newburyport

The first two minutes of the second half settled the outcome.  Three different Sachems dropped three’s while at the same time NHS was held scoreless and had two turnovers.

Angelica Hurley (21 points) had the first triple after the possession was kept alive with two offensive rebounds.

Next it was Maddie Doyle assisted by Angelina Yacubacci.

Finally, Arielle Cleveland joined the 3-fest assisted by Angelica Hurley.

Those two minutes of long-range accuracy combined with shutdown defense extended the Sachem lead to 45-18.

“I give Newburyport credit,” said Coach John McNamara after the game.  “I thought that they out-hustled us in the second half.”

Center-court battle between Katie Hadden and Maddie Doyle

The Clippers (6-5) did put a nice run of ten unanswered points together at the end of the third quarter.  Both Katie Hadden and Anna Hickman (14 points) had multiple baskets during this stretch.

“The reason we won tonight was because we played together as a team,” explained Angelina Yacubacci afterwards.  That teamwork showed itself on defense as the Clippers had little space even to attempt 3-point shots.  The telling statistic was that Pentucket made eleven 3’s while Newburyport didn’t get any.

Coach Grutchfield: “It took us a while to get acclimated to what they were doing.  We have to be smarter with the ball and make better decisions.  I think that we can compete with them if we play better.”

Coach McNamara: “It’s human nature to let up.  We were up-and-down in the second half which isn’t always going to cut it.  We need to be more consistent.  We’ve got some work to do.”

Angelina Yacubacci (22)

Angelina: “We need to work on executing our offense better.”

Coach McNamara regarding all the made three’s: “I don’t know if they’re a good thing or a bad thing.  Maybe we’re settling too much?”

Angelica Hurley paced Pentucket with twenty-one points, including four three’s.

Jess Galvin had sixteen points with eleven of them in the breakaway first quarter.  She also had four triples.

Anna Hickman led Newburyport (14 points) and teammate Abi Gillingham added eleven points.

Kelsi McNamara (St. Joe’s) was in the house.

Bob Melillo (North Reading) and Bob Romeo (Masco) were also in the house looking at future opponents.

Newburyport box

Pentucket box

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

Megan Reading (33) and Sadie Vandenberg (22) look for a free throw miss

Meg Winn guards Angelina Yacubacci

Pentucket defense gangs up on Meg Winn

Angelica Hurley drives past Maggie Pons

Casey Snow (11) heads for the hoop

Greta Mauer (14)

Jess Galvin had eleven points in the first quarter

 

 

 

 

 

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Maddie Doyle’s defense sparks Pentucket in 39-27 win over Masco

Mak Graves (3) chased by Maddie Doyle and Angelina Yacubacci

Tight defense was on full display

(West Newbury MA) The girl didn’t score a point yet afterwards her coach was singing her praises.

“I told the team afterwards that Maddie (Doyle) did a fantastic job,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.

Maddie’s terrific defense on Masco’s Mak Graves was a key piece in the Sachems, 39-27, win tonight in Cape Ann League action.

“Mak is one of the best, if not the best, player around,” said Coach McNamara.  “Maddie battles and battles.  Our other defenders were ready to help but Maddie was front and center.”

Mak Graves finished with twelve points but her only open shots were at the foul line.

Mak Graves (12 points) gets inside

The final score in this one will fool you because Masconomet dominated the first half.  The Cheiftains (5-2) put eleven unanswered points together and turned an early 3-2 deficit into a 13-3 advantage at the 6:30 mark of the second period.  Mak Graves had both of her three’s in this segment.  One of them was a remarkable step-back three.

The visitors led, 17-11, at the half.

“I thought that in the first half we were terrific,” recalled Masco coach Bob Romeo.  “We came out of the gate flying.  Maybe we should have had a bigger lead.”

One thing that probably prevented a bigger lead was the limited floor time for sophomore Morgan Bovardi.  Morgan (“She’s one of our bigger scorers” – Coach Romeo) was a foul magnet all night and was on the bench longer than she played.

Pentucket (7-1) turned things around in the second half.  “We needed to play better defense and slow down on offense,” explained junior Angelica Hurley (15 points) afterwards.

Megan Reading (33) tries to block Mak Graves’ shot

The Sachems tallied so few points in the first half that the chances to flash their full-court pressure had been minimal.  In the second half, that changed.

After Mak Graves boosted the Masco lead to 19-11 with a layup through traffic, the Sachems went on a 10-point run.  Senior Jess Galvin started things with a triple.  Later, Angelica Hurley (15 points)  converted an offensive rebound and added three free throws.  Junior Angelina Yarabacci (13 points) contributed two free throws.  The streak of points gave Pentucket a 21-19 lead halfway through the third quarter.

Credit Masco.  They hung in there and at the end of the period the scored was tied at 24-24.

In a game when points seemed to come only in bunches, it was the next “bunch” that turned tonight’s game Pentucket’s way.

“We decided not to settle for the outside shot but instead get to the rim,” said Coach McNamara.

Angelina Yacubacci (13 points) finds an opening

The first 3 ½ minutes of the final period combined a point-producing offense with a shutdown defense.  The Sachems put nine unanswered points together and raced ahead 33-24.  Their shutdown defense didn’t allow a Masco point for the first 5 ½ minutes of the last period.  That combination almost always leads to a happy ending for the team doing it and that was what happened.

Pentucket had three points in the first quarter while Masco had three in the fourth quarter.

Masco had twenty-one turnovers by my count.  Twelve of them came in a first half in which they ended up with a 17-11 lead.  Pentucket finished with ten TOs with only four of them in the comebacking second half.

Marissa DeLucia stops Angelica Hurley

Bob Romeo: “Credit them.  We couldn’t get any offensive rhythm. They played great defense.”

John McNamara: “It is always a war with Masco.  They came out and took it to us.  It was nice to see us respond.  Any time you beat Masco it is a good win.  We’ll enjoy it while we can.”

Angelica Hurley: “Maddie (Doyle) did a great job on Mak Graves.  She’s a very good shooter.  Morgan (Bovardi) being in foul trouble made a difference.”

Bob Romeo: “I had no problem with out kids’ effort.  We held them to 39 points.  They had been averaging close to 60.  We’ll make more shots when we play them again in February.”

Watching Maddie Doyle and Mak Graves battle was a treat.  They both are relentless.

Full house at Pentucket and they got their money’s worth.

Casey Hunt (now of Bradford Christian) was in the house.

Masco box

Pentucket box

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

Angelic Hurley tries to go under and up

Jess Galvin and Morgan Bovardi dive for a loose ball

Liv Cross (32) tightly guarded

Sara Fogarty (12) and Angelica Hurley (24)

Liv Cross (32) tightly guarded by Sara Fogarty

Mak Graves (3) trying to get open

Mak Graves shoots free throws

Olivia Filmore (24) and Jess Galvin (12)

Olivia Filmore shoots a free throw

 

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