Tag Archives: Coach Gregg Dollas

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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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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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 pressure defense key to 49-31 win over Watertown in D3 North Quarter Finals

Taylor Lambo double-teamed

Watertown under pressure

(Amesbury MA) The Amesbury offense was rusty, but their defense certainly wasn’t.

The Indians (#2 seed) rode their full-court, pressuring, trapping defense to a 49-31 win over Watertown (#10 seed) in the Division 3 North quarterfinals on Friday night.

“The defense saved us tonight,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “We hadn’t played in ten days and it showed on offense.”

The Indians (19-2) broke away from a 10-10 tie early in the second period on an Alli Napoli full-court drive and built their lead the rest of the way.

Avery Hallinan (16 points)

“We started off really slow but after a while we settled down and made our shots,” said sophomore Avery Hallinan (16 points).

Watertown led early (6-0) but generating offense was a game-long struggle thereafter.

“Their pressure kept us out of rhythm,” said Watertown coach Pat Ferdinand.

“We focused on our defense and trapping in our recent practices,” explained McKenna Hallinan. “It really helped us today. We needed to switch on pick-and-rolls because #53 (Taylor Lambo) was involved and we wanted to deny her the ball.”

Taylor ended up with thirteen points.

“#53 (Taylor) did a good job inside,” said Coach Dollas.

Amesbury registered seven straight points after tying the score at 10-10.

Alli Napoli (14 points) on her way to the basket

Alli Napoli (14 points) collected three layups in this surge. One was a full-court drive through the entire Raiders defense.

“She (Alli) was dynamic,” said Coach Ferdinand. “Regardless of what we did she was able to control the flow of the game.”

“Alli had another good game,” said Coach Dollas.

Amesbury’s next game will be at a neutral site, so this not only was another of the 1000-point scorer’s “good” games but her last at AHS.

The Indians ended the first half with two Gabby Redford (13 points) free throws that started Amesbury into ten unanswered points.

The Raiders (10-12) had gotten within seven (22-15) on a Brittany Catsoulis jump shot before Gabby’s free throws.

While the Raiders were shut out for nearly six minutes of the third period, the Indians scored eight in a row.

Gabby Redford (13 points)

Avery Hallinan had a layup and an old-fashioned 3-point play while Gabby Redford cashed the new-fashioned version of a three-pointer.

“I thought Gabby hit some big shots for us tonight,” said Coach Dollas. “She was a 2nd team Cape Ann League All-Star for good reason.”

The Amesbury lead had been built to 32-15 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

The teams played even (point-wise) the rest of the way.

Watertown’s Ellie Monahan had eight points in the second half including a buzzer-beating triple to close the third quarter.

The Raiders needed stops to go with their improved offense in the final period but on this night couldn’t find it.

“At times we got stops but we couldn’t get baskets on the other end,” said Coach Ferdinand.

Taylor Lambo (13 points) at the line

Watertown is from the Middlesex League. In their first-round game they defeated Latin Academy, 46-36. Taylor Lambo had twenty-two points, fifteen rebounds, and three blocks in that one.

Amesbury is in the Cape Ann League. Their two losses this season have been to the D2 North #1 seed (Pentucket) and the D3 #1 seed (St. Mary’s).

Coach Dollas: “Our defense was really good. We didn’t want them to be able to set up their offense. That was our goal. We had good energy the whole time.”

Gabby Redford: “At first it was very stressful because we were down at the beginning. It was good for us to step up in the second half. The fan section really helped.”

Mary Bullis: “I thought the girls stepped up on defense. Because of the pressure, #53 had to bring the ball up. I’m not sure she wanted to do that. I know that feeling.”

Coach Ferdinand: “I’m proud of our girls. We didn’t have enough tonight. Sometimes you see that a team has an edge on you. You just try to compete as much as possible and we did.”

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

Watertown coach Pat Ferdinand

Taylor Lambo passes

Taylor Lambo looks for an opening

McKenna Hallinan

Liv DeLong defends an inbounds pass

Leah D’Amico looks for an opening against Ashlee Porcaro

Izzy Cambece

Gabby Redford and Catherine LaForte guard Taylor Lambo

Flannery O’Connor honored at halftime

Brittany Catsoulis and Ciara Sullivan

Battle for control

Ashley Shaughnessy chased by Avery Hallinan

Alli Napoli in among four Raiders

Alli Napoli floats in against Taylor Lambo

 

 

 

 

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Amesbury edges Fenway 68-63 and gets St. Mary’s in Spartan Classic final

Avery Hallinan (27 points) in for two of them

Fifty turnovers in this game – Fenway (28), Amesbury (22)

(Lynn MA) This game was hardly smooth.

Sixty-four free throws and fifty turnovers.

Whistles galore.

Amesbury rode their accurate free throw shooting (29-for-35) to a 68-63 win over Fenway in the First Round of the Division 3 Spartan Classic.

Amesbury will face St. Mary’s in the title game Monday night. It is not a reach to think that one of these two teams will be playing at the TD Garden on March 9th or 10th in the D3 state semi-final game.

Fenway has two six-footers (Janyah Gulley & Kayana Armbrister) but Janyah fouled out in the third quarter and Kayana in the fourth quarter with five minutes left.

“Their big girls getting into foul trouble certainly helped, “said Amebury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “His subs, however, did a good job of keeping them in the game.”

Alli Napoli (21 points)

This was a one-possession game (62-59) going into the last minute. Then an Alli Napoli (21 points) layup, assisted by Sadie Kermelewicz, raised the lead and Avery Hallinan (27 points) sealed the deal with four straight free throws.

Avery struggled from the floor tonight, but at the line? Wow! The sophomore made 17-of-19.

Avery also had several steals and took three charges.

“We focused on taking charges and making our free throws,” added McKenna Hallinan.

“We scored sixty-eight and we didn’t shoot well,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas. “Avery on the line was huge. Our free throw shooting saved us because our outside shots weren’t falling at all early on.”

The Panthers (11-6) got off to a terrific start.

Imani Terry (16 points) helped Fenway get off to a fast start

In the first twenty seconds, senior Imani Terry (16 points) hit a three, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and made a layup.

The next points after that were on a rebound basket by sophomore Wynter Neal (14 points).

Coach Dollas immediately went for a timeout after the 7-0 beginning. “I’ve never seen a start like that,” he said.

“That timeout settled us down,” recalled McKenna.

Amesbury (18-1) has not been behind very often, or for very long, this season but against a quality team like Fenway there was no quick recovery.

The Indians put a run of eight straight points together in the second quarter to get to within two (22-20) but D4 Fenway was still ahead (29-26) at halftime.

Janyah Gulley fouled out in the 3rd period

Amesbury got the unanswered run of eight off a successful inbounds play (Alli Napoli) and a full-court Alli drive. Avery Hallinan made two free throws and then took a steal in for a layup for the other four points.

Alli drained Amesbury’s only three, 1 ½ minutes into the second half, to tie the score at 31-31.

Shortly after the score was tied, the first of Fenway’s two tallest players (Janyah Gulley) fouled out.

Sophomore Kayana Armbrister (20 points) soars into the lane

It would have been easy at this point to think that Amesbury would take advantage but Fenway’s Kayana Armbrister (20 points) had other plans. Kayana made free throws and started the final quarter with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Fenway led, 43-40.

Amesbury then made their run to the front for good.

Free throws (Avery Hallinan), a layup (Gabby Redford) assisted by Alli Napoli, and a drive (Avery) put the Indians ahead, 46-43, with six minutes left.

A minute later, Kayana Armbrister was gone on fouls after Avery Hallinan took the charge.

The Panthers were in trouble and down, 59-51, with 2:20 left. But they weren’t out.

Consecutive three’s (Wynter Neal & Imani Terry) vaulted the team from the Boston City League to within a possession, 59-57, with 1 ½ minutes left.

Alli Napoli got a point back on a free throw before Fenway committed their 28th turnover.

McKenna Hallinan shoots a free throw

Two free throws by McKenna Hallinan were answered by two from Wynter Neal….62-59.

Amesbury tallied six points in their next three possessions while Fenway picked up four points. The Panthers had another free throw point but lost it on a lane violation.

“It cost us not having our six-footers late in the game,” said Fenway coach John Rice post-game. “You’ve got to play the game. You’ve got to do the best you can with the players you’ve got.”

Fenway was missing starter Omariah Ashley.

The Panthers have won the Boston City League three straight years.

Alli Napoli looks inside

Fenway’s 11-6 record is misleading. Three of their losses were to D1 schools.

Amesbury’s only loss was to D2 defending champs Pentucket on January 28th.

Pentucket’s coach John McNamara picked up his 300th win tonight. He’s reached that total in fifteen seasons. That’s a 20-wins-per-season pace!

Avery Hallinan: “The game was interesting. We started really, really, really bad. Then we slowed it down and got fouls on their best players which we like to do. We started to hit our shots and passed to get layups.”

Fenway box

Amesbury box

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

Wynter Neal and Avery Hallinan

Surrounded by Indians

Sophomore Kayana Armbrister

Senior Alli Napoli

McKenna Hallinan

Janaiya Printemps and McKenna Hallinan

Fenway coach John Rice

Inbounds play

Izzy Cambece

Ciara Sullivan

Alli Napoli guards senior Janyah Gulley

 

 

 

 

 

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Beth Castantini Trifecta: 28 points, 1000 points, and Newburyport win (55-36) over Marblehead

(Marblehead) Beth Castantini needed eight points to get to 1000.  The Clipper senior took care of that business before the first quarter was over, then went on to get twenty more in a 55-36 Newburyport win over Marblehead on Wednesday afternoon.

Beth Castantini poses with teammates after the game

Beth Castantini with Coach Gregg Dollas and her parents

This was a nonleague game that ends the regular season for the two tournament-qualifying teams. A team needs ten wins to get in.

In this game, Newburyport (13-7) broke away from a 2-2 tie and never looked back.

Clippers celebrate 1000-point moment in a timeout

Beth’s spin inside in the opening quarter gave her the points she needed for 1000 with little over a minute left.  She followed the 1000th point basket with a jumper off a rebound and a feed to Lilly Donovan for a score before the quarter ended.  That trio of baskets put Newburyport ahead, 19-7.

A run of six by Lindsey Cohen (18 points) put some intrigue back in the game (19-13) but a Beth baseline jumper and an assist on a Lea Tomasz jump shot gave the Clippers a 27-18 advantage at halftime.

It should be noted that during that second quarter, point guard Aly Leahy rolled her ankle and didn’t return.  The Clippers will need her back when tournament play starts next week.

It should also be noted that with Aly out, the point guard the rest of the way was the versatile Beth Castantini.

Lindsey Cohen (18 points) on her way to one of her eight layups

The Magicians were still within nine (34-25) with 3 ½ to go in the third quarter.  However, they didn’t score a point over the next three minutes as Newburyport offered up nine straight.

This is how Newburyport collected the nine unanswered: Beth layup after a terrific save by Lilly Donovan of a ball going out of bounds, a Katy Bennett free throw, a converted rebound of her own miss by Mary Pettigrew, two Beth free throws, and an inbounds (pass from Molly Rowe) jump shot in the lane by Beth.

That solid offense turned the nine-point deficit into an eighteen-point deficit (43-25) and significantly lessened the  suspense in predicting the outcome.  The closest Marblehead could get the rest of the way was thirteen (47-34) midway through the last quarter.

Senior Lindsey Cohen scored well for Marblehead.  The Clippers had trouble keeping her from taking the ball to the basket – all of her points came from layups.

Beth attracts defenders

All of Beth’s twenty-eight points were made in the first three quarters.  She also had four assists.  There were no 3’s in the point collection.  The Magician defense obviously were aware of her but didn’t have a matchup or a defense to keep her from getting good looks in high percentage areas.

Marblehead (10-10) will be in Division 2 of the state tournament.  Newburyport is Division 3.

Newburyport won the first meeting (43-25) on Martin Luther King Monday.  In that game, Marblehead was missing two starters – Kathryn Digiammarino and Sydney Pliner.  The Clippers were without Molly Rowe.  Beth had twenty the first time around.

Newburyport made their two 3’s at the end of the game.  Seldom-hesitant, long-range shooter Casey Barlow made the first and seldom-looking-for-her-shot Caty Bennett had the second go in off the backboard.

I saw St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newman in the house.  Let’s see, his team (last year’s state champs) is in D3 and Newburyport is in D3.……..

Newburyport boxscore

Marblehead boxscore

(The pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.)

Beth with her parents

Beth with Coach Dollas

Mary Pettigrew heads down the lane

action under the basket

Lea Tomasz shoots over Emily Freedland (7 points)

Aly Leahy

McKenna Barrett (#20) and Lindsey Cohen (#15)

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North Andover starts fast and never looks back in 47-36 win over Newburyport in girls basketball

Morgan Lumb (22 points) launches a triple. She made four of them in the game.

(Newburyport)  North Andover started NASCAR fast and left Newburyport in the distant dust while cruising to a 47-36 win at NHS on Friday night.

NHS senior sign

Prior to the Newburyport’s final regular-season home game, the Clippers recognized their three seniors (Beth Castantini, Molly Rowe, and Cady Bennett) and their parents. That was the last celebrating the home team would do.

The Knights shut down Newburyport for the opening six minutes and were up twelve zip.  NA hit the Clippers hard on both ends.  Their trapping and scrapping wrecked any kind of flow toward Clipper scoring opportunities while on offense their passing and cutting gave great looks.

NHS coach Gregg Dollas went through two quick timeouts with the volume in the huddle much louder in the second one.

After the noisy timeout the Clippers put in their best six minutes of play in the game.  They outscored the visitors, 16-7, and trailed only, 19-16, with four minutes to go in the first half.  The key to the good play was getting points from seven different players.  Meri Adsit had an old-fashioned 3-point play assisted by Molly Rowe to highlight the Clipper surge.  As the points rolled up, it was North Andover coach Susan Breen using a timeout to try and cool off Newburyport.

Leah Chittick (12 points) flies in for a layup.

And did the Clippers cool off.  It was like the disastrous beginning of this game all over again.  NA rattled off seven straight to end the first half (26-16) and their run wasn’t finished.

The third quarter saw NA’s Morgan Lumb put on an awfully good Brooke Stewart (Masco) impersonation, dropping fifteen of her game-high twenty-two points on the stunned Clippers.  There were three triples, a nifty spin down the lane, a turnover turned into a layup, and two free throws.  Dazzling display by the junior!

The Clippers found themselves behind, 43-21, after three quarters.

The final score of some games is misleading and this is certainly one of them.  NA got up, 45-21, fifteen seconds into the last quarter and didn’t get any more points until the very end, as liberal substituting kicked in for both teams.  The Clippers put together a collection of fourteen unanswered points but never got closer than ten.

Senior Beth Castantini (10 points) heavily defended by MacKenzie Mello

Newburyport (11-6) has all road games left starting Monday night with arguably the best team in the league, Pentucket, at Pentucket.  The Clippers have now lost three straight and need to find some positive traction before the Division 3 state tournament starts.

North Andover (10-6) qualified for the Division 2 state tournament with the win over Newburyport.  Their record is a bit deceiving since they lost to the best girls’ team in the state (Andover) twice this season.  The Knights next game is versus Triton at home on Tuesday night.

Freshman Leah Chittick had twelve points for the Knights.

Beth Castantini (10 points) led the Clipper scorers.  Lilly Donovan had six points and had the unenviable task of chasing Morgan Lumb around for a good part of the night.

I had hoped to get a picture of the seniors with their parents but it just didn’t work out.

North Andover boxscore

Newburyport boxscore

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

Morgan Lumb

Rebecca Kell shoots

Senior Cady Bennett

Aly Leahy and Leah Chittick

Alex Medlock defends

Senior Molly Rowe

Pam Coufos breaks away

loose ball

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Strong Finish Gives Pentucket Girls 2011 Provident Bank Tip Off Classic 44-37 Over Newburyport

Beth Castantini surrounded by three Pentucket players.

Game MVP Coley Viselli puts up layup in traffic.

(Newburyport)  Two of the best girls’ teams in the area opened the 2011-12 basketball season against each other in the Provident Bank Tip Off Classic on Monday night.

A strong final quarter gave the visiting Pentucket Sachems a 44-37 win over the Newburyport Clippers.

Pentucket (20-5 in 2010-11) predictably came at the Clippers in defensive waves all over the court and let the long ones fly with abandon on offense.  Sometimes it worked……….sometimes it didn’t.

After a fast start (3-for-5) Pentucket’s long ball accuracy vanished, as 2-for-16 the rest of the way would suggest.  But three minutes into the final quarter junior Alex Moore hit one and was fouled by Meri Adsit.  Alex completed the 4-point play to give the Sachems a 39-33 advantage.

Newburyport rallied nearly all the way back after trailing, 18-4, early in the second quarter.  Pitiful Pentucket shooting in the 3rd quarter (1-for-13) opened the door for the Clippers (5-for-9 shooting) to erase a 27-14 halftime deficit.  A Lea Tomasz three with two seconds left put this one in the “very interesting” category (31-29) with a quarter left.

Leigh McNamara (25) sails in for a first half layup.

As I said, Alex Moore hit a huge three in the final quarter but it was the Pentucket pressure over the final 5+ minutes that really did in the Clippers.  The pressure seemed to work best in the half-court as there were no turn-2’s (steal and get a layup) in the decisive final minutes.

Newburyport got within one (32-31) on a Lea Tomasz converted rebound and two (35-33) on a Beth Castantini jump shot with 5:40 left.

Plenty of time left and certainly close enough score-wise for the home team to pull the upset.

However, the Pentucket defense gave up only one point (Beth Castantini free throw) over the next 5 ½ minutes!  Molly Rowe hit a three with a few seconds left but by then, as they say in farm country, the cows had left the barn.

The shocking numbers for the Clippers during those game-deciding 5 ½ minutes were: one point in eleven possessions, eight turnovers, three shots in one possession and only one shot in the other ten.  Those are dream/nightmare numbers depending on which bench you were sitting on.

Speaking of nightmares, Clipper coach Gregg Dollas will probably remember this game for a while as one where he learned something about the numbers on his players’ uniforms.

Cady Bennett

As the game was about to start the Clippers were assessed a technical foul because Cady Bennett was in the scorebook as #14 but was wearing #21.  Coley Viselli sank both technical foul shots.

Later in the first quarter, Lilly Donovan was put in the game wearing #9.  Players can’t wear single digit numbers above 5.…….probably because officials can’t finger signal 6-9 without possibly confusing the scorekeepers.  Coley made one of the technical foul shots.

That’s three points, and in a close game like this one, they were a tough giveaway.

Coley Viselli was chosen MVP of the game.  Good thing they didn’t ask me.  I’d have given it either to teammate Sarah Higgins and her 16 points or to Alex Moore for her 4th quarter heroics.  Alex had the 4-point play and less than a minute before that had an old-fashioned 3-point play.  Those seven points were huge in this low scoring game.

Molly McDonough and Molly Rowe were given student/athlete scholarships afterwards thanks to Provident Bank.

A good crowd of Sachem support was on hand.

We saw the debut of a couple of Pentucket freshman – McKenna Kilian & Kelsi McNamara.

The Clippers will be able to count on points from seniors Beth Castantini (15) and Molly Rowe (11).  Bettering last year’s 13-7 record could well depend on steady scoring from other players.

Molly Rowe gets student-athlete scholarship from Coach Gregg Dollas.

Tess Nogueira and Leigh McNamara both spent time defending Beth Castantini.  Both players picked up their fourth foul in the final period.

The quickness and all-out approach of junior Meri Adsit was impressive.

Newburyport box score

Pentucket box score

(The pictures will enlarge to normal size if you click on them.)

Beth Castantini (10) & Leigh McNamara (25)

Coley Viselli – Lilly Donovan – Sarah Higgins

Tess Nogueira (32) & Mary Pettigrew (33)

Pentucket coach John McNamara

Beth Castantini

Meri Adsit (5) & Sydney Snow (3)

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Filed under 2011 Provident Bank Tip Off Classic, Newburyport, Pentucket