Tag Archives: Coach John McNamara

Pentucket girls defeat North Reading 57-35 after championship banner unveiled

2011-12 Division 3 state champs - March 17, 2012

2011-12 Division 3 state champs – March 17, 2012

championship banner unveiled

championship banner unveiled

Alex Moore (11 points) fires from long range

Alex Moore (11 points) fires from long range

(West Newbury)  The Pentucket girls struggled mightily in the first half but returned to last year’s form in the second half as they defeated North Reading, 57-35, in Cape Ann League action on Tuesday night.

The “first half Sachems” could well have been thrown off by the festivities before the game.

The 2011-12 Division 3 state championship banner was unveiled and the thirteen team members from that 23-4 squad were reunited one last time before an adoring home crowd.

This was my first look at the team since the March 17th win over Sabis (55-32) at the DCU Center in Worcester as they captured the D3 title.  Leading the way for Pentucket on that memorable afternoon were Sarah Higgins with 22 points and Kelsi McNamara with three long ones.

Elise Makowski soars in the lane over Coley Viselli during a strong Hornet first half

Elise Makowski soars in the lane over Coley Viselli during a strong Hornet first half

You know that the bar has been set pretty high for a team when they lead by three (20-17) at halftime and you describe them as, “struggling.”

But the 2012-13 Sachems (2-0) were struggling.  There wasn’t a shot near or far that they could make consistently.  And there were plenty of turnovers.

In the second half, a crucial ingredient in years of success returned……….shooting, and when that happened in the third quarter, the 2012-13 team started giving a great impression of the championship team of the previous season.

North Reading (0-2) actually got within two points (21-19) a minute into the second half but then the Pentucket scorers started hitting shots from everywhere, especially long range.

With shots falling, the Sachem defense could setup and pressure North Reading into a pace that created turnovers and rushed shots.

The visiting Hornets would make just one basket (Tarah Reilly) over the next six minutes while the Sachems put up twenty-one points and blew this one wide open, 42-21, with a minute left in the third quarter.

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) about to pass to a breaking McKenna Kilian (14 points)

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) about to pass to a breaking McKenna Kilian (14 points)

Two treys by Alex Moore and one each from Coley Viselli and Kelsi McNamara highlighted the surge.  The Sachems also added 7-of-8 free throws and a floater in the lane from McKenna Kilian.

That burst of positive production separated the two teams and North Reading was unable to get within double-figures of the Sachems the rest of the way.

Not only was the championship banner unveiled but the home fans also got a look at seven new players including five freshmen.

Sophomores McKenna Kilian (14) and Kelsi McNamara (13) paced Pentucket.  Senior Alex Moore added eleven points. The Sachems next game is Friday night at Triton.

Carly Swartz (11 points) launches a last-second shot

Carly Swartz (11 points) launches a last-second shot

Freshman Carly Swartz (11) led the Hornets.  Carly scored all eleven in a first half in which North Reading made things very interesting for Pentucket.  6-5 freshman Jessica Lezon was a defensive presence for NR.

The Hornets will look for their first win at Masconomet on Friday night.

Quietly in the background during the pre-game celebrations was Pentucket coach John McNamara.  His 136-18 record at Pentucket, and counting, is truly remarkable.

A look ahead at the Pentucket schedule has them starting off with Division 1 Billerica in January in a non-league game.  Last season I saw Billerica nearly defeat Nicole Boudreau and the Andover Golden Eagles at Andover.  Their key players were underclassmen.  The Pentucket/Billerica contest is at Pentucket and should be special.

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

junior Sydney Snow

junior Sydney Snow

Coley Viselli chases a loose ball

Coley Viselli chases a loose ball

Elise Makowski double-teamed by Alex Moore and McKenna Kilian

Elise Makowski double-teamed by Alex Moore and McKenna Kilian

McKenna Kilian (14 points) and Morgan Maiola

McKenna Kilian (14 points) and Morgan Maiola

Kelsi McNamara defends

Kelsi McNamara defends

Morgan Maiola (7 points)

Morgan Maiola (7 points)

Emily Dresser in close

Emily Dresser in close

freshman Rebecca Torrisi

freshman Rebecca Torrisi

Coley Viselli shoots a technical foul shot

Coley Viselli shoots a technical foul shot

Tess Nogueira (6 points) drives

Tess Nogueira (6 points) drives

6-5 Jessica Lezon

6-5 Jessica Lezon

Coach John McNamara

Coach John McNamara

Alex Moore pressures Carly Swartz

Alex Moore pressures Carly Swartz

Leigh McNamara returns

Leigh McNamara returns

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Filed under North Reading, Pentucket

Pentucket defeats Sabis (55-32) to win the Division 3 state title

Pentucket Regional – 2012 Division 3 state champs

Sarah Higgins (22 points) heads for the hoop

(Worcester) Pentucket 55 Sabis 32

There was no denying Pentucket (23-4) this time around.  Same building two years earlier the Sachems lost in the state finals to Lee.

Pentucket led from beginning to end in this one capturing the Division 3 crown for the first time. The title game was one of six played on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The Sachems led from beginning to end thanks to a combination of distracting defenses and take-what-you-give-us offense.

Senior Sarah Higgins (22 points) had a huge game for Pentucket.  It seemed as if every time she wasn’t making a layup she was getting fouled.  She made her last eleven free throws in a row and totaled fourteen for the game.

Sabis (20-6) gave up the first six points and were down 20-10 after a Tess Nogueira layin with 4 ½ minutes left in the second period.

Jazmine Collins (10 points)

The Lady Bulldog tandem of Jazmine Collins (10 points) and Shyanne Wellington (10 points) kept Pentucket from turning this one into a rout.  The Sachem lead was 29-17 at halftime and 39-27 early in the final quarter.  The game seemed, at the time, far from over for the charter school from Springfield.

However, a Coley Viselli triple followed on an assist from Alex Moore and up went the team from West Newbury, 42-27, with 5 ½ minutes left.  A couple of drives later by Sarah Higgins and that lead was 46-29 with four to go.

Sabis was forced to foul the rest of the way and Pentucket cashed in nine times.  The final score was a misleading, 55-32.

Kelsi McNamara (14 points) finds an opening

Kelsi McNamara (14 points) connected on three long ones in the first half.  Equally impressive was the willingness of the 5-5 freshman to take the ball to the basket a couple of times.

The Sabis cause was hurt when Janaiya Sanchez went out with an ankle sprain for most of the second period.  The 5-7 freshman played in the second half but was definitely limping.  She has been on the Sabis varsity since 7th grade.

Jasmine Collins had several impressive coast-to-coast drives.  The Lady Bulldog junior started this season with over 1000 points.  The unpleasant memory for her in this one, besides the loss, could be making just one of eight free throws.

I always enjoy watching the Pentucket defense in action.  Against teams that don’t handle the ball well, down twenty usually happened in the first half.  Credit Sabis, they had girls (Jasmine and Janaiya) who could dribble the ball but they ran into trouble trying to find open teammates.

Inbounder Coley Viselli hit Sarah Higgins on a couple of deep fly patterns versus Sabis pressure.

Sabis won their first D3 West title ever this season.  They had won eleven straight games before this game.

Pentucket ended on a fifteen-game winning streak.  They will not be able to replace Sarah Higgins next season but they have many of their other key pieces back.

Pentucket boxscore

Sabis boxscore

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

Shyanne Wellington (10 points) defended by Leigh McNamara

Pentucket seniors head for trophy

rebounding action

scoreboard

Sachem coach John McNamara

Coley Viselli

Madison Sinkfield, Leigh McNamara, Jazmine Collins

tie up

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Filed under Pentucket, Sabis

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