Tag Archives: Deirdre McElhinney

Newburyport’s fast start enough to defeat Haverhill 47-35

Lindsay Joulbert faces tight defense by Jackie Doucette.

Makenna Ward (14) moves quickly after a Haverhill turnover

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport had the defensive heat on high from the get-go and gained permanent separation early against Haverhill.

The Monday night non-league game was an unsavory 47-35 loss for the Hillies.

“That was not Haverhill basketball you saw out there,” explained a disappointed HHS coach Melissa Tarpy afterwards.  “We didn’t play basic basketball.”

It certainly didn’t help the Hillies (3-6) that Merrimack Valley League All-Star McKayla Dingle was not in uniform.

“We were missing a player but that is no excuse,” added Coach Tarpy.  “Teams step up in those situations and we didn’t.”

The Clippers (6-2) turned full-court man-to-man defense into ten Haverhill turnovers and a nineteen-point first quarter. Haverhill never recovered from the 19-7 deficit.

Sami Cavanaugh covers Kya Burdier (9 points)

“We got turnovers and layups,” said Sami Cavanaugh afterwards.

Sometimes turnovers merely change possession.  The Clippers had the kind that led to points.

“If our defense is strong, everything else is dictated by that,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We’ll never win a game with that many turnovers,” added Coach Tarpy.

The home team started the second quarter with two more hoops (Abby Gillingham layup from Sadie Vandenberg, Deirdre McElhinney steal and layin).  The Clippers’ advantage became, 23-7, and had me wondering why I thought this might be a competitive game!

The rest of the way, however, was competitive.  Haverhill outscored Newburyport 28-24 in the remaining twenty-three minutes of action, but the closest the Hillies would get to the lead was, 35-28, in the first minute of the final quarter.

Newburyport immediately answered by getting baskets when, first Makenna Ward, and then Ann Affolter, got the ball in to 6-3 Abby Gillingham on the block.  Abby was able to turn and get consecutive layups against out-sized opponents.

Makenna Ward sends a bounce pass to Abby Gillingham

Abby gets good positioning to receive a pass in close

Abby (14 points) gets a layup

“We have tall forwards,” said Sami.  “It was important to get the ball in to them because Haverhill couldn’t match up with them.”

Kya Burdier set to block Sami Cavanaugh’s shot

Sami added two free throws to run the Clippers consecutive-point total to six and boosted their margin to thirteen (41-28).  The NHS defense kept Haverhill from getting inside of double figures over the final five minutes.

The Clippers had one turnover in the breakaway first quarter but fifteen more (by my count) after that.  “We turned the ball over a lot,” said Coach Grutchfield, “and that helped them get back into the game.”

Against North Reading, last Wednesday, the Clippers struggled to get the ball inside without losing possession.  Much better job tonight.

Neither team did themselves any favors at the free throw line; Newburyport (8/18) & Haverhill (9/26).

Senior Leandra Kwo led HHS with thirteen points.  Sophomore Kya Burdier added nine points.

Deirdre McElhinney (9 points) looks to pass

Abby Gillingham (14 points) led all scorers.  A jumper from the corner was part of her collection of points.  Freshman Deirdre McElhinney added nine points including a triple.

Coach Grutchfield: “We have good depth.  We did a good job of getting the ball inside to Abby.  It was good to see Makenna (Ward) looking for her shot tonight.”

Coach Tarpy: “It was probably one of the worst games we’ve played defensively.  We’ve got more than half the season left.  We will also face Newburyport again.”

Haverhill is a D1 team from the Merrimack Valley Conference.  The Hillies had their best season in sixteen years last year when they were 16-6 and won a tournament game.  Haverhill was 17-62 in the four seasons before last year.

Kya Burdier was All-MVC last season.  Leandra Kwo was an Lawrence Eagle-Tribune All-Star in the same season.

Newburyport box

Haverhill box

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

Abby Gillingham sets a screen for Sami Cavanaugh

Anna Affolter

Christina Firek

Deirdre McElhinney drives right

Opening tip

Sami Cavanaugh

Sami Cavanaugh gets by Haley Phillips

Carli Quinlan

fight for possession

Jackie Doucette

Kya Burdier in for two

On the floor

 

 

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Newburyport holds off North Reading 38-36 in defensive struggle

Newburyport celebrates their fifth win

Deirdre McElhinney scores in the last minute

Julia Howse left with an injury in the second half

(Newburyport MA) Freshman Deirdre McElhinney turned a last-minute North Reading miscue into an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Newburyport the cushion needed to hold off the Hornets, 38-36, on Wednesday night.

Both D2 teams had scoring strengths, but tenacious defense minimized those strengths.

The Clippers (5-1) wanted to take advantage of their height inside, while North Reading (3-3) wanted their long-range shooting to spark them.

“It was a battle,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “We told the team before the game that this would be a one-or-two possession game, and it was.”

After a missed free throw (Sami Cavanaugh), the Hornets had twelve seconds to either tie the game or win it.  They got two shots off but under heavy pressure and couldn’t connect.

Ali Grasso led all scorers with twelve points

“I’m thrilled with how tough our kids were down the stretch against a good team,” explained NHS coach Karen Grutchfield.

The half-court man-to-man defenses kept either team from gaining significant separation.

North Reading had a six-point lead (10-4) after a Lauren Sullivan (9 points) breakaway in the opening period.

Abby Gillingham looks for her shot

Newburyport had a six-point lead of its own in the third quarter (24-18) after an Abby Gillingham layin.

The rest of the time it was close between the two Cape Ann League opponents.  There were six ties and five lead changes.

The visitors had a 3-point edge (32-29) five minutes into the final quarter after an Ali Grasso (12 points) long one.

The Clippers answered with their best collection of consecutive offense (six straight) over the next minute.  In the crucial run, senior Sami Cavanaugh started it by setting up junior Leah Metsker for a layup and then added a jump shot.  The other two points came on a perfectly executed inbounds play: Abby Gillingham set a screen for teammate Sadie Vandenberg along the foul line.  Sadie used the screen and rolled wide open into the lane for an uncontested layup.

Perfectly executed in-bounds play gave NHS a layup

That run of points put NHS ahead by three.

Makenna Ward has a shot blocked by Lauren Sullivan

The Hornets cut that lead to one (Lauren Sullivan rebound basket) and had the ball back in the last minute with a chance to do even better.  But the Clippers forced a turnover on the NR perimeter and Sami sent Deirdre off for the outcome-sealing layup + one.

“I felt that Anna Affolter (9 points) and Deirdre (7 points) really stepped up,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “Sami led us.  She’s the heart of the team.”

North Reading had five three’s.  Four of them came in the second half.

“We hit some big shots in that stretch when we got back into the game in the second half,” said Coach Romeo.

“North Reading is a good team with great shooters,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “We did a good job defending Ali Grasso.  She’s a very good player.”

Several of the Clippers had turns guarding Ali including Anna Affolter and Deirdre McElhinney.

Ali had twenty-three points the last time the Hornets visited Newburyport.

Leah Metsker looks for a pass

NR’s top inside presence (Julia Howse) injured herself diving for a ball going out-of-bounds early in the third quarter and didn’t return.

“We were a little short-handed when Julia (8 points) went out,” admitted Coach Romeo.

The Clippers (8-12 last year) are off to a nice start with their 5-1 record.  They have yet to face Pentucket, Masconomet, and Amesbury.  North Reading (3-3) has losses to Pentucket and Amesbury.

“We’ll be okay,” said Coach Romeo.  “We’re getting better.”

Pentucket coach John McNamara was in the house.

Coach Romeo on wearing green after all those years wearing Masco red: “I was due for some new clothes.”

North Reading box

Newburyport box

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

Makenna Ward tries to pass inside

Lauren Sullivan gets a timeout for North Reading

Sami Cavanaugh spots Deirdre McElhinney ahead and in the open

Sami Cavanaugh lofts a pass toward Leah Metsker

Sami Cavanaugh layup attempt with Ali Grasso over her shoulder

Senior Sami Cavanaugh

Freshman Makenna Ward

Freshman Emma Foley

Freshman Anna Affolter drives with Kiley McCarthy defending

Elle Doucette

Deirdre McElhinney adds the plus one in the closing minute

Ali Grasso pass in transition to teammate Lauren Sullivan

 

 

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