(West Newbury MA) “Pentucket played amazing defense,” said Ursuline coach Morgan O’Donnell afterwards.
How many times have we heard that from opposing coaches?
Pentucket (17-3) rode their full-court pressure defense to a, 64-41, win over Ursuline Academy on Friday night.
The victory moves the Sachems into the Round of 16. Their next opponent will be either Masconomet or North Quincy. Those teams play tomorrow (Saturday).
A Masco win brings another game to West Newbury.
“We have bleachers we can bring in to meet the requirements for seating,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.
Pentucket had a house full of fans and there was plenty to cheer about.
“It was loud in here,” said Coach O’Donnell. “This atmosphere was tough to play in.”
Pentucket shut out the Bears (10-10) for the first four minutes and put up nine unanswered points. Four different players scored for Pentucket and all of them had layups.
Abby Dube and Alyssa Thompson were the game’s top scorers with fifteen points each.
This was a night, however, when most of the Pentucket baskets had assists attached to them and most of the baskets were inside shots.
“There are no star players on the team,” said Lana Mickelson. “We all work together.”
The Pentucket lead elevated to ten (27-17) in the second quarter after an Emma Lopata layup assisted by Audrey Conover.
The Sachems put a 12-2 run together in the third quarter, ending the run on an Abby Dube three-pointer. The lead at that point had reached twenty (43-23) with a little under four minutes left in the third quarter.
Both teams substituted liberally after that.
“I think our defense bothered them,” said Coach McNamara. “It was our turnovers and quick shots on offense that kept them hanging around a bit.”
Credit Ursuline. Despite trailing the entire game, the team from Dedham and the Catholic Conference kept plugging away in a hostile environment.
“Our kids came ready, and they played hard,” said Coach O’Donnell. “That’s all I ask of them.”
Seniors Rebecca Morrill and Ava Karol paced the Bears with ten points each.
I was impressed with Ursuline freshman Alana Hogan. Alana had seventeen points against Scituate. Tonight, she was very good at handling the ball and continued to the basket if the opening was there. Bright future.
The unselfish play of Pentucket was noticeable. They executed penetrate-and-pass beautifully and ended up with many layups.
Senior captain Emma Lopata got two of the biggest reactions from the crowd when she drew two charges.
“Those can hurt,” she said, “and I was nervous about taking them because I had three fouls.”
Abby Dube now has fifty three’s this season.
Pentucket is the #9 seed in Division 2.
The seats were filled early and the enthusiasm for the home team was continuous.
“We love our fans,” said Emma. “It was fun playing in front of a huge crowd.”
“It was a messy game, but our team defense was pretty good,” said Ava DiBurro post-game.
Pentucket 15 16 16 17 = 64
Ursuline 7 12 10 12 = 41
(The pictures will enlarge.)