(Amesbury MA) “We couldn’t find the basket and they couldn’t miss,” said Manchester-Essex coach Lauren Dubois.
“We came out on fire,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos.
The Indians (13-3) put the Hornets (3-12) away early and coasted to a, 58-38, win on Tuesday night.
Amesbury played a tight half-court, man-to-man defense and didn’t hesitate to initiate fast breaks. In their half-court offense, the passes were quick, and the layups and open looks were plentiful.
“We’ve been slowing down and not moving the ball enough lately,” explained senior McKenna Hallinan afterwards. “We want to pass quickly and get open shots and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Indians got off to an impressive 12-0 lead in the first 4 ½ minutes. Senior Liv DeLong was the key in the fast start. Liv nailed a jump shot (from McKenna), a layup (from Avery Hallinan), and then put in a rebound.
Emma Fitzgerald broke the ice for the Hornets and then Amesbury went off on another run of unanswered points.
This time it was fifteen straight. Avery Hallinan and Gabby Redford did most of the scoring damage for the Indians.
Avery found room in the lane for four layups. Gabby put in a rebound, connected on a three (from Sami Kimball), and hit a runner in the lane.
Avery finished the night with eighteen points while Gabby led all scorers with twenty-two points.
“They’re a great team with a lot of weapons on the offensive end,” said ME coach Lauren Dubois.
“They went box-and-one on Avery, but other players scored and then Avery started to score,” recalled Coach Dollos.
“We did what we had to do,” he added.
The two long runs of consecutive offense by Amesbury put them in front, 27-2, early in the second quarter. The Hornets didn’t have the firepower on this evening to get much closer. Both coaches substituted liberally thereafter.
“We have been trying to fix the problems we’ve been having,” said McKenna. “We want to make fewer mistakes with the playoffs coming up.”
The Indians are in Division 4 and according to the most recent MIAA power ratings are in third place. The top thirty-two teams make the playoffs. The higher seeds get the crucial home games in tourney play.
I asked McKenna about her sister reaching 1000 points: “It was great that Avery got 1000. I got to assist on the basket that she got it on and that was the best part.”
Coach Dubois: “We wanted to make sure that we were fighting all the way through tonight and we were.”
The Hornets have beaten Swampscott twice and also have a win over Georgetown.
Amesbury has won five straight.
Amesbury 23 19 10 6 = 58
ME 2 17 9 10 = 38
(The pictures will enlarge.)