(Topsfield) Before a sizable Sunday afternoon crowd, Pentucket turned a strong final two minutes into a, 57-54, win over Masconomet in a matchup between two of the best girls teams in the state.
Evenly matched? How about eleven ties over the course of the game with five of them in the frantic last quarter?
After the last tie (47-47) with 2:54 left, Masco broke out with a triple by Chelsea Nason (17 points) and two Danielle Davis (9 points) free throws to get up by five (52-47) with 2:13 left.
Pentucket’s response won the game for them. Two freebies by Sarah Higgins (she was an amazing 9-for-9 from the line), a driving layup by Alex Moore, and gutsy triple by Alex (from Kelsi McNamara) went unanswered by the Chieftains. This consecutive action put the Sachems on top, 54-52, with thirty seconds left.
Masco’s Katie Hutchinson missed the front end of a one-and-one with fifteen seconds left. Coley Viselli (16 points) took the rebound and was immediately fouled. She made both free throws to stretch the Pentucket advantage to 56-52.
Brooke Stewart (8 points) drove the length of the court to close her team’s deficit to two (56-54) with six seconds left. Coley Viselli received the inbounds pass and Chelsea Nason (5th foul) sent her to the foul line with five seconds left.
Coley missed the first and made the second. Danielle Davis dribbled to midcourt before attempting a tying long one that went wide as time ran out.
If Chelsea Nason hadn’t fouled out she probably would have been the one taking the last shot. She had connected on five 3’s during the game.
The foul shooting was excellent for both teams. Pentucket made 21-of-25 while Masco hit 10-of-13.
The Chieftains started the second period with six unanswered points (21-15) before the Sachems strung thirteen unanswered back (28-21) over the next eight minutes of playing time stretching into the third quarter.
Chelsea Nason’s triple midway through the third quarter finished Masco’s rally back to a 32-32 tie. Seven ties followed the rest of the way. Pentucket closed with a 10-2 game-decider.
Pentucket (7-0 in Cape Ann League D1 / 11-4 overall) lost Tess Nogueira (groin injury) with a minute left in the third quarter and the score tied at 37-37. I thought at the time that Pentucket might be in serious trouble because Tess had shadowed Brooke Stewart into a non-factor status. But Alex Moore took over and, although at least six inches shorter than Brooke, was able to limit the talented senior to just four points the rest of the way.
Besides the good fill-in defense, Alex (13 points) put up seven in the final quarter including the go-ahead triple with thirty seconds left.
Masco (5-1 in CAL / 9-2 overall) had won seven of their last eight games before today’s loss. I saw them defeat a highly regarded Central Catholic team in Lawrence last Sunday.
Both Masco and Pentucket are in Division 1 of the Cape Ann League. When it comes to the MIAA tournament, however, Pentucket slides down to Division 3. Could that have been why St. Mary’s Jeff Newman was in the house?? I saw Jeff’s Spartans oust Pentucket from the tournament last year at Wilmington.
Two of the most sideline-active coaches were in action today and it was hard not to watch them even as the game was going on.
Bob Romeo (Masco) is at least 6’5” with a loud voice. Dressed in a pink shirt for the Coaches vs. Cancer event he was pretty hard to miss.
Meanwhile, down the other end was Pentucket’s John McNamara. He spent more time on the court than most of his players. I did see him kick the bench – I have a coaching friend who broke a toe doing that. John had a legitimate complain late in the game when someone in the Masco band used their trumpet (?) as a noisemaker while Coley Viselli was shooting free throws. Earlier, with 4:16 left John got hit with a technical foul. Brooke Stewart made both technical foul shots.
I guess it begs the question, why are coaches allowed on the floor when the game is going on? At the least, it is very dangerous. What do the rules say??
Both coaches have tremendous records and produce competitive teams year after year. Graduation never seems to slow them down.
Brooke Stewart (8 points) was overheard saying at halftime that she “had a blister the size of Mexico.” That’s big and surely a distraction.
Pentucket has won eight of their last nine. They are at Manchester-Essex on February 3rd.
Masco hosts Hamilton-Wenham on January 31st.
Driving bare roads with snow nowhere in sight on January 29th? Delightful!
(The pictures above and below all enlarge if you click on them.)