(Amesbury MA) Amesbury rallied from thirteen down in the final quarter and had a shot to tie it at the buzzer.
But the shot missed, and North Reading escaped with a 43-41 win in Cape Ann League action on Tuesday night.
The ups and downs in this game were significant.
If you came early, the Indians were unstoppable and off to an 8-0 lead in the first 1 ½ minutes.
If you saw just the middle section it was all Hornets. They drained three’s (8 of them) and took very good care of the ball.
If you looked in after NR sported a nice cushion (42-29) at the 6:41 mark of the final quarter, you saw Amesbury put pressure defense and thirteen straight points together and nearly catch the Hornets.
This certainly was a game where the good things and the things needing work were obvious for both squads.
“We needed to play that defense the whole game,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.
The visitors ran an excellent offense against single coverage. They passed, they drove, they got to the basket, and drew fouls. When the taller Amesbury defenders started to double-team in the final quarter, NR struggled and turned the ball over six times in four minutes and set up the Indians late-game run.
The Indians (1-1) got off to the electric start because scoring threat Flannery O’Connor was able to get the ball in close against light coverage. That quickly changed and most of the rest of the game Flannery had at least two defenders and sometimes a third one nearby.
“Once we start hitting our shots, we’ll be tough to beat,” added Coach Dollas. With Flannery so closely covered there were shots for teammates that didn’t fall this time.
North Reading (2-0) was good from long range. The Hornets struck eight times from far out with Ali Grasso and Casey McAuliffe getting three each.
Ali paced NR with sixteen points while Casey added twelve. Lauren Sullivan contributed eleven points.
Amesbury had twelve from Flannery and eleven from newcomer Avery Hallinan.
After the home team grabbed the quick 8-0 lead, North Reading followed with a 15-1 stretch that had them ahead, 15-9, early in the second period.
Later the Hornets put eight straight together in the third quarter when Lauren Sullivan’s full-court layup was followed by three’s from Ali Grasso and Lauren.
But no sooner did that happen in the third quarter than Amesbury puts its own run of points together. Mary Bullis hit a three from Alli Napoli and Flannery O’Connor drove the length of the court. Mary Bullis finished the run by converting her own missed shot.
Typical of this game, however, NR came back with its own version of good offense and was sitting pretty (42-29) with 6:41 remaining.
It is hard to believe that the Hornets had only one point (Ali Grasso free throw) the rest of the way.
Ciara Sullivan hit a couple of jump shots and Avery Hallinan made six free throws to key Amesbury’s late-game rush.
The Indians were within a point (42-41) but came up empty in the final minute. Ali Napoli got a shot off to the right of the lane in heavy coverage that missed to end the game.
The free throw shooting was not good in this one. North Reading missed ten (11-for-21) and Amesbury eight (12-for-20). The Indians had six misses within their thirteen-point rally in the final quarter.
Enthusiastic crowd on hand.
Alli Napoli took a heavy fall late in the game driving to the basket. Somehow, she managed to play on.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)