Tag Archives: Avery Hallinan

Amesbury girls win D4 title defeating Millbury 57-31

Amesbury wins the Division 4 girls title
Amesbury players in front of the student section afterwards

(Lowell) Mission accomplished.

“This was our goal and we worked so hard this season to get here,” said Amesbury senior Liv DeLong afterwards.

The Amesbury Indians are the Division Four girls’ champs for the 2021-22 season.

They made it happen this afternoon at the Tsongas Arena by defeating Millbury, 57-31.

Ashleigh Lagor (13 points)

After a close first quarter (7-6), the Indians found their scoring touch and continued with a persistent man-to-man defense.  That combo enabled Amesbury to outscore the Woolies 50-25 over the last three quarters.

“After the first quarter they were better than us in each quarter after that,” said Millbury coach Steve Reno post-game.  “To be fair, that was probably accurate.”

“We’re not that disappointed with the result,” Coach Reno added.  “We needed a perfect game to beat them.  We needed to make every shot and every free throw and hope they had a rough night.  That didn’t happen.”

The key to the Indians point production was patience. 

“We worked together passing as much as we could and found the open shot,” said McKenna Hallinan.

Gabby Redford (14 points)

Gabby Redford (14 points) broke open a 16-13 game hitting three 3’s and adding a layup assisted by McKenna Hallinan.

Gabby’s hot shooting gave Amesbury it’s first ten-point lead (27-17) four minutes into the second half.

That lead would grow.  As Millbury’s 2-3 zone got stretched to cover outside shots, Avery Hallinan took over the inside.

“Once we started making shots, it opened up Avery inside,” explained Amesbury coach Dollas. 

Layce Hermans connected from long range to get the Woolies inside of ten points (29-20) with three minutes left in the third quarter. 

Avery Hallinan (20 points)

After that a steady flow of Amesbury’s multi-passes led steadily to Avery Hallinan finishes around the basket.

“They played a zone, so you need ball movement to get it inside for a one-on-one,” said Avery (20 points). 

“You know what happens when it’s one-on-one inside,” Avery added with a smile afterwards.

“The zone worked for a while, but they kept isolating Avery (Hallinan) down on the block,” recalled Coach Reno.  “Ash (Lagor) did a good job on her for three quarters, but she had eleven points in the last quarter.”

McKenna Hallinan defends

While the Woolies defense wavered, the Amesbury defense didn’t.  That combination transformed a 29-20 game into a 44-22 game over the next 4 ½ minutes of playing time extending into the fourth quarter.

“We got up by twenty and got to chill out for the end of it,” said McKenna Hallinan.  “It was a lot less stressful.”

“What Gabby and McKenna did defensively on #10 (Bianca Vincequere) and #11 (Ashleigh Lagor) was great,” said Coach Dollas.  “Those two young Millbury players were terrific with a bright future.”

The biggest cheer of the game?  It wasn’t when the game was over, although that was loud.  It was when the coach’s daughter (Emma) banked in a three-point shot in the last moment.

Emma Dollas 3-pointer excited the Amesbury faithful
Layce Hermans heads for the hoop

“It was her first points of the season,” said Coach Dollas afterwards with a smile.

Sophomore Ashleigh Lagor led #10 Millbury with thirteen points.  The Woolies (19-6) are in the Southern Worcester County League.

Sami Kimball (10 points) joined teammates Avery Hallinan and Gabby Redford in double figures for the #4 seed Amesbury.  The Indians (21-4) are in the Cape Ann League.

Sami Kimball blocks a shot

Coach Dollas had nothing but praise for his four seniors (Avery Hallinan, McKenna Hallinan, Gabby Redford, Liv DeLong): “They are competitive in everything.  They came to play every time.  For them to be healthy after all the games and minutes they put in shows that they were taking good care of themselves.”

Coach Reno: “We wanted to drive-and-kick and make three’s.  However, we couldn’t get to the paint, and we knew that if we did their size would be trouble.”

Sami Kimball: “We put it together.  All our practicing paid off.  It’s a really big moment for us and the school.”

Gabby Redford: “I’m so happy we did it.  I knew we could do it.  We passed the ball and we worked as a team.  Our defense was really good.”

Avery Hallinan

Avery Hallinan: “It is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had.  It was great to bring the championship home.  We settled down in the second half.  We realized that it was our game if we moved the ball around and hit our shots and layups.”

Liv DeLong: “To win a championship has been the goal of the four of us since second grade.  It’s bittersweet now however because basketball is over.”

Coach Dollas: “I don’t ever expect to have four seniors like our four.  They are truly extensions of the coach.”

AHS seniors Liv DeLong, Avery Hallinan, McKenna Hallinan, Gabby Redford
Katelyn Gasco surrounded

Avery Hallinan scored at least twenty points in all five of Amesbury’s tournament games.  She will be playing at Endicott next year.

Gabby Redford will be playing basketball at Framingham State.  McKenna Hallinan will play soccer for UMass Boston.  Liv DeLong is committed to play softball at BU next year.

A foursome truly blessed with athletics skills and a commitment to get better.  They combined to deliver a state championship to Amesbury on this happy afternoon for the town.

Amesbury   7   15   16   19   =   57

Millbury      6     8      8     9   =   31

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Millbury Woolies post-game
Late-game battle on the boards
Gabby Redford goes baseline
Sami Kimball (10 points)
Ashleigh Lagor looks for a passing lane
Bianca Vincequere guarded by McKenna Hallinan
Avery Hallinan in from the left side
Avery Hallinan looks to pass
Millbury box
Amesbury box

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Amesbury reaches D4 state final after defeating South Hadley 61-57

Amesbury advances to the Division 4 state final
Avery Hallinan (29 points)

(Framingham MA) How would Amesbury handle adversity?

For all three tournament games, the comfortable leads came early, and the game endings were anti-climactic.

Then there was tonight!

Amesbury was down by nine (28-19) one minute into the second half and then in the fourth quarter Avery Hallinan fouled out with five minutes left.

But Amesbury showed comeback skills and survival skills and defeated South Hadley, 61-57, to gain the Division 4 state finals to be held this weekend at Tsongas Arena (Lowell).

Kacie Levrault (17 points)

Avery Hallinan (29 points) was the key piece in Amesbury’s turnaround third quarter.

South Hadley played man-to-man defense so Amesbury responded by spreading the court keeping Avery close to the lane.  Avery started to take advantage of the inside coverage and put a 16-point quarter together.

Her traditional 3-point play with 1:50 left in the quarter put the Indians in the lead (35-33) and completed a comeback from a 28-19 deficit at the start of the quarter.

“My first half wasn’t good at all,” said Avery, “but in the third quarter we pulled it together.”

Avery Hallinan had 16 points in the 3rd quarter

“Our third-quarter run was key,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas.

After the Tigers (17-8) tied the score at 37-37 on two Olivia Marion free throws, Avery was able to pick up a remarkable six points in the final nineteen seconds.

To get the points Avery spun into a layup and made two free throws on Amesbury’s next possession. When the Tigers tried a last-second shot from the other end there was a traveling call with 1.5 seconds left.  That gave McKenna Hallinan time to get a pass in close to her sister near the basket for another layin.

The Indians (20-4) led, 43-37, after three quarters.

Liv DeLong

Things got even better for Amesbury in the first two minutes of the final quarter.  A three by Avery and a left-all-alone layup by Liv DeLong and the Amesbury lead was ten points (48-38).

The margin started feeling a bit comfortable but that comfort was short-lived.

Why?

With five minutes left Amesbury’s 29-point scorer fouled out. Where would the Amesbury offense come from the rest of the way?

Junior Sami Kimball was twice set up for layups, first by Gabby Redford and then by McKenna Hallinan.  After McKenna added two free throws Amesbury had increased its lead (54-43) by a point without Avery and there were less than two minutes left.

Olivia Marion (14 points)

Comfortable lead now?  Hardly!

The team from the Suburban Conference began to drain three’s and send Amesbury to the foul line.

Two of the three-pointers were Kacie Levrault’s (17 points) and the other two came from Alex Jackson and Olivia Marion.

But the Indians had answers.  They made free throws.  In the final 1:44, Amesbury made nine-of-ten from the line.  McKenna was seven-for-eight in the final quarter.

“It was a little nerve-wracking without Avery out there,” said McKenna (10 points). “I was really focusing on my foul shots.”

McKenna Hallinan (10 points) was 7-for-8 from the line in the final quater
Loose ball

“Everyone stepped up without Avery,” said Coach Dollas.  “Maybe doing that will help us in the next game.”

The Tigers ran off twelve unanswered points starting at the end of the first half and extending into the third quarter.  Amesbury’s 19-16 lead turned into a, 28-19, deficit.

This collection of good offense and defense featured three’s by Alex Jackson and Kacie Levrault as well as inside scores by Drew Alley, Talia Uribe, and Kacie Levrault.

Drew Alley (9 points)

“We got beat by a good basketball team,” said South Hadley coach Paul Dubuc afterwards.  “There was a three-minute span where it got dicey.  Some things went against us, and we didn’t turn the tide.”

In fouling out, Avery did get a five-minute rest but it wasn’t one she enjoyed at all.  “It was NOT fun getting a rest,” she said.  “I like being on the court better.  It was stressful.  I think I almost had a heart attack!”

“But my teammates did a great job,” she added.  “McKenna hit some big free throws at the end.”

Liv DeLong: “I’m so proud of our team.  I had to keep my hands down because they were calling a lot of fouls.  I was confident that we’d be okay after Avery fouled out.  We were going to get the win for her.”

Alex Jackson

Gabby Redford: “We played together as a team.  Our defense had to be solid to beat them.  Avery had a very good game, but I was confident that we could do it without her.”

Sami Kimball: “My nerves were going on those layups I had.  I was afraid that I would miss them, but I didn’t.  South Hadley was short but very quick.”

Coach Dubuc: “We’re very proud of our kids.  We’re just sorry that we don’t have another game.”

Coach Dollas: “We had to play with a lot of guts at the end of it.  We just didn’t shoot well for the majority of the game.  We needed all of that ten-point lead at the end.”

Sami Kimball (9 points)

Senior Olivia Marion (14 points) had all of her points in the second half.

The Tigers were very good at running organized offense against Amesbury’s man-to-man defense and turning up quality inside shots.

Amesbury had the size and passing skills to keep South Hadley’s full-court pressure from bothering them too much.

There was plenty of active crowd support for both teams.  And both sides had things to cheer about.

Amesbury   13   6   24   18   =   61

South Hadley   10   13   14   20   =   57

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Gabby Redford
Sami Kimball layup assisted by McKenna Hallinan
Avery Hallinan
Defensive coverage
McKenna Hallinan
Gabby Redford and Talia Uribe
CC Gurek
Angie Bessone
Celebrating a win
Amesbury box
South Hadley box

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Amesbury reaches D4 Final Four with 56-37 win over Hamilton-Wenham

Amesbury reaches the Final Four in Division Four
Avery Hallinan (25 points)

(Haverhill MA) On January 21st, Hamilton-Wenham defeated Amesbury, 51-45.

That result transformed both teams.

The Generals realized that if they played their best, they could knock off a very good team.

For Amesbury, it alerted them to what can happen if they don’t play very well.

This afternoon at Whittier, the Indians were on their game and never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance.

Jane Maguire (15 points)

Amesbury won, 56-37, and are now in the Division Four Final Four. They will face South Hadley on Tuesday at Framingham at 5PM.

“We thrive on man-to-man defense, but Amesbury is absolutely the worst team for us to try to match up with,” said HW coach Mark Cole afterwards.  “They’re big and they can shoot.”

Senior Avery Hallinan continued her post-season dominance with twenty-five points matching her total in Amesbury’s previous game with Frontier.  In the tourney opener vs Cape Cod Academy, Avery collected thirty-three points.

In transition Avery has been gathering points driving.  In Amesbury’s half-court offense, she has set up down low and feasted on single coverage.

Avery Hallinan in close to the basket with single coverage
AHS coach Gregg Dollas

“Our loss to them earlier made me anxious about this game,” explained AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.  “Our girls, though, always come to play and I knew that they weren’t going to let another loss happen.”

“We said coming in that we can’t get behind,” explained Coach Cole.  “We’ve got to come out of the first quarter even.”

Just the opposite happened.  Amesbury rolled off to a 12-1 lead (14-4 after a quarter) and it was clear that the HW defense was in trouble.

“The big thing was ball movement,” recalled Avery Hallinan.  “In the loss to them, we were forcing too many shots and passes.  Today we worked it in, and we worked it out and got shots from everywhere.”

HW coach Mark Cole

While Avery had a ten-point first quarter, the Amesbury defense concentrated on talented HW senior Jane Maguire.

Jane had five three’s in the win over Amesbury in January.

“We focused on covering the three because that’s their specialty,” said McKenna Hallinan.  “Jane (Maguire) is a great player.  We play her in soccer too.”

Gabby Redford covered Jane most of the game.  “I tried to stop her from getting off three’s,” said Gabby. 

Jane led the Generals (17-6) with fifteen points and did make three 3’s.  However, many of those points came in the second half when Hamilton-Wenham already had a twenty-point deficit.

Avery Hallinan goes baseline

The Indians (19-4) doubled up HW in the second quarter (24-12) on a Liv DeLong triple.

McKenna Hallinan’s two free throws in the third quarter increased the margin to twenty points (44-23) with 1 ½ minutes left in that quarter.

The rest of the game saw bench clearings for both squads.

Junior Sami Kimball had eleven points to go with shot blocks and rebounds.  “It’s such a great moment,” she said, “to get to the Final Four.  I’ve been dreaming about this since I was in middle school.  We learned from our loss to them and really played as a team.”

Kailee Whelan

Liv DeLong added ten points.  “We worked the ball to each other and spread the court.  They had trouble guarding Avery and Sami.”

McKenna: “We focused on getting the ball inside because when we beat them, they couldn’t cover our bigs.”

Coach Dollas: “We played defense from start to finish.  All five of our starters were phenomenal.  Cali (Catarius) came off the bench and held her own.”

McKenna Hallinan

Coach Cole: “The one team I didn’t want to play until the finals was Amesbury.  I think that the winner of today’s game will win the whole thing.”

An active crowd attended supporting their respective schools. 

Amesbury has now won ten of their last eleven games.

HW finished winning ten of their last twelve games.

“If anyone had told me that at the start of the season that we would win seventeen games, I would have told them that they were nuts,” said Coach Cole.  “But we got better and after our Amesbury win, we gained the confidence that took us three rounds into the post-season.  I’m very proud of what we accomplished.”

Amesbury   14   13   19   10   =   56

              HW   4   10   10   13   =   37

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Game ends
Ellie Marden
Michaela DeSimone
Christa Coffey pressured by Avery Hallinan
Gabby Redford
Lily Cassidy
Sadie Gamber and Gabby Redford
Avery Hallinan in alone
Jane Maguire and McKenna Hallinan
Battle for control
Sami Kimball blocks a shot
Final Four banner

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Avery Hallinan (25 points) leads Amesbury past Frontier 50-39 in D4 Round of 16

Avery Hallinan (25 point)
Avery Hallinan drives

(Amesbury MA) Even the referee wanted to know who was covering her!

His reason was that he had given the wrong number at the scorer’s table for the Frontier girl who had committed the foul.

So he asked the Frontier team, “Who was covering #11?”

That was a new one on me.

Avery Hallinan (#11) was the one who was fouled. She was indeed well covered most of the night yet still carried Amesbury to the Round of 8 with her 25-point performance against the Redhawks.

Kylie Laford (14 points)

The final was 50-39.

The Indians (18-4) play Hamilton-Wenham at Whittier on Saturday at 3PM.

The visitors from South Deerfield went down by double figures in the first quarter and briefly recovered.

In the second quarter, Avery’s jump shot (assisted by her sister McKenna) extended the lead back to double figures (19-8).  Frontier couldn’t break inside of ten points the rest of the way.

“We were a little jittery coming off the bus,” said Frontier coach Dave Machon afterwards.  “When we got our feet under us it was a little too late.”

Avery had a sixteen-point first half carrying Amesbury to a 25-12 first half lead.

Liv DeLong (14 points)

Liv DeLong (14 points) started the second half with three consecutive inside scores.  Liv’s strong game around the basket boosted the AHS advantage to nineteen points (31-12) just 1 ½ minutes into the second half.

Credit Frontier.  They “won” the rest of the game with organized offense and better defense.

“They figured out our defense and hit more shots,” said Avery post-game.

Kaitlyn Mackin (13 points)

Frontier senior Kaitlyn Mackin scored eleven of her thirteen points in the second half.

Amesbury’s Sami Kimball was assigned to cover Kaitlyn.  “Coach told me that I had to really clamp her up tonight,” said Sami, “because she’s one of their better players.  She reminded me of Ali (Napoli) because she was tall and tough on the boards.”

“Our first-half defense was everything we practiced,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas.  “In the second half they were setting screens all over the place and we were getting lost.”

“There weren’t many substitutions,” he added, “so our defense may have had tired legs in the second half.”

Frontier coach Dave Machon

Junior Kylie Laford paced Frontier with fourteen points.  She had two 3’s in the first half.

Going into the game, teams had been averaging only thirty-three points per game against the (17-5) Redhawks.

Amesbury got fifty points.  Avery had half the points.  There were no successful 3’s from Avery.  Tonight, it was drives and free throws with a couple of jump shots in the lane for the Endicott commit.

Avery took on one defender and on several occasions two defenders on her way to inside scores.

McKenna Hallinan

“She was too much to handle tonight,” said Coach Machon referring to Avery.  “She was a huge factor.”

“It feels great to play further than we were able to last year,” said Avery referencing Amesbury’s next game.  “We love Whittier.  We played there our freshman year.  They have the great Bulls’ intro there.”

This was the last Amesbury home game for their talented senior quartet (Avery Hallinan, McKenna Hallinan, Gabby Redford, Liv DeLong) that have keyed years of Indians’ successes.

Gabby Redford

“This is what we’ve been working for since we were freshmen,” said Liv DeLong.  “It is really sad that this is our last game.  We’re made a lot of memories here.”

Amesbury   12   13   15   10   =   50

Frontier         4     8    11   16   =   39

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Kaitlyn Mackin looks for an opening
Kaitlyn Mackin and Sami Kimball
Alena Maes-Polan
Liv DeLong (14 points) and Kaitlyn Mackin (13 points)
Sami Kimball looks for a place to pass
McKenna Hallinan tied up
Avery Hallian shoots through two Redhawks defenders
Avery Hallinan lines up a shot
Scramble on the floor
Kylie Laford (14 points) shoots over Avery Hallinan
Amesbury box
Frontier box

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Amesbury downs Manchester-Essex 58-38

Gabby Redford (22 points)
Avery Hallinan (18 points)

(Amesbury MA) “We couldn’t find the basket and they couldn’t miss,” said Manchester-Essex coach Lauren Dubois.

“We came out on fire,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos.

The Indians (13-3) put the Hornets (3-12) away early and coasted to a, 58-38, win on Tuesday night.

Amesbury played a tight half-court, man-to-man defense and didn’t hesitate to initiate fast breaks.  In their half-court offense, the passes were quick, and the layups and open looks were plentiful.

“We’ve been slowing down and not moving the ball enough lately,” explained senior McKenna Hallinan afterwards.  “We want to pass quickly and get open shots and that’s what we did tonight.”

Amelia Donnellan (7 points)

The Indians got off to an impressive 12-0 lead in the first 4 ½ minutes.  Senior Liv DeLong was the key in the fast start.  Liv nailed a jump shot (from McKenna), a layup (from Avery Hallinan), and then put in a rebound.

Emma Fitzgerald broke the ice for the Hornets and then Amesbury went off on another run of unanswered points.

This time it was fifteen straight.  Avery Hallinan and Gabby Redford did most of the scoring damage for the Indians.

Avery found room in the lane for four layups.  Gabby put in a rebound, connected on a three (from Sami Kimball), and hit a runner in the lane.

Gabby Redford gets in with a left hand

Avery finished the night with eighteen points while Gabby led all scorers with twenty-two points.

“They’re a great team with a lot of weapons on the offensive end,” said ME coach Lauren Dubois.

“They went box-and-one on Avery, but other players scored and then Avery started to score,” recalled Coach Dollos.

“We did what we had to do,” he added.

The two long runs of consecutive offense by Amesbury put them in front, 27-2, early in the second quarter.  The Hornets didn’t have the firepower on this evening to get much closer.  Both coaches substituted liberally thereafter.

McKenna Hallinan

“We have been trying to fix the problems we’ve been having,” said McKenna.  “We want to make fewer mistakes with the playoffs coming up.”

The Indians are in Division 4 and according to the most recent MIAA power ratings are in third place.  The top thirty-two teams make the playoffs.  The higher seeds get the crucial home games in tourney play.

I asked McKenna about her sister reaching 1000 points: “It was great that Avery got 1000.  I got to assist on the basket that she got it on and that was the best part.”

Calista Lai

Coach Dubois: “We wanted to make sure that we were fighting all the way through tonight and we were.”

The Hornets have beaten Swampscott twice and also have a win over Georgetown.

Amesbury has won five straight.

Amesbury   23   19   10   6   =   58

ME                 2    17    9   10   =  38

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Manchester-Essex box
Amesbury box
Manchester-Essex break in
Rebound battle
Amelia Donnellan splits two Amesbury defenders
Cali Catarius
Tight Amesbury defense
Sami Kimball looks to pass
Arm grab in the lane
Mercedes O’Neil
Avery Hallinan layup
Gabby Redford

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Avery Hallinan reaches 1000 points during Amesbury win (64-43) over Beverly

Avery Hallinan celebrates with her family
Avery Hallinan (28 points)

(Amesbury MA) It was not a matter of if, but when.

Avery Hallinan was within fifteen points of 1000 going into tonight’s non-league game with Beverly.

“I was quite certain that I would get the fifteen points either today or on Friday (against Georgetown),” said Avery afterwards.

But tonight would be the ideal time because her family (including her grandmother) was in attendance and her brother Jake was there with the Amesbury boys basketball team.

Angelina Mazzone (13 points)

During the game the Beverly Panthers had trouble keeping Avery away from the basket.  Her willingness to attack the inside of an opponent’s defense has been her trademark.

Avery ended up with twenty-eight points in a memorable evening for her and the team. That her team would win, 64-43, just added to the sweetness of the night.

The 1000th point was part of an inbounds play in the second quarter.  Avery used a screen from teammate Liv DeLong to get open in the lane. She then received an inbounds pass from her sister (McKenna). One dribble to the right and Avery was in for a layup earning a place on the 1000-point banner that hangs on the gymnasium wall.

Gabby Redford (15 points)

“Tonight was a great night for Avery and the team,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.

“We had a lot of motivation tonight,” said Avery.  “We were coming off a loss (to Hamilton-Wenham) and we were ready to play.”

Beverly (3-10) fell behind early, 13-5, but while everyone appeared to be concentrating on when Avery would get her 1000th point, the Panthers slipped back into contention in the second quarter.

Battle for a rebound

A jump shot by Nikki Erricola put the visitors from the Northeast Conference down only, 24-20, in the second quarter with 3 ½ minutes left.

However, the next six minutes of playing time were dominated by Amesbury.  The Indians put an 18-2 segment together and 2 ½ minutes into the second half, had a comfortable, 42-22, lead.

Avery would get two more baskets before the 3rd quarter ended and then watched the final quarter from the bench.

Sami Kimball guarded by Lauren Caley

Lauren Caley (12) and Angelina Mazzone (13) were Beverly’s leading scorers.

I was impressed with the organized offense that Beverly ran.  However, the Panthers didn’t shoot very well, and the persistent Amesbury man-to-man defense had something to do with that. 

The Indians (10-3) shot very well.  “Tonight was one of the better nights we’ve had in sharing the ball,” said Coach Dollas.

Senior Gabby Redford netted fifteen points as her shots were falling regularly. She struck from long range and scored going to the basket.

Gabby Redford

“It felt good to be scoring points,” Gabby told me afterwards.  “I always release early, and I got some nice passes down the court from teammates.”

“Gabby had a great game,” said Coach Dollas.  “If she hadn’t been injured in her freshman and sophomore seasons, she’d probably be at the 800/900-point level now.”

“I will be going to Framingham State next year,” said Gabby. “It was the first school I talked to.  I will get to play two seasons with Flannery O’Connor (former Amesbury star) which will be fun.”

The Framingham State team is currently 13-3.

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Ball control
Ellie Marden in a Beverly trap
McKenna Hallinan
Fighting for possession
Nikki Erricola
Molly Potter guarded by McKenna Hallinan
Beverly coach Seth Stantial
Student section cheers Avery
Sisters
Avery Hallinan down the lane
Gabby Redford in for two
Angelina Mazzone ready to shoot
Beverly box
Amesbury box

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Long-range Reading downs Amesbury 59-33

(Pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)

Jackie Malley (29 points including seven 3’s)
Avery Hallinan (18 points)

(Wilmington MA) “You can live by the three and you can die by the three.”

You usually hear that line when a team starts hot from long range but doesn’t know when to stop shooting from out there.

Fast forward to this afternoon’s girls’ basketball game between Amesbury and Reading.

There was no second part to the Rockets’ long-range game today.

Cali Catarius chases Ella Abreu

They not only lived by the three, but they thrived on it!

Reading connected from downtown thirteen times and overwhelmed Amesbury, 59-33.

This was a first-rounder in the Wilmington Holiday Tournament.  Both teams play again tomorrow.

Senior Jackie Malley (29 points) was amazing for Reading from the get-go.

McKenna Hallinan to the rim

Jackie had a sixteen-point first quarter that separated the Rockets from the Indians in a hurry.

“They couldn’t miss,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.  “I didn’t think that our defense was that bad.”

But on this afternoon, Reading (3-2) clicked consistently from beyond the arc.

Jackie Malley had seven of those three’s and her sister Jess had two others.

Jackie Malley looks to pass

“We have a lot of good shooters,” said Jackie afterwards, “and we found them really well today.  I just took shots as they came and felt confident.”

Jackie is committed to D3 basketball next year at St. Lawrence University in New York.  The Saints are located, as the name suggests, along the St. Lawrence River in northern New York.

“Jackie (Malley) had a great game today,” said Reading coach Kara Melillo post-game.  “She’s led us all year.  She definitely set the tone for us offensively and defensively.”

Ciara Keane scores

The Rockets started the first two minutes of the second quarter with a three from freshman Molly Trahan (16 points) followed by a three and a layup from Jackie Malley.  That burst of offense gave Reading a 29-9 advantage.

This one had long-afternoon written all over it for Amesbury.

The Indians (3-1) had limited their opponents to the 30’s but by halftime today the Rockets had a 32-19 lead.

An Amesbury optimist would have expected in the second half that the team from the Middlesex League would cool off while the team from the Cape Ann League would put some points together and make it a closer game.

Avery Hallinan to the rim

Not today.

In the third quarter, the Rockets made three more three’s, while holding Amesbury to only three points.

“We didn’t play together enough on offense,” said Coach Dollas.  “We need to fix that.”

The Indians settled too often for drives through traffic and the first open look that showed up.

Avery Hallinan (18 points) was the most successful of the Indians in getting to the basket.  She drew contact and ended up taking fourteen free throws.

Jackie Malley in close

The Rockets put a 19-1 run together in the second half to expand their lead to, 54-22, 2 ½ minutes into the final quarter.

“When you’re hitting 3’s, two or three feet outside the line with consistency it’s pretty hard to defend,” said Coach Dollas.

“Every game I’ve watched them play they didn’t hit like this,” he added.  “It was something I’ve never seen.”

“We worked really hard in practice this week,” said Jackie Malley. “We tried hard to move the ball around and everyone contributed.  We trusted each other.”

Gabby Redford

It was one of those games in which even when the Rockets missed a long shot, they were often able to find the rebound.

Coach Melillo: “We had one of our better practices yesterday.  The kids played with a lot of energy today.  The shots were falling today and that certainly helped us.”

Coach Dollas: “I doubt that we’ll see anyone as hot as this team in the Cape Ann League.”

I was impressed with the Wilmington facility.  It had plenty of seating as well as open space around the outside of the court.  The lighting was also very good.

Reading   21   11   15   12   =   59

Amesbury    9   10   3   11   =   33

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

Ella Abreu passes
Avery Hallinan guards Emily Bass
Eyeing a rebound
Molly Trahan (1) challenges a shot
Avery Hallinan sees an open lane
Tight Reading defense
McKenna Hallinan
Sami Kimball
Liv DeLong
Reading box
Amesbury box

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Amesbury defeats Manchester-Essex 2-0

Avery Hallinan had a goal and an assist for Amesbury
MK McElaney

(Amesbury MA) “MK (McElaney) gives great corners and they always somehow come to my head,” said Avery Hallinan.

Twice this afternoon in the first half, the Indians turned set plays into goals and defeated Manchester-Essex, 2-0, at Cashman Elementary School.

Avery ended up with an assist and a goal.

“This was the best we’ve looked for a while,” said Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau afterwards.  “We worked together as a team.  We defended as a team.  It was old-school Amesbury.”

Another tough outing for the Hornets (2-10-1).

Their inability to score goals this season has offset their hustle and strong goaltending (Madi Cook).

Emalia Collins (11) shoots at GK Zena Fitzgerald

The Hornets have been limited to four total goals in this season’s thirteen games. In the last nine games they have scored only once.

ME had several glittering chances today (as my pictures will show) but came up empty.

Senior Emalia Collins had a break-in from the right late in the second half that Amesbury GK Zena Fitzgerald turned away.

A goal there and that 2-0 Amesbury lead would have been cut in half and the momentum would have shifted to the Hornets.

“A 2-0 lead is the scariest lead to have,” said Coach Baker.  “We just needed a goal.”

Cali Catarius and Riley Doherty

“Zena has kept us in every game this year,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “We have had a string of very talented goalies at Amesbury.”

Amesbury (6-6) had defeated Manchester-Essex, 2-0, over a month ago with two second half goals.

“It took us a while to score last time,” recalled sophomore Cali Catarius.  “This time we scored early.”

Seven minutes into the first half, MK McElaney sent a deep free kick toward the ME goal.  As the kick came past the far post, Avery Hallinan slid in between two defenders to head the ball.

I thought Avery had headed the ball into the net because of the instant celebrating.  Wrong.  Avery had indeed headed the ball but back toward the front of the net.

There stood junior Lidya Belanger.  Off Lidya’s shinguard went Avery’s header and into the net.

“That first goal was almost mine,” said Avery, “but it’s okay.  I’ll take the assist.”

Lidya Belanger scored her first goal

“Lidya was in the right spot,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “The best goals are when you don’t have to shoot.”

It was Lidya’s first career goal.

Near the end of the first half, MK McElaney lined up a corner kick.

“We noticed last game with Manchester-Essex that the back post was a little open,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “We want to create chaos in front of the net.”

The Cashman field is narrow and reaching the far post for a strong kicker like MK is a regular occurrence.

This time Avery was in the midst of several Hornets defender but elevated to redirect MK’s corner kick into the ME net.

“We’ve gotten killed on set plays this season,” said Coach Baker.

McKenna Hallinan breaks in

In the second half, the Amesbury senior trio of Avery & McKenna Hallinan and MK McElaney put pressure on the Manchester-Essex defense several times.

“We’ve been playing together for probably ten years,” recalled Avery.  “We work well together.”

Manchester-Essex GK Madi Cook was left to face Amesbury attackers alone several times but earned a second-half shutout.

Riley Doherty: “Defensively, we held our own.”

Cali Catarius: “I am okay with playing anywhere.  (Cali had been a striker.)  We played well through the middle.  Our passes were better than in previous games.  Riley and I are a very good team back there.  We’re working on turning and playing the ball up the field.”

Stella Mitchell and Sarah Baker

Coach Baker: “We have a great bunch of girls.  It’ll get better.  We just didn’t do as well in the final third of the field as we would like.  Our passing was an issue and they capitalized on our mistakes.”

Avery Hallinan: “We were a lot more focused today.  All of us hustled.”

Cali was part of the Amesbury softball team that lost the one-run heartbreaker to Turners Falls in the state finals in June.  “That still is a sensitive subject,” said Cali when I asked her if she had gotten over that loss.  “We’ll get them next year.”

Avery Hallinan: “I want to play basketball in college.  I like UMass Boston (her sister McKenna is going there for soccer), Endicott, and St. Joe’s.”

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

Ema O’Neil and Lidya Belanger
McKenna Hallinan and Amelia Donnellan
Loose ball in the ME end
Avery Hallinan gets a head on the first Amesbury goal
Amesbury GK Zena Fitzgerald sees a shot by Libby Lawler
Kendall Newton (16) in on the right for a shot
Riley Doherty
Ella Arntsen and Lidya Belanger
Kendall Newton and Chloe Molin
Libby Lawler and MK McElaney
Golden chance in front for the Hornets
Amelia Donnellan and Bayleigh Shanahan
Header by Avery Hallinan (11) headed for the net for the second Amesbury goal
Emma Dollas
Save by Manchester-Essex GK Madi Cook
Avery Hallinan (left) and Lidya Belanger (12) celebrate goal

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Fast start key as Amesbury gets 39-23 win versus Ipswich

Riley Daly (16 points) even with tight coverage

Avery Hallinan (18 points) even against a good Ipswich zone defense

Liv DeLong (10 points) on the baseline

(Amesbury MA) Sometimes the start can finish a team.

That’s what happened to Ipswich as they fell to Amesbury, 39-23, on Tuesday night in Cape Ann League play.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Tigers coach Chris Tolios,” and dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of.”

Amesbury (2-1) had nine unanswered points to start the game.

Early in the second quarter the Indians put eight straight together.

When those two collections of consecutive offense were over, Amesbury was in front, 19-5, four minutes into the second quarter.

The two teams were even the rest of the way but the ship had sailed on the Tigers.

McKenna Hallinan looks to pass

A tight Amesbury man-to-man defense saw to it that Ipswich (1-4) stayed double digits away thereafter.

Avery Hallinan had eighteen points to lead the Indians.  Twice in this one (in the 2nd quarter) she hit from long-range.

Amesbury had five 3’s in the game.  “We hit three’s,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards, “and we needed that against their tough zone.”

Riley Daly (16 points) paced Ipswich.

“McKenna (Hallinan) did a great job covering her,” said Coach Dollas.  “Riley is one of the best players in the CAL.”

Riley Daly gets to the basket

Riley was tightly covered on the perimeter and was confronted with extra defenders when she tried to get to the basket.  Somehow, even with the special attention, the Ipswich senior made shots.

I have seen all three Amesbury games, and the biggest improvement tonight was their passing.

“The ball movement was greatly improved,” agreed Coach Dollas.

And it needed to be against a well-organized Ipswich zone.

“Riley does a great job in the middle of that zone,” said Coach Dollas.  “She’s so athletic and she made it tough for Avery who lives in there.”

The heavy traffic, however, didn’t seem to deter Avery too much when passes did get inside.  She was willing to absorb contact, attempt layups, draw fouls, and collect points.

“We had good ball movement,” explained junior Gabby Redford post-game.  “Definitely better than last game (Lynnfield).  We passed well and got good looks out of it.”

Gabby Redford (22) finds a teammate for a layup

Gabby had several assists.  “I looked up and they were cutting through, so I got them the ball.”

Carter King (12) on defense

Coach Dollas: “He (Chris Tolios) does a terrific job with his kids.  They hang around in every game.”

Coach Tolios: “Amesbury played good physical defense.  We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.  We work a lot on defense in practice.  Our girls don’t quit.  Even when the ball is not going into the basket you can still play hard defense.”

Gabby Redford: “I have been thrown off by the way the season has gone.  Last year we had so much more practice and time to prepare.  Now everything is rushed.  I am still very happy to be playing.”

Covid-19 concerns have affected both teams.  Amesbury had its first five games postponed.  Ipswich hadn’t played in thirteen days.

Ipswich coach Chris Tolios

Liv DeLong notched ten points for Amesbury.

Only three players scored for Ipswich.

Usually low-scoring games indicate a plentiful amount of turnovers, but not this time.  Why?  Ipswich kept the ball in Riley Daly’s hands as much as possible while Amesbury lessened their tendency (in the first two games) of panicking under pressure.

Amesbury box

Ipswich box

This coverage will be linked in Twitter @mcclellandpeter and should appear on Mascores.  I plan to also post some of the pictures on Instagram @mcclellandmiscellanea.

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

Alyssa Pettet (14) moves up to guard Riley Daly

Julia Moseley

Sami Kimball

Ava Horsman blocks McKenna Hallinan’s shot

Carter King tangles with Avery Hallinan

Avery Hallinan rebounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amesbury holds off Lynnfield 47-43 for first win

McKenna Hallinan and Bella George go to the floor for a loose ball

Avery Hallinan (18 points) drives past Riley Hallahan

(Amesbury MA) There were six ties and six lead changes.

But it was Amesbury that took the last lead change.

The Indians were able to put together a good collection of offense/defense in the closing quarter and defeated Lynnfield, 47-43, on Friday night.

The winless Pioneers didn’t score a point in the final 6 ½ minutes.

This was only the second game for the Indians (1-1).

Three days ago, Amesbury faced Newburyport after just three days of practice.  The result (46-18) wasn’t pretty.

Alyssa Pettet defends Grace Klonsky (11 points)

“It certainly felt better tonight than last game,” said Avery Hallinan (18 points) about the team’s first win.  “We were more settled and definitely ready for this one.”

Lynnfield (0-5) which had also lost badly (61-29) to Newburyport, were in this game until the end.

“I saw them on film,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas.  “They were much improved today.”

An issue for the Pioneers was depth.  Injuries had limited them to only seven players in uniform.

The short bench caught up to Lynnfield in the last quarter.

Abby Adamo to the basket

Up until then, the Pioneers made shots and disrupted Amesbury with double-teams and pressure.

“We were better today,” said LHS coach Jeannine Cavallaro post-game.  “We implemented a press the other day and they did a good job of executing it.”

At 6:30 of the final quarter, Grace Klonsky (11 points) nailed a jump shot from straight away and the Pioneers were up, 43-40.

Maybe it was the short Lynnfield bench.  Maybe it was tighter Amesbury defense.  Take your pick and/or add other reasons, but the Pioneers didn’t score another point.

Gabby Redford’s drive, and later her assist on a McKenna Hallinan three, gave the Indians the lead for good, 45-43, with 3 ½ minutes left.

Alyssa Pettet shoots a free throw

Several minutes later, Alyssa Pettet set up teammate Liv DeLong for a baseline jumper to boost the Amesbury margin to, 47-43, with 1 ½ minutes remaining.

That was how it ended but not before Lynnfield had good looks and Amesbury had free throws.  However, there were no successful connections on either end, and the Indians held on for the victory.

“In the first half we were hitting,” said Coach Cavallaro.  “The second half we were a little tired and I think it affected our shooting.”

Lynnfield’s Caroline Waisnor (17 points) was on fire in the first half notching fourteen points.

Caroline Waisnor (17 points) at the line

Avery Hallinan covered her.  “She’s a very good player and I love playing against her,” said Avery.

Avery Hallinan and Caroline Waisnor

Avery had eighteen points with most coming off drives.  Three of the baskets were set up by her sister McKenna.

“We were certainly better on offense today,” said Coach Dollas.  “Every game is going to be a grind.”

“Alyssa Pettet made big plays for us late in the game,” added Coach Dollas.  “She set up a basket and had a steal.”

“Amesbury had size,” said Coach Cavallaro.  “We had trouble shooting against them on the inside.”

Caroline Waisnor beat the clock with a late three to end the third quarter.

The Pioneers had a six-point lead (26-20) three minutes into the 3rd quarter but two 3’s by senior Mary Bullis (assisted by Liv DeLong) brought Amesbury even.  Liv’s cross-court passes gave Mary open looks against Lynnfield’s zone defense.

Sami Kimball blocks out

“I was certainly happy with our offense tonight after only getting eighteen total points at Newburyport,” said Coach Dollas.  “However, I didn’t like giving up forty-three points although they were really hot early in the game.”

Coach Dollas told me that he had heard multiple answers on whether or not there will be playoffs at the end of the season.

Avery Hallinan: “The Newburyport game was almost like a warmup game because we had so little preparation.  Now we’re moving on.  We did much better today.”

Amesbury box

Lynnfield box

The link to the game story & pictures will be on Twitter @mcclellandpeter.  I send Mascores the stories and some have been posted.  Pictures will appear on Instagram @mcclellandmiscellanea tomorrow.

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

Bella George and Gabby Redford

Ava Buonfiglio shoots a free throw

Grace Klonsky past McKenna Hallinan and in for two

Grace Klonsky

Inbounds lineup

Gregg Dollas and Jeannine Cavallaro

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