Tag Archives: Fiona Neilon

Pingree edges Governor’s 33-29

Gov’s Isabelle Ferdinando in front of a large crowd
Callie Batchelder guards Sam Jones (9 points)

(Hamilton MA) Both coaches raved about the atmosphere, and it deserved to be raved about.

“It’s what high school basketball is about,” said Pingree coach Dave Latimer afterwards.  “It was Friday night lights with the whole school cheering you on.”

“I loved the atmosphere,” said Governor’s coach Ceci Reyes post-game.  “It was incredible.  Pingree definitely came out for their Senior Day.  It was great to see some of the Govs’ red out there.”

There weren’t a lot of points to cheer about but plenty of scrappy play to excite the large crowd as Pingree defeated Govs, 33-29, on Friday night.

Battle for control

The tenacious defense played by both teams had a serious impact on the attempts at organized offense by both teams.  Open shots were few and jump balls were in abundance.

Governor’s (3-10) had leads in the first, second, and final quarters.  In fact, the visitors from Byfield were only down a point in the last minute of the game (30-29) after a three by Fiona Neilon (10 points).

Fiona Neilon brought Govs within a point with this three
Shot block

The Govs had the ball twice after that. One time a shot was blocked, and another time had a near-miss three by Anique St. Laurent.

Down the other end, junior Sam Jones hit two free throws with thirty seconds left and another one with eight seconds to go.  Sam’s free throws sealed the win for the Highlanders (10-6).

“It was stressful shooting those free throws with the crowd being so intense,” said Sam afterwards.  “But we had practiced yesterday with super-loud music on.”

Bella Vaz (9 points)

“Sam is a coach on the floor,” said Coach Latimer.  “She is a true point guard who facilitates everyone.  It was huge to see her make those shots down the stretch.”

The key to the win for Pingree may well have been the return to action of Bella Vaz.  The sophomore drained three 3’s and in a low-scoring game her nine points were large.

“Bella injured her ankle twice and we haven’t had her since mid-December,” said Coach Latimer.  “She had nineteen points in two of the three games she was able to play in before the second injury.  We know she can put points on the board, and it was great to have her back today.”

Sportsmanship

“I am so glad to have Bella back,” added Sam.  “We are kind of a dynamic duo out there.  She definitely makes everyone better.”

“It has been hard watching from the bench,” said Bella.  “I am so happy to be able to play.”

Bella’s second three-pointer gave the Highlanders their largest lead (22-15) in the last minute of the first half.

Credit Governor’s, they had that lead reduced to a point (25-24) at the end of the third quarter.  Gracie Augustine had a rebound basket and a layup while teammate Fiona Nielon made a free throw and added a three during the comeback.

Gracie Augustine rebounds

Neither team could gain separation in the final quarter until Sam Jones drained three free throws in the last thirty seconds.

“I always say that we need to turn losses into lessons,” said Coach Reyes.  “Tonight, we needed to do a better job of committing to our defensive assignments and knowing where the shooters are.”

Sam Jones regarding the crowd: “I know that all of us were really nervous before the game.  I honestly didn’t expect so many people to come.  I actually had tears in my eyes when we first came running out because it was so overwhelming.

“Govs plays so hard,” explained Coach Latimer.  “I give their coach a lot of credit.  We’re friendly rivals.”

Callie Batchelder

“Our student body really came out,” added Coach Latimer.  “They don’t usually do that unless it’s Govs or a very big game.  I think that there is mutual respect on both sides.”

Pingree seniors Lexi Garcia and Avery Robillard were honored before the game.

Pingree   9   13   3   8   =   33

Govs        8     8   8   5   =   29

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Governor’s box
Pingree’s box
Pingree student body starts celebrating
Cece Batchelder looks to drive
Julia St. Laurent breaks in for a layup
Hannah Shields on defense
Emily Norton made two three’s
Anique St. Laurent
Lexi Garcia
Anique St. Laurent and Lyla Campbell
Lyla Campbell and Fiona Neilon
Pingree seniors honored

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Jac Doucette (32 points) leads Phillips Exeter past Governor’s 55-47

Jac Doucette carried Phillips Exeter with thirty-two points
Anique St. Laurent (13 points)

(Byfield MA) Somebody was going to put an end to a very long losing streak.

On this evening, it was Phillips Exeter.

The Big Red defeated Governor’s, 55-47.

“We’ve been needing this one for a while,” said Phillips Exeter coach Katie Brule post-game.

Emma Liu (9 points) in for two

Coach Brule’s team opened their season with a win over Milton Academy on December 8th.  Nine straight losses had followed.

The problem had been scoring points.  “This was the first game we’ve scored over thirty-five points in a while,” added Coach Brule.

Junior Jac Doucette (32 points) had a huge game for the visitors.

Jac was shut out in the second quarter but was a reliable source of points in the other quarters with drives to the basket.

“It was exciting for our team to get a win,” said Jac afterwards.  “We had lots of energy and we were composed.”

Jac heads left

Two minutes into the game Jac had eight points and the Govs’ team had five points.

The visitors from New Hampshire carried their lead into the second quarter (24-18) with 5 ½  minutes left.  Then the Govs defense took over and shut down Phillips Exeter (2-9) for the rest of the quarter.  Three’s by Fiona Neilon (10 points) and Amanda Hill (11 points) keyed ten straight Govs’ points and they had a 28-24 halftime lead.

Fiona Neilon (10 points) guarded by Amelia Byerly

Junior Hayle Thompson played some tough, shutdown defense on Jac Doucette during the run of excellent Govs offense/defense in the second quarter.

“She had some good blocks,” recalled Jac.

After 2 ½ minutes into the second half, Govs were up by seven, 35-28, after Amanda Hill’s second three-pointer.  The Big Red looked to be in a lot of trouble.

But suddenly everything came together for Phillips Exeter.  Jac caught fire again and her team put thirteen unanswered points together.  Jac had eleven of those points including a 3-pointer.  Down went Govs, 41-35, and they now looked like the team in trouble. 

Jac Doucette made two three’s

Amelia Byerly added to the visitor’s momentum by connecting on a last-second, desperation half-court shot.  The Phillips Exeter lead was, 44-37, after three quarters.

The Govs weren’t about to quit.  Consecutive inside scores by Gracie Augustine moved them within one possession, 46-44, with five minutes left in the game.

But Jac answered with a three from the top of the key.

Fiona Neilon then responded with an old-fashioned three-point play and Govs were again within one possession with four minutes left.

Battle for control

But Governor’s wouldn’t score another point.

Meanwhile, Jac drove the lane twice for baskets and a Bridgette Martin layin sealed the deal for Phillips Exeter, 55-47.

“We had solid efforts from Emma Liu and Bridgette Martin today,” said Coach Brule.

Jac had a ton of success going to her left to the basket today.  “I’m still working on going to the right,” she said.

Bridgette Martin to the basket

This is Jac’s first year at Phillips Exeter.  “The academics have been hard, and we get plenty of work, but I really like it there,” she added.

Three of Jac’s former teammates at Newburyport High School (Deirdre McElhinney, Emma Foley, and Makenna Ward) took in the game today.

The Govs (2-8) have now lost seven straight.

Phillips Exeter   21    3   20   11   =   55

Governor’s        15  13    9    10   =   47

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Jac Doucette guarded by Gracie Augustine
Jac Doucette double-teamed
Bridgette Martin
Newburyport Clippers in the house
Cece Batchelder
Getting control of a loose ball
Jo Elting
Jess Marquis
Jac Doucette chases Cece Batchelder
Ball on the floor
Anique St. Laurent guarded by Bridgette Martin
Phillips Exeter box
Governor’s box

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