Tag Archives: Angelina Yacubacci

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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Pentucket stays undefeated with 57-33 win over North Reading

Angelica Hurley pressures Ali Grasso

Jess Galvin (12) guards Casey McAuliffe (10)

(West Newbury MA) The names change but the approach to defense doesn’t.

Pentucket (3-0) held North Reading (2-1) to just two points in the first quarter and went from there to a 57-33 win on Friday night.

Both teams had started the season with two wins over Cape Ann League competition.

“Pentucket is ahead of us,” said NR coach Bob Melillo afterwards.  “Their intensity level is better, and they are very good at running plays.”

On this night, the Sachems turned up layups on inbounds plays, backdoor cuts, and a full-court pass (Angelica Hurley) that led to a layup (Angelina Yacubacci) against full-court pressure.

Arielle Cleveland (16 points) tracks down a loose ball

After the first quarter (13-2) the Sachems joined the Hornets in struggling to score.  That lasted into the final quarter.  NR was within nine (31-22) as the 4th period began.

In that final quarter the Pentucket defense, which had been very good, was joined by a good-things barrage down the offensive end.  The points started flowing from in close (seven layups) and the lead reached twenty (50-30) 5 ½ minutes into the last quarter.

Arielle Cleveland led all scorers with sixteen points, including fourteen in the second half.  “Arielle is a very good basketball player,” said Coach John McNamara.  “She dominated the last portion of the game underneath at both ends.  She is only a sophomore and going to get even better.”

Lauren Sullivan paced the Hornets with eleven points.

Coach Melillo was disappointed with the way his team played.  “I thought that we would be much better than we were today,” he said.  “There were too many easy baskets and second-shot baskets.”

Julia Howse (33) blocks a shot

“North Reading is a very good team,” said Coach McNamara.  “I thought that they might be the best team in the CAL.”  Not on this night.  The Hornets never got comfortable against the hounding man-to-man coverage they faced.  Much of their movement on offense was east-to-west rather than toward the basket.

The North Reading defense was solid in the middle periods.  Sophomore Julia Howse had at least four blocks by my count.  She also made several terrific cross-court passes.  I won’t get into her skills as a shortstop on the NR softball team!

Angelina Hurley and Angelica Yacubacci each had fourteen points for Pentucket.

“We work a lot on in bounds plays,” said Coach McNamara.  “If you can get a couple of them to work in a game it’s big.”

Coach Melillo was optimistic about the future.  “We’ll get better.  I think that now the girls understand how hard they have to play for 32 minutes to compete with a team like Pentucket.”

Jess Galvin (12) looks for an opening

The Hornets were able to limit the Sachems to only three 3’s.  However, by closely defending the perimeter they opened up driving opportunities for Angelina, Angelica, and Jess Galvin.

I asked Coach McNamara about the after-effects of the overtime loss to Foxboro in the D2 state semifinals.  “The kids have gotten over the Foxboro loss.  As I coach, I don’t think I will ever get over it.”

North Reading was 16-6 last season.

Pentucket was 23-3 last season.

Coach McNamara is in his 13th season with Pentucket and currently has a remarkable 260-44 won/loss record during that time.

Good crowd in house on a warm (for December) night outside.

North Reading box

Pentucket box

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

Planning

Tight Pentucket defense

Ali Grasso (3) guarded by Maddi Doyle

Angelina Yacubacci (22) drives past Julia Howse (33) and Mia DeNofrio (23)

Angelina Yacubacci (22) eyes defender Julia Howse (33)

Blocking out

Casey McAuliffe at the line

Scramble on the floor

Julia Howse (33) at the line

Mia DeNofrio (23) in for two

 

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Pentucket takes D2 North title with 48-33 win over Wakefield

Hannah Dziadyk harassed by three Pentucket defenders

Casey Hunt on defense against Hailey Lovell

(Lowell MA) Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was that amount of time enough for Wakefield to prepare for Pentucket’s pressure.

The result? A 48-33 win by the Sachems (23-2) over the Warriors (18-6) on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Arena in the Divison 2 North final.

“No team in the Middlesex League plays that type of aggressive, double-teaming defense,” said WHS coach Jason Pavey afterwards. “It was tough to prepare for them in a day.”  The Warriors reached the D2 North final with a win over Wilmington on Thursday.

With today’s victory, Pentucket will return for a sixth time for a tournament game (Tuesday 5:45PM) at the TD Garden.  The good news for Pentucket is that they won’t be facing D3 Archbishop Williams.  The Sachems are 2-3 at the Garden and all three losses have been to the Archies.

The Warriors (18-6) had size and seniors.  After being down by seven in the first quarter, Wakefield started the second on a run of five points on a rebound basket by Allee Purcell and a free throw as well as a layup by Hannah Butler.  That narrowed the Pentucket advantage to 13-11 after two minutes in the second quarter.

Allee Purcell (11 points) ahead of everyone after a Pentucket turnover

That would be as good as it would get for Wakefield. The rest of the quarter the Pentucket defense stymied Wakefield while the Sachems scoring picked up.  Last six minutes of the half?  The Warriors had only a free throw (Hannah Dziadyk) while Pentucket collected thirteen points.

In that breakaway segment, Maddi Doyle had a free throw, but all the other points were on 3-pointers.  Casey Hunt started with an old-fashioned three.  Then it was Maddi Doyle, left all alone, draining a long one from straight away.  The last two?  Angelina Yacubacci set up by Casey Hunt and Liv Cross.

Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) made three 3’s

“The NBA lines on the court made it a little confusing at the start,” said Angelina after the game.

The Warriors trailed 26-12 at the half.

“We were better in the second half,” said Coach Pavey, “but we’d dug ourselves too deep a hole against a very good team.”

Pentucket’s lead was down to eight (33-25) after a buzzer-beating layup by Hannah Butler at the end of the 3rd period.

“They cut the lead to eight but then Angelina (Yacubacci) hit a three which was huge,” explained Pentucket coach John McNamara.

Pentucket applies pressure

The Warriors began the final quarter with four turnovers and the Sachems regained separation, 39-25, for good.  The final was 48-33.

It is easy to notice the Pentucket defense but what I am starting to notice is their ability to run an effective half-court offense when they have to.  Up by double-figures in the final quarter, there was plenty of organized movement that opened up lanes to the basket for layups or resulted in foul shots.

Angelina Yacubacci led all scorers with fifteen points.  Allee Purcell paced Wakefield with eleven points.

One of the keys to the Pentucket win was their ability to contain senior Hannah Dziadyk.  In this year’s post-season, Hannah had five 3’s against Burlington, seventeen points versus North Reading, and twenty-two points against Wilmington.  Maddi Doyle was the primary defender on Hannah although it seemed to me that there were multiple defenders most of the time.

Wakefield used a zone defense for part of the game.  “It was the first time we’ve seen a zone in a while,” said Coach McNamara.  The Sachems had several turnovers in the early going, trying to force passes into the interior of the Warrior zone.

Jelly Hurley hemmed in by Allee Purcell

“Wakefield hasn’t been this far in the tournament for a while, “said Coach Pavey.  “We had a lot of nervous energy and they wouldn’t let us settle in.”

“We want the other team to play at our pace and we try to force turnovers,” explained Casey Hunt afterwards regarding her team’s style of play.

“Our defense will take us as far as we’re going to go,” said Coach McNamara.  “Hopefully it will take us a couple more games.”

I like the Tsongas Arena.  The lighting is terrific.

Pentucket box

Wakefield box

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

Jess Galvin (8 points) puts up a three as Coach John McNamara watches

Maddi Doyle guards Hannah Dziadyk

Pentucket celebrates

Pentucket team

Jelly Hurley (24) gets away from Olivia Dziadyk

Casey Hunt (20) covered by Hailey Lovell (22)

Liv Cross (8 points) in for two

Angelina Yacubacci (22) on a breakaway after a steal

Casey Hunt drives on Allee Purcell

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket rides last quarter to 44-32 win over Newburyport

Casey Hunt tries to drive past Krysta Padellaro

Sophomore Angelina Yacubacci had sixteen points to lead the Sachems

(Newburyport MA) Pentucket 44, Newburyport 32.

It’s why I cover games!  Scores alone can be very misleading.

This wasn’t a “twelve-point” game. This was a close game with FOURTEEN lead changes through three quarters.

“Newburyport is a very good team,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

And that they were……….for three quarters.

The 4th quarter?  The Clippers defense was still good, but the offense disappeared.

“We needed to take better shots,” conceded Newburyport coach Gregg Dollas. “We needed to move the ball.  We really struggled with shot choices in the last quarter.”

Today’s last quarter probably brought back bad memories from the last time Pentucket and Newburyport faced each other.  It was March 1st in the first round of the D2 North tournament.  In that one the Clippers were down 12-1 after a quarter and ended up losing badly, 46-19.

Abi Gillingham and Liv Cross near the basket

Today it was the last quarter that sunk the Clippers. They were outscored 9-1 in that quarter and squandered a game in which they were impressive otherwise.

The Sachems (8-1) are a team that will press and use defense to create offense.

The Clippers (7-2) play a tight man-to-man defense and will run with turnovers and rebounds.

The most impressive thing about Newburyport (IMO) in this game was that they had fewer turnovers (12) than Pentucket did (19).  The Clippers took good care of the ball.

The most impressive thing about Pentucket?  Their game-long organized offense. They certainly looked to get the ball inside to junior Liv Cross (“She’s a stud! – Coach Dollas) but they were patient about it.

That patience on offense was most noticeable in the final quarter when Newburyport raised the pressure.

Angelina Yacubacci blocks Meghan Winn’s shot

Sophomore Angelina Yacubacci topped all scorers with sixteen points.  Angelina drained a three in the third quarter and made four straight free throws in the final two minutes to make NHS pay for fouling.

The best one-on-one matchup was between Cape Ann League All-Stars Casey Hunt and Krysta Padellaro.

Krysta lost some time because of fouls.  “We can’t have her sitting on the bench with foul trouble,” said Coach Dollas.

Coach McNamara also had a key player on the bench with fouls. Inside threat Liv Cross sat out in the first half with two quick fouls. “We missed having her out there,” said Coach McNamara.

Newburyport broke away from a 9-9 tie 1 ½ minutes into the second half.  A rebound basket by Abi Gillingham, a steal and layin by Anna Hickman, and a Maggie Pons jump shot from the right had the Clippers in front by six (15-9).

Back came the visitors with nine straight points.  Two inside scores by Angelina Yacubacci and a layup by Emily Riley was followed by a 3-point shot (off the backboard) from straightaway by sophomore Angelica Hurley.

Against some teams a Pentucket run like that one is the beginning of an avalanche of points.  Not this time.  The Clippers had answers and took the lead three more times.  An inbounds play by NHS (to Abi Gillingham) tied the score at 31 with thirty-five seconds left in the 3rd period.

Thereafter, Newburyport’s inability to make shots or even draw fouls did them in.  Meanwhile, the Sachems scored the next seven points, including another three by Angelica Hurley (from Casey Hunt) that put Pentucket up, 38-31.

The Clippers finally got a point (free throw Meghan Winn) with two minutes left but the last six points scored in this game were by Pentucket’s Angelina Yacubacci.

Pentucket is looking to win their fourth straight Cape Ann League title.

Abi Gillingham deflects Angelica Hurley’s shot

Player to watch?  Newburyport’s Abi Gillingham. The 6-1 freshman is a presence at both ends of the court.  She discouraged several Sachems shooters from even attempting a shot in close to the basket.  “She has potential,” added Coach Dollas.

Now in his 12th year, John McNamara has a remarkable 240-42 record.  Many of those losses are against non-CAL teams.

The Clippers did put a 33-29 win together against Pentucket last season on February 14th at Newburyport.

The two Division 2 opponents will meet again on February 9th at Pentucket.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

(All pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Angelica Hurley dives for a loose ball

Jess Galvin takes a three from in front of the Pentucket bench

Anna Hickman chases a ball going out of bounds

Krysta Padellaro sees an opening

Krysta Padellaro guards Angelina Yacubacci

Paige Gouldthorpe and Liv Cross collide

Bella Doyle

Pentucket had nineteen turnovers

 

 

 

 

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Strong second half gets Pentucket girls past North Reading 50-35

Pentucket trap

Pentucket trap

(West Newbury MA) Pentucket had a rousing second half and defeated North Reading, 50-35, in Cape Ann League action on Tuesday night.

These teams shared the league title last year and split their games with each other during the season.

Graduation had put a serious dent into both teams and I was curious to see what they would be like this season.

The defenses on both sides were impressive.  There were very few direct routes to the basket.

One of the glaring stats in this game was the high number of turnovers.  By my count, each team committed twenty-five of them.  The traveling violations by both squads almost reached the epidemic level.  But that is what happens when defenses play well.

Taylor Moore (33) and Emily Riley (31) eye one of the many rebounds off of free throws.

Taylor Moore (33) and Emily Riley (31) eye one of the many rebounds off of free throws.

The other glaring stat was the free throw shooting.  It was atrocious.  The Sachems (3-0) missed twenty-three times while the Hornets (2-1) missed ten.

The visitors broke away from a 6-6 tie (2:41 of the first) and had a ten-point lead (22-12) with 2:12 to go in the second quarter.  The key to the NR breakaway was made 3’s by Taylor Moore, Victoria Grasso, and Ali Grasso.

Meanwhile, Pentucket struggled to make any kind of shot.

The second half was an entirely different story.  Pentucket put in two freshmen (Angelina Yacubacci and Casey Hunt) to start and off the Sachems went.  The home team made shots and that allowed their press to get set up.  NR did not react well and had eleven of their TO’s in the third quarter alone.

Angelina Yacubacci had nine points in Pentucket's third quarter

Angelina Yacubacci had nine points in Pentucket’s third quarter

Angelina Yacubacci led the Sachems with nine points and all of them came in the terrific Pentucket third quarter.

Pentucket put a 15-1 run together to get ahead for good, 27-23 with an Alyssa Demeule layup assisted by Bella Doyle at 2:30 of the 3rd quarter being the final points.

By the end of the 3rd, the Sachems led, 34-27, and looked to be pulling away for good.  Suddenly, however, in two straight possessions in the final quarter, the Hornets (Casey McAuliffe, Lauren Sullivan) drained 3-pointers.  Now within a point (34-33) with 6 ½ minutes left, it was once again anyone’s game.

That Pentucket defense that had been good turned to very good over the final 6 ½ minutes.  NR was limited to two points by a defense that would not allow penetration.  There was plenty of side-to-side stuff going on but getting to the basket ended for North Reading.

In the same final minutes, Pentucket started with nine unanswered points. They had two layups (Liv Cross, Emily Riley) on assists by freshman Casey Hunt.  An NR turnover led to a layup (Emily Riley) and then senior Colleen Jameson added a dagger-three to drive the Pentucket lead to ten (43-33) and this game was history.

Sophomore Casey McAuliffe led all scorers with ten points.

Casey Hunt (20) and Ali Grasso (3)

Casey Hunt (20) and Ali Grasso (3)

Key matchup, with plenty of future potential, was between freshman point guards Casey Hunt and Ali Grasso.

NR’s 6-5 Jess Lezon is now at Yale.  Jess had seventeen points and twenty rebounds in the Hornets win last February at Pentucket.

NR’s Kat Hassapis will be playing soccer at Bentley in the fall of 2017.

John McNamara’s coaching record at Pentucket is now at 217-35.  This year’s team is young but the defense is very good.  The offense?  They have size but taking advantage of it versus NR led to many turnovers.  I’m guessing that the foul shooting will become less “foul” as the season goes on.

The biggest surprise for me was the temperature in the gym.  What happened to the heat?  Anyone who has been there in the past knows how tropical it was.  Maybe a window was open?

North Reading was 20-3 last year and reached the D3 North finals.  Pentucket was 16-6 and lost in the first round to Triton.

Pentucket box

North Reading box

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

Casey Hunt breaks away

Casey Hunt breaks away

Bella Doyle (14) dribbles in traffic

Bella Doyle (14) dribbles in traffic

Colleen Jameson made two 3's for Pentucket

Colleen Jameson made two 3’s for Pentucket

Second half starters for Pentucket

Second half starters for Pentucket

loose ball

loose ball

Lauren Sullivan drives

Lauren Sullivan drives

Liv Cross (32) makes a layup

Liv Cross (32) makes a layup

Kat Hassapis fouls out

Kat Hassapis fouls out

Lauren Sullivan sets to shoot with Alyssa Demeule defending

Lauren Sullivan sets to shoot with Alyssa Demeule defending

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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