Tag Archives: Emma Foley

Newburyport moves on after 57-43 win over Shepherd Hill

Emma Foley (21 points)
Clippers deny an inbounds pass

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers (19-2) advance after defeating Shepherd Hill, 57-43, in the Round of 32 on Saturday afternoon.

The #21 Rams (15-7) trailed the entire game but impressed Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We had seen them on film,” she said, “but they were much better than we thought.”

The Rams handled the ball well and knew where to concentrate their defense.  The issue was scoring.

Aryanna Sheehan guarded by Makenna Ward

“We’ve had an issue scoring all year,” said Shepherd Hill coach Maura Hackenson afterwards. 

Neither team shot very well although there were plenty of attempts.  There was only one three made the entire game. The Clippers scored only five points in the final quarter, yet the Rams were only able to take three points off their deficit at the start of the quarter.

“If we don’t play good defense in the backcourt, it’s a close game at the end,” said Coach Grutchfield.

Anna Seidel on defense

But the good non-stop pressure sent the Rams into several scoring droughts that opened opportunities for the Clippers to establish separation.

SH went through a two-point, three-minute segment in the second period.  Newburyport took advantage.  The Clippers recorded twelve points and turned a 19-18 one-possession game into, 31-20, with two minutes left in the quarter.

Makenna Ward (15 pts) and Deirdre McElhinney each had four points during this successful segment.  Olivia McDonald and Emma Foley had a basket each.

Olivia McDonald

The Rams did not go away.  They made the first two baskets of the second half (Emery Mullen and Heidi Jarosz), and the visitors were quickly within seven (33-26) as things got interesting.

But then the Newburyport defense kicked in again and shut down the Rams completely for the next three minutes.

While the visitors struggled, the Clippers went on a 9-0 run and their lead rose to, 42-26, and back into something of a comfort zone.

Emma Foley defended by Heidi Jarosz (11 points)

The highlight makers for Newburyport in this good section were Olivia McDonald, Makenna Ward, and Emma Foley.  Olivia hit a jump shot and the only three of the game.  Makenna broke full-court for a layup while Emma spun into the lane for two points.

Emma (21 points) ended up with a ten-point quarter dashing Shepherd Hill’s hopes for getting closer to Newburyport.  The Clippers had a seventeen-point lead after three quarters.

“Emma (Foley) has great moves down there,” said SH coach Maura Hackenson.  “She keeps the ball really high, and we didn’t have the height to match up. We tried to front her.”

Emma often had 2-3 defenders whenever she had the ball but still found ways to supply badly needed scoring.

Shaylan Cashman looks to pass

“Emma thrives on offense,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “She needs a lot of touches.  She also did a good job of rebounding.”

The Rams from the Mid-Wach League were tough on the glass scoring on six offensive rebounds.

Newburyport’s next game will be on the road against Whitman-Hanson.

Quiet crowd at Newburyport this afternoon. 

Newburyport   15   19   18   5   =   57

Shepherd Hill   12   10   13   8   =   43

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Brela Pavoa guards Emery Mullen

The MIAA this year has arranged the tournament based on power rankings.  The North, South, Central, and West are history.  And with the new arrangement, regional games are gone.  Who around here even knew where Shepherd Hill was located?  But they were seeded #21 and the matchup was against #12 Newburyport. 

What has been interesting (to me) has been that so far the higher seeds almost always win.  This suggests that the rankings have been accurate.

I do, however, wonder about the excessive travel the new arrangement necessitates.  The Amesbury boys had to travel to western Massachusetts to play South Hadley this week on a school night.  The Frontier girls’ team (Deerfield) will be traveling to Amesbury for a 5:30PM game on a school night. 

Olivia McDonald
Heidi Jarosz gets a block
Sydney Turner
Emery Mullen guarded by Anna Seidel
Sydney Fitzgerald guarded by Emma Foley
Sydney Fitzgerald on defense
Scramble on the floor
Deirdre McElhinney on defense
Raegan Peck
Makenna Ward (15 points)
Shepherd Hill box
Newburyport box

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Newburyport wins Gieras Tourney 68-48 over North Andover

Newburyport Clippers win Gieras Tournament
Emma Foley (21 points)

(Danvers MA) North Andover had a five-point lead in the first half and was tied with Newburyport early in the second half.

That was the good news for the (10-9) Knights.

The Clippers (18-2) overwhelmed NA the rest of the way.

The win, at Danvers High School, gained the tournament title for Newburyport in the Ed Gieras Memorial Tournament on Wednesday night.

“This was a really satisfying win,” said Clippers coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “We showed up to play against a good team.”

Jackie Rogers (13 points)

The Knights were able to hang around thanks to long-range accuracy.  Katie Robie (12 points) and freshman Sydney Rogers each had a pair of 3-pointers to keep the game close in the early going.

In the second half, the Knights lost the outside touch and couldn’t contend with a Clippers’ team that had four players in double figures.

Junior Emma Foley was the tourney MVP.  Emma thrived against single coverage around the basket.  When NA opted to send extra defensive help it opened opportunities for other Clippers.  On this night, those “other” players; Makenna Ward (17 points), Olivia McDonald (14 points), and Deirdre McElhinney, (12 points) all needed individual attention.

Makenna Ward (17 points)

“We distributed the scoring pretty well,” said Coach Grutchfield.

“There are no excuses for the way we played in the second half,” said NA coach Jess Deveny post-game.

“When you don’t play well in the defensive end, it translates into not doing well in the offensive end,” she added.

The Clippers put up forty-four points in the second half.  They had consecutive point-runs of ten and eight in the third quarter and fourteen in the final quarter.

Hannah Martin (14 points)

The 26-26 tie turned into 36-26 in the third quarter and 54-34 in the last quarter. 

Most of the Newburyport baskets had assists attached to them. Their passing was good, and they also converted several offensive rebounds.

“Newburyport got hot,” said Coach Deveny.  “They were making all their shots.  They’re a great squad.  They’re in the top twenty in D2.”

Sydney Turner surrounded

North Andover is in the Merrimack Valley Conference and is used to a regular dose of tough competition.

“Every night is a battle in the MVC,” said Coach Deveny.  “If you’re not ready, this is what happens.”

“Sydney Turner was special for us tonight,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “She does all the little things and tonight she guarded their best player.”

Olivia McDonald (14 points)

Hannah Martin paced North Andover with fourteen points and was named to the all-tourney team.  Olivia McDonald did a pretty good job of defending her.  Olivia also had fourteen points including nine in the last quarter.

Makenna Ward finished with seventeen points and that earned her a spot on the all-tourney team.  Makenna had a fast-break layup (assisted by Olivia McDonald) and a three-pointer when the Clippers gained the ten-point separation in the third quarter.

North Andover defeated Reading (58-44) to reach tonight’s final.  Newburyport had a win over Danvers (59-34) to get to the championship game.

Katie Robie had four three-pointers for the Knights.

Newburyport        9   15   21   23   =   68

North Andover   10   13     7   18   =   48

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Makenna Ward
Deirdre McElhinney
Battle for a rebound
Katie Robie and Emma Foley
Jackie Rogers (13 points)
Janie Papell
Hannah Martin
Makenna Ward, Emma Foley, Hannah Martin
Newburyport box
North Andover box

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Emma Foley (31 points) leads Newburyport past Haverhill 58-35

Junior Emma Foley reached a career-high thirty-one points vs Haverhill
Sydney Turner honored pre-game

(Newburyport MA) The Haverhill Hillies were on the wrong end of Emma Foley’s career game.

“We couldn’t stop her,” said Haverhill coach Melissa Tarpy afterwards.  “She had a ton of points.”

Thirty-one, to be exact.

“It was the best I’ve done,” said Emma post-game.

Emma’s big night was the key in Newburyport’s 58-35 win over Haverhill on Monday night.

Haley Phillips (24) had fifteen points

“I definitely couldn’t have scored all those points without some great looks from Sydney (Turner), Makenna (Ward), and Deirdre (McElhinney),” said Emma.  “They did a really good job of finding me tonight.”

The Hillies (3-14) used a man-to-man defense in the first half.  The Clippers (15-2) countered by spreading out and putting Emma close to the basket.  With single coverage and space to operate, Emma went to work.

The two teams played a week ago and Newburyport only won by eight points (54-46).

Haverhill defense tightened in the second half

“I didn’t put the ball in the hoop very well,” said Emma of the sixteen points she had at Haverhill.

No such problem tonight.

The Clippers were up, 19-8, after a quarter and Emma already had eighteen points!  The variety of scoring maneuvers was impressive.  There were assisted baskets in close, mixed in with a rebound basket as well as one on a full-court drive.

A three-pointer by Haley Phillips (15 points) had the Hillies within two points (8-6).  Emma answered with nine straight points and Deirdre McElhinney (11 points) added a free throw.  Suddenly the NHS lead was twelve points (18-6).

Deirdre McElhinney (11 points)

In the second quarter, a three by Sydney Spencer set the score at 21-11 a minute into that quarter.

The game got away from Haverhill in the next four minutes.

The Clippers scored fifteen unanswered points to lead, 36-11, and took the mystery out of the outcome.

“We kept making mistakes,” said Coach Tarpy.

Lesha Burgos

Deirdre and Emma each had six points during the consecutive run of great offense and defense.

The Hillies played much better in the second half.  They switched to a zone defense and the easy passes to Emma Foley near the basket disappeared.  And when Emma did get the ball, she had to deal with multiple defenders. 

Emma still was able to add seven points to her 24-point first half and end up with a career-best thirty-one points.  The score difference kept Emma on the bench for some of the fourth quarter or she might have added to her total.

Sydney Turner breaks away

The biggest cheer of the night?  It wasn’t for Emma.  It was for Sydney Turner after she stole a pass and turned it into her first points of the night. 

It was Senior Day and Sydney is Newburyport’s only senior.  Sydney had a nice group of friends/family with “Syd” shirts on in attendance.

“I’m so proud of Sydney,” said Clippers coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “We always put her on the other team’s best offensive player.”

Sydney Turner guards Kya Burdier

Emma had nine rebounds and her sister (Olivia) had five rebounds.  Makenna Ward had five steals.

I asked Emma about the 63-45 loss to Pentucket last Thursday: “We had breakdowns all over the court.  We struggled to score in the second half, and they were getting layup after layup.  When we do a good job of stopping the drives, we play well. It didn’t help that Makenna and I had four fouls.  It was tough to play defense with those fouls.  Hopefully, we’ll see them again.”

Newburyport   19   17   11   11   =   58

Haverhill             8     7    12     8   =   35

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Olivia McDonald double-teamed
Anna Seidel guarded by Kya Burdier
Yaribel Pena
Ball on the floor
Janisa Price
Sydney Spencer guarded by Olivia McDonald
Makenna Ward guards Janisa Price
Kya Burdier and Emma Foley
Newburyport box
Haverhill box

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Pentucket wins CAL title 63-45 over Newburyport

Great crowd on hand for tonight’s game
Abby Dube (19 points)

(Newburyport MA) “Everyone did their job, and it was fun to watch,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

Fun for the team from West Newbury for sure, as they defeated Newburyport, 63-45, in a big-stakes Cape Ann League game on Thursday night.

The win gave the Sachems (13-2) the CAL Kinney Division title.

“They won by ten last time,” said Abby Dube (19 points), “and we’ve been working so hard to beat them.”

The Clippers (14-2) started well.  Olivia McDonald’s three put them up, 11-5.  Later, two baskets by Makenna Ward (19 points) in the last minute extended the NHS lead to, 18-10, at the end of the quarter.

Makenna Ward (19 points)

The Clippers were making shots and gathering offensive rebounds when they didn’t.

It took a backup defense and some life off the bench to turn things around for Pentucket.

“We don’t use that zone defense a lot, but we did tonight and I think it got them out of their rhythm,” said Coach McNamara.

The offensive rebounds decreased for the Clippers and their top scorer (Emma Foley) had to deal with multiple defenders on each possession.

Gabby Bellacqua (14 points)

“We put the first quarter behind us and played to win the next three quarters,” said Abby Dube.

The pleasant surprises off the bench were Bethany Cloutier and Ava DiBurro. 

Bethany gave Pentucket its first lead of the game (22-21) with an old-fashioned three-point play with two minutes left in the second quarter.

Ava DiBurro (11 points)

Ava (11 points) was the biggest surprise of all. In the most important game of the season, she came in, fit in, and produced points.

“Ava’s a talented kid,” said Coach McNamara.  “We’ve been waiting for this to happen.  Ava sure picked a great night to have a breakout game.  She has good finishing skills.”

Pentucket led by four, 26-22, at the half.

The Clippers got a terrific start to the second half.  They regained the lead (27-26) after just a minute. 

Deirdre McElhinney (10 points)

But an Abby Dube layup put Pentucket back in front (28-27) thirty seconds later and they would build on that lead the rest of the way.

A big problem for the home team in the third quarter was foul trouble.  Both Makenna Ward and Emma Foley (10 points) picked up their 4th fouls and lost time on the floor.  Both girls can score and defend, and the Clippers lost a lot in both categories with them on the bench.

Pentucket pushed their advantage to six (33-27) in the third quarter on two Alyssa Thompson (10 points) free throws.

Lana Mickelson

With Makenna on the bench for the final two minutes of the quarter, the Sachems turned that six-point lead into a twelve-point lead (46-34) by the end of the quarter.  Lana Mickelson contributed two layups and Abby Dube nailed a jump shot just before the quarter-ending buzzer.

Early in the final quarter, Makenna Ward and Deirdre McElhinney (10 points) hit consecutive three’s to cut the Pentucket lead to nine (50-41) with 6 ½ minutes left.  A quick timeout by Coach McNamara was followed by eleven straight points by the Sachems.  Ava DiBurro finished the run with two straight inside scores giving Pentucket a twenty-point lead (61-41).

Olivia McDonald plays defense

Newburyport was undefeated at home (7-0) before tonight’s loss.

Emma Lopata: “We had really good energy from start to finish.  The team is always supportive of each other.”

Abby Dube: “It felt amazing to win this one.  We knew we could do it.”

Audrey Conover: “It was definitely a high-energy game.  I think that our defense was the key tonight.  Abby (Dube) really pulled through on offense.  She was making everything.”

Alyssa Thompson: “We started off slow.  We talked at halftime about working together as a team.  We then passed the ball more.”

Alyssa Thompson (10 points)

Ava DiBurro: “We really wanted to beat them.  I just tried to do what the team needed me to do.  I’m playing better, but there are things I need to work on.”

Coach McNamara: “Newburyport is a good team.  They should make a deep run in the tournament.  From the second quarter on we played really good basketball.  We took care of the ball, and we minimized our turnovers.”

Great crowd from both schools.  The crowd was mostly adults.  Absent, but not missed by me, was the chanting that goes on when the crowd is dominated by students.

Emma Foley (10 points)

Both teams are in Division 2.  Back in the day, only one of them could have made it out of the North sectionals.  That changes now with the MIAA state-wide power rankings determining the seeding.  Pentucket is currently listed behind Newburyport in those rankings but that will change after tonight’s game.

Pentucket         10   16   20   17   =   63

Newburyport   18     4   12   11   =   45

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Chasing a loose ball
Abby Dube in the lane
Ava DiBurro
Pentucket box
Newburyport box
Audrey Conover guarded by Olivia McDonald
Deirdre McElhinney drives
Pentucket celebrates
Pentucket celebrates CAL Kinney title

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Undefeated Newburyport defeats Masco 58-40

Olivia McDonald (9 points) provided a spark for the Clippers
Emma Foley (14 points) led Clippers

(Boxford MA) “You have to come to their level and compete,” said Masconomet coach Shannon Kirwan Monday night, “or you lose by eighteen.”

The Lady Chieftains did lose by eighteen (58-40) to Newburyport but for a quarter plus they more than held their own.

But the undefeated Clippers (10-0) were game-long persistent on defense.  They forced twenty-six turnovers that led to twenty-seven points.

Sarah Green finishes

“I thought we played them tough,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.  “I’m proud of them.”

The Lady Chieftains did a nice job defensively on Newburyport high-scorer Emma Foley in the early going.  Emma faced two defenders as she positioned herself in close.  For a time, her teammates forced passes inside (some led to turnovers) and struggled to score without Emma getting involved.

Kylie Dumont, Taylor Bovardi, and Kaleigh Monagle keyed Masco’s 15-12 first quarter advantage.

Things turned Newburyport’s way in the second quarter sparked by the appearance of reserve sophomore Olivia McDonald.

Makenna Ward (12 points)

“Coach (Grutchfield) encouraged me to take the shot if I have it,” said Olivia afterwards.

Olivia started the second quarter with a layup and then hit a three to tie the score at 17-17.

With Masco keen on protecting the inside, Olivia found yet another long-range opening and nailed it to put the Clippers in front to stay, 22-19, with 4 ½ minutes left.

Newburyport was able to add eight more points before half-time.  The Lady Chieftains, meanwhile, were held scoreless for nearly four minutes. Krystal Zepaj ended the scoring drought with a 3-pointer in the last minute.

Masco coach Shannon Kirwan

Another three by Krystal, in the third quarter, had the home team within nine points (36-27) but the rest of the quarter saw Newburyport put a 12-3 run together. 

Makenna Ward had eight of her twelve points in the third quarter while teammate Sydney Turner had six of her eight points in that same quarter.  The Clippers led by eighteen (48-30) after three periods and would finish the game with the same margin.

“We kept our composure,” added Coach Grutchfield.  “They came at us pretty hard.”

Kylie Dumont looks to pass

When Masco was forced to play man-to-man, Emma Foley (14 points) had clearer opportunities in close and took advantage.

“Masco is definitely a good team,” explained Deirdre McElhinney (10 points) afterwards. “They forced us to set up our offense a little more than we have had to in the past.”

The closest game the Clippers have had this season was a ten-point win over Pentucket. 

“We keep pushing,” added Deirdre talking about the winning streak.  “We’re trying to keep the momentum going.”

Coach Kirwan: “Newburyport is a very good team.  Every part of their game they do well.  They play basketball the way it is supposed to be played; tough, hard-nosed, and aggressive.”

Sydney Turner guards Kaleigh Monagle

Coach Grutchfield: “Olivia (McDonald) was a really good spark off the bench.  She also did a nice job defending their best player.”

Masco made six 3’s including three by Krystal Zepaj.

The Clippers are now on a stretch of seven straight away games.  They’ve won the first two including tonight’s game.

Thanks to Andy Tapparo for several of the stats I used.  Andy produces stats for every Masco game and runs a terrific online site featuring the Lady Chieftains.  It’s the best I’ve seen.

Newburyport   12   18   18   10   =   58

Masconomet   15     7      8   10   =   40

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Kylie Dumont guarded by Deirdre McElhinney
Olivia McDonald and Ava Caron chase a loose ball
Tie-up in the lane
Emma Foley in the lane
Deirdre McElhinney guarded by Kaleigh Monagle
Sydney Turner guards Taylor Bovardi
Emma Foley tries for a block
Battle on the floor
Natalie Nolan on defense for Masco
Masconomet box
Newburyport box

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Newburyport routs Lawrence 61-23

Emma Foley led the Clippers with twenty points
MaKenna Ward pressure Tyanna Medina

(The pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)

(Newburyport MA) You never know for sure what to expect in a non-league game.

You read about your opponent and maybe even scout them, but actual conclusions are reserved for the game itself.

Newburyport put the clamps on Lawrence’s best player (Tyanna Medina) and the visitors from the Merrimack Valley Conference never had a chance.

Deirdre McElhinney (12 points)

The final was Newburyport 61, Lawrence 23.

Tyanna displayed all the skills of a next-level player but she was usually kept far from the basket.

“She was a really good player,” said Olivia McDonald who took a turn defending Tyanna.  “Our coaches told me to force her left and there would be help.  Everyone did a good job of helping.”

Sydney Turner, MaKenna Ward, and Anna Seidel also spent time corralling the Lancers’ sophomore and limited her to six points.

Sydney Turner(11 points)

Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Clippers were productive in the first-half, up-tempo approach as well as the second-half, deliberate approach.

The Lancers (1-5) used a zone defense that was slow to set up after missed shots.  The fast-breaking Clippers turned rebounds into open looks and layups.

Newburyport scored all the points in the first four minutes and sped ahead, 14-0.

Emma Foley continues to be able to maneuver into open looks in close.  Her ability to go either right or left, and use either hand successfully, makes her a scoring threat against any single coverage she faces.

Emma Foley – tough in close

Emma had twenty points tonight.

“Our team was really ready to play tonight,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.  “We have to learn to do that against every team, not just against a team that is not that strong.”

The Clippers had a 24-4 first quarter lead and extended the margin to 44-10 at the half.

Olivia Foley eyes the hoop

Deirdre McElhinney (12 points) and Sydney Turner (11 points) scored all their points in the first half.

In the second half, the Clippers resisted the fast breaks and were very patient on offense.

The most entertaining part of the second half was when Tyanna Medina and Olivia McDonald turned up the defensive pressure on each other.

Both are tenacious and confident.  Tyanna is used to being hounded because of her scoring reputation.  Olivia is quick and willing to cause a turnover any way she can.

“I told Olivia that I got goosebumps tonight watching her play such good defense on such a talented player,” said Coach Grutchfield.

Here is a four-picture sequence of the two of them getting after it:

Emerson McCormick had the game-winner in the JV game

Coach Grutchfield had two players on her bench that she couldn’t use.  Why?  Emerson McCormick and Maddie Hopwood had played the entire JV game in which Newburyport won late.  Emerson scored the go-ahead basket while Maddie sealed the win with free throws.

Olivia McDonald: “I think that the reason we are doing so well this season is that our defense leads into our offense.”

Newburyport   24   20   6   11   =   61

Lawrence   4   6   5   8   =   23

(The pictures enlarge if you click on them.)

Lilly Papatola drives
Anna Seidel on a drive
Olivia McDonald breaks in after a steal
Checking the scoreboard
Lancers try to get to the basket
Tyanna Medina gets a rare open look
MaKenna Ward
Maddie Hopwood sealed the JV game with free throws
Lawrence box
Newburyport box

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Undefeated Newburyport (6-0) downs North Reading 45-29

Brianne Slattery chased by Olivia McDonald
Deirdre McElhinney (12 points)

(Newburyport MA) Things haven’t gone perfectly for the Newburyport girls’ basketball team.

Tonight was another one of those nights.

“The game was frustrating,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “We didn’t execute very well, and we missed a ton of shots early.”

But despite the imperfections the Clippers are perfect where it counts the most; wins and losses.

Newburyport (6-0) defeated North Reading, 45-29 in Cape Ann League action.

Emma Foley (15 points) led all scorers

Good luck to the teams in the Cape Ann League when Newburyport plays really well!

“She (Coach Karen Grutchfield) has a great team here,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “They play with a level of execution that it takes to win.”

It didn’t start out that way tonight as the Clippers trailed after three minutes, 4-2, and called a timeout.

Not sure what was said in the timeout but the next two minutes of playing time were a showcase for recently returned Deirdre McElhinney. Deirdre had missed several games with Covid.

Faith Newton covered by MaKenna Ward

The talented junior knocked down consecutive three’s and put in a fancy layup after a feed from MaKenna Ward.

Suddenly it’s the Clippers up, 10-4, and their lead would grow from there.

“It’s good to be back,” said Deirdre (12 points).  “I’m feeling much better than I did last week.”

The Hornets (1-5) then sealed their fate by slipping into a nightmarish second quarter getting only three points.

The Clippers pressure the Hornets

“We struggle to score especially when we play really good teams that dig in and play defense,” said NR coach Bob Romeo.

The Hornets, led by Brianne Slattery and Faith Newton, were able to get to the basket but had trouble finishing.  When the Hornets were fouled, they struggled at the line.

“Our foul shooting (1-for-8 in the second quarter) was not good,” admitted Coach Romeo.  “If you can’t make free throws and layups it’s going to be a long game.”

The Hornets struggled from the line

Newburyport led, 25-9, at the half and extended that lead to twenty points (35-15) in the third quarter.

Emma Foley (15 points) got hot from the right baseline collecting eight points in the third quarter.

North Reading played an active zone defense for the entire game.  Newburyport featured man-to-man almost all the way.

“Anna Seidel did a good job on #15 (Faith Newton),” said Coach Grutchfield post-game.  “I thought she made a difference.”

The Hornets surround Emma Foley

North Reading kept Newburyport out of the 50’s for the first time this season.

“They (North Reading) showed that we didn’t run our zone offense very effectively,” said Coach Grutchfield.

The Clippers usually passed into open looks but shot inconsistently from the openings.

“It was good to play against a zone,” said Deirdre.  “We were able to work for shots outside and hit our posts when they came out after us.” 

Ball loose on the floor

Coach Romeo liked the way his team attacked the basket.  “We were getting to the rim against a very good defensive team.  That’s a positive.”

Coach Grutchfield: “It’s fabulous to have Deirdre back.  She’s fun to watch.  She’s such a smart player.  But I do want her to shoot more.”

The two teams will match up again on January 21st at North Reading.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Newburyport box
North Reading box
Sydney Turner drives
Deirdre McElhinney passes to Brela Pavao (13)
Deirdre McElhinney tries to get to the basket
Anna Seidel
MaKenna Ward
Riley Cullen in for a shot
Faith Newton
Lilly Papatola and Sami Patch
Sydney Turner covers Brianne Slattery
Emma Foley in the lane

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Strong second half separates Newburyport from Triton 54-31

(Pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Emma Foley (19 points) had a strong second half for Newburyport
Olivia McDonald (4) and Reese Renda (45)

(Newburyport MA) Key player Deirdre McElhinney was missing (Covid).

Inside presence Abigail Gillingham had graduated.

But neither of those things kept Newburyport from defeating Triton, 54-31, on Tuesday night.

The win advances the undefeated Clippers (4-0) to the title game of the Institution for Savings Girls Holiday Basketball Tournament tomorrow night against Hamilton-Wenham.

Sophomore Olivia McDonald filled in nicely for Deirdre while Emma Foley feasted on the inside of the Triton zone defense.

However, don’t be fooled by the final score.  The Vikings (3-2) were very much in this one (25-23) with only three minutes left in the third quarter. 

Kendall Liebert (16 points)

However, the two-point deficit at that time was a distant memory by the time the game ended.

“We just ran out of steam,” surmised Triton coach Bryan Shields afterwards. “Newburyport is a great team.”

The Clippers man-to-man pressure and foul trouble for high scoring Kendall Liebert (16 points) combined to limit Triton points severely.

Battle on the floor

The Vikings suddenly couldn’t match baskets with the Clippers.

Newburyport ran six straight points before Caitlin Frary (8 points) put in a layup.

The Clippers followed with ten unanswered points before a free throw from Lia Hatheway.

Then came eight straight Newburyport points and this game was out-of-hand, 49-26, with five minutes left.

Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield

Key performer for the Clippers during their productive second-half possessions was junior Emma Foley.  Emma had ten points during the breakaway segments and finished with nineteen points.

“We lost a lot of forwards from last year,” explained Emma post-game.  “I realized that I had to step up.  I’m working hard to do that this season. It’s really fun to play inside.”

Emma went out with an injury in the second quarter but returned to have a sixteen-point second half.

Emma Foley was injured in the second quarter on this play

“I have been playing on a sprained ankle for a couple of weeks now,” she said.  “A girl landed on it tonight.”

Molly Kimball looks to pass

The Vikings used a zone defense for most of the night.

“We wanted to slow them down and keep them out of the paint,” said Coach Shields.  “We were keying on “10” (Makenna Ward).  She’s a great player for sure.  We wanted to focus on her and make the rest of the team beat us.”

Makenna was limited to six points, but the rest of the team caught fire in the second half led by Emma Foley to get the victory.

Caitlin Frary on a drive

The Newburyport defense created twenty-four Triton turnovers.  Most of the Vikings’ miscues were in the halfcourt and didn’t lead to many breakaway layups.

Triton put its best basketball on display in the second quarter.  Trailing 17-9, the Vikings doubled their score while shutting out the Clippers during a three-minute segment.  Kendall Liebert had a fullcourt layup and two assists to spark the visitors to an 18-17 lead.

One thing that both teams had in common was poor foul shooting.  The Clippers missed ten while the Vikings missed eight.  Several were the front ends of one-and-one’s. 

Triton’s Molly Kimball was the only player to make a 3-point shot.

Free throw shooting was a problem for both teams

The Clippers came up with five rebound baskets.  “We pride ourselves in our rebounding, but we didn’t do quite enough of that tonight,” said Coach Shields.

Asked about the Institution for Savings tournament, Emma said, “We love this tournament.  It’s fun.  They have T-shirts and trophies.”

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

Triton box
Newburyport box
Lizzie Metsker chased by Vikings
Anna Seidel lines up a free throw
Emma Foley in for two points
Olivia McDonald (4) jump shot
Sydney Turner in close
Lilly Papatola (7 points)
Liv Kiricoples on a break
Emma Foley defends Liv Kiricoples

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Newburyport defeats Manchester-Essex 53-26

(Click on the pictures below and they will enlarge.)

Plenty of pressure applied by the Clippers
Emma Foley (14 points in 2nd half)

(Newburyport MA) Don’t let the final score fool you.

The final was Newburyport 53, Manchester-Essex 26.

But the Hornets were more than holding their own into the second half. 

In fact, the visitors were ahead, 22-21, 2 ½ minutes into the second half.

But the one constant was the Newburyport pressure defense.  In the second half, that defense created points in bunches and ME couldn’t keep up.

Emma Fitzgerald (16 points)

“We had a great first half,” said ME coach Lauren Dubois afterwards, “and we handled their pressure better.”

“We struggled, however, against it in the second half,” she added.  “Newburyport picked up the intensity and we ran out of gas a little bit.”

MaKenna Ward stole the ball and went the full length of the court to give the Clippers the lead for good, 23-22, in the second half.

After that the non-stop pressure set up a steady flow of productive possessions for Newburyport.

“When we play our defense,” said MaKenna Ward, “we get steals and we run.”

Olivia Foley and MaKenna Ward turn up the defensive pressure

“We work on a lot of different defenses,” added MaKenna.

In the first half, the Clippers were primarily man-to-man and while they created twenty turnovers (by my count) those turnovers weren’t leading to a flow of points.

In the second half, the double-teams started.  Makenna Ward, Deirdre McElhinney, and Olivia McDonald swarmed the Hornets’ ballhandlers into miscues.  In the second half, the takeaways often turned into points.

MaKenna Ward (13 points)

“Our team is fast,” said MaKenna.  “When we push, we score the most.”

Newburyport’s Emma Foley (14 points) had all of those points in the second half.

“We held them to six points in the second half,” said Clippers coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.  “That was the difference.”

Coach Grutchfield couldn’t help but reflect on her team’s first half: “It was frustrating.  We missed a lot of layups and free throws.”

Contact in the lane

“But,” she added, “we overcame the first-half adversity and I think we can enjoy our play in the second half.”

One thing that both coaches could agree on was the impressive game that ME’s Emma Fitzgerald had.

Coach Dubois: “Emma brings intensity.  She’s a great leader.  She battles hard on every possession.”

Coach Grutchfield: “We had trouble with #3 (Emma Fitzgerald).  She’s a very good player.”

Emma led all scorers with sixteen points.  She tallied all of ME’s second-half points.

Deirdre McElhinney (13 points)

MaKenna Ward and Deirdre McElhinney both had thirteen points for Newburyport.

This was a game played almost entirely on the inside.  No three’s were made and very few were attempted.

When Newburyport went into organized offense, they were intent on getting the ball inside to Emma Foley.  That strategy was the key to Emma’s productive second half.

This was the season opener for both squads.

Parker Brooks under the basket

Free throw shooting was an adventure for both teams.  They combined to miss twenty-five freebies.  ME was 10/25 while Newburyport was 13/23.

Coach Dubois: “Newburyport is a great team with a lot of experienced players back.”

Coach Grutchfield: “The win was nice, but we all have a lot of improving to do.”

MaKenna Ward: “I think that we were a little bit scared in the first half and not playing our best defense.”

Newburyport 11 – 8 – 17 – 17 = 53

Manchester-Essex 9 – 11 – 4 – 2 = 26

The Clippers scored the last fifteen points of the game.

(All of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Manchester-Essex box
Newburyport box
Anna Seidel (12) gets off a shot
Pressure on the ball
Loose ball
Emma Fitzgerald (16 points) in the lane
Mercedes O’Neill
Amelia Donnellan makes a pass
Olivia McDonald
Paige Garlitz
MaKenna Ward and Kendall Newton

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