Tag Archives: Kelsi McNamara

Watertown takes out Pentucket 44-40 in Division 2 North finals

Kelsi McNamara found few openings but still tallied twenty-three points for Pentucket

Kelsi McNamara found few openings but still tallied twenty-three points for Pentucket

 

Gianna Coppola made three of four free throws in crunch time for Watertown

Gianna Coppola made three of four free throws in crunch time for Watertown

Michaela Antonellis (15 points) had a strong game for Watertown

Michaela Antonellis (15 points) had a strong game for Watertown

(Lowell MA) Watertown had twenty-three turnovers, missed nine free throws, and had a seven-minute scoring drought in the final eight-minute quarter.

Not the ingredients you’d expect to be part of a Watertown girls’ win but they were.  The Raiders had enough defense to offset the negatives and ousted Pentucket, 44-40, to gain the Division 2 North title on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Center.

Watertown will face South #1 seed Duxbury (24-1) on Tuesday night (5:45PM) at the TD North Garden in the Division 2 state semifinals.

Kelsi McNamara (23 points) was option one, two, three, and four for the Sachems (23-2) all afternoon.  Kelsi, who recently became Pentucket’s all-time scoring leader, saw plenty of defenders Rachel Morris and Felicia Korte during the afternoon.  The taller twosome alternated on Kelsi and did a solid job of limiting open 3-point attempts.

Felicia Korte defends Kelsi McNamara

Felicia Korte defends Kelsi McNamara

When Kelsi was able to find space past her outside defenders there was always 6-2 Shannon Murphy to also be dealt with.  Almost all of Kelsi’s open shots were taken in warmups!

Kelsi, however, had two of four 3’s during the first half of the final quarter.  Her second one put the Sachems within one possession (41-38) of the lead with half a quarter left.

The undefeated Raiders (21-0) made things more “interesting” than they should have as they nursed a three-point lead with a run thereafter of turnovers (three) and missed free throws (four).  But the team from West Newbury didn’t answer the Watertown miscues with points.  In fact, it wasn’t until twenty-four seconds were left when senior Audrey Tipson sank two free throws to put Pentucket on the doorstep trailing only 41-40.

Looking for a clutch performance?  Step up, Gianna Coppola.  The Sachems fouled Gianna to stop the clock after Audrey‘s free throws.  The WHS senior made the first shot but not the second.  The rebound on the missed shot, however, was mishandled by Pentucket and Watertown had the ball out-of-bounds.  A pass in and Gianna was fouled again.  This time she hit both free throws giving Watertown a four-point lead with nine seconds left.  A prayer by Kelsi McNamara a few seconds later was not answered and the Raiders had the title.

Michaela Antonellis gets double teamed by McKenna Kilian and Taylor Moore

Michaela Antonellis gets double teamed by McKenna Kilian and Taylor Moore

Watertown started fast (11-3) with Michaela Antonellis (15 points) cashing several inside shots.  The Sachems, however, shut out Watertown for the final five minutes of the quarter and went on a 12-1 run to lead 15-12 after a quarter.  Kelsi had two three’s in that segment.

The Raiders regained the lead but Pentucket was still close (27-25) in the first two minutes of the third quarter.  A layup by Audrey Tipson assisted by Boo Torrisi narrowed the gap to two.

Then junior Michaela Antonellis took over with eight consecutive points on a three, a jump shot, and a driving layup.  Gianna Coppola followed with a layup assisted by Michaela to end a nine-point run that put Watertown ahead 36-25 with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter.

Kelsi McNamara tries to get past 6-2 Shannon Murphy

Kelsi McNamara tries to get past 6-2 Shannon Murphy

After Shannon Murphy notched a layup to start the final quarter Watertown looked comfortable at 41-32.  But two Kelsi McNamara three’s later that lead was down to three with plenty of time left.  On this afternoon that “plenty of time” wasn’t enough for the Sachems.  No question they had plenty of glittering chances but couldn’t find a big shot in the end game.

I was impressed with ball-handling skills of Watertown’s Michaela Antonellis.
I was also impressed with the way Pentucket turned up the defense in the final quarter.  The way they double-teamed every Raider receiving a pass was effective.

This was the third straight year to the North finals for Watertown.  Two years ago Pentucket won, 38-24, as they put fifteen straight points together to get an early 18-2 lead and never looked back.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)Pentucket boxwatertown box

Kelsi McNamara puts up a runner in the lane

Kelsi McNamara puts up a runner in the lane

McKenna Kilian goes baseline

McKenna Kilian goes baseline

Kelsi McNamara was heavily defended on the perimeter

Kelsi McNamara was heavily defended on the perimeter

Audrey Tipson brought Pentucket within a point making two free throws in the last minute

Audrey Tipson brought Pentucket within a point making two free throws in the last minute

Kelsi McNamara gets a block on Gianna Coppola

Kelsi McNamara gets a block on Gianna Coppola

Kelsi McNamara in the midst of four Raiders

Kelsi McNamara in the midst of four Raiders

 

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Colleen Jameson and Kelsi McNamara come up big in Pentucket’s 34-25 win over Arlington Catholic in D2 North semifinals

Colleen Jameson killed Arlington Catholic with five 3-pointers

Colleen Jameson killed Arlington Catholic with five 3-pointers

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) became the top all-time scorer at Pentucket

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) became the top all-time scorer at Pentucket

Pentucket celebrates

Pentucket celebrates

(Danvers MA)  Colleen Jameson provided separation and Kelsi McNamara added the finishing touch as #2 Pentucket defeated #3 Arlington Catholic, 34-25, in the North D2 semifinals on Monday night at St. John’s Prep.

Arlington Catholic had trouble taking care of the ball in the first half (sixteen turnovers) and made only three-of-ten free throws in the second half.  But despite that unsavory combination, the Cougars trailed by only four (29-25) with 2:19 left.  A three by Marie Gaffney (11 points) keyed AC’s late run.

This was where Kelsi McNamara (15 points) took over the scoring load for the Sachems.  She put up five unanswered points (two jump shots and a free throw) to seal the deal for Pentucket (23-1) and became, in the process, the Sachems’ all-time top scorer with over 1200 points.

Kelsi McNamara puts up a three

Kelsi McNamara puts up a three

Pentucket coach John McNamara was forced to play Kelsi sparingly after she picked up her 4th foul with plenty of time left in the final quarter.  But when Kelsi came back for the final 2+ minutes you knew that she would try to find shots no matter what the defense did.  In both baskets Kelsi went left in heavy traffic, including 6-2 Demi Fogarty, and still made the shots.  A third try in the same area earned her free throws.  The active Pentucket student section then saluted her with, “MVP, MVP.”

If anyone was giving out an MVP award I suspect that sophomore Colleen Jameson (15 points) would also deserve plenty of consideration.  Colleen drained five three’s including four in the decisive third quarter.

Colleen’s second three gave Pentucket the lead (16-13) for good.  The next three was assisted by Kelsi and then came the backbreaker (for AC) when Colleen had the ball with time running out on the shot clock and rushed a long three that swished as the shot clock went off.  That prompted an AC timeout and some significant defense on Colleen the rest of the way.  But before the quarter ended there was Colleen behind the arc in front of the Sachems’ student section and one more time she clicked from long range.  Thanks to Colleen’s accuracy the Sachems were in front, 26-16, after three quarters.

Boo Torrisi shadows Melissa Rogers

Boo Torrisi shadows Melissa Rogers

There was plenty of time for the defending D2 champions to respond and they did getting within four before Kelsi McNamara took over.

I am confident that when the AC faithful try to figure out where this game was lost they will say that the second quarter did them in.  And who can argue!  The Cougars (18-6) did not score a single point in the second quarter.  Zip.  Nada.  All they had to show for that quarter were nine turnovers all of which were in the frontcourt.  Credit the Pentucket defense.  They were relentless and their double-teams kept Arlington Catholic from running organized offense and capitalizing on 6-2 Demi Fogarty in close.

Colleen Jameson had three 3’s in Pentucket’s quarterfinal win over Wakefield.  Earlier in February she had five long one’s versus North Reading.

The team from West Newbury moves on to the D2 North finals on Saturday at the Tsongas Center against either Belmont or Watertown.

Alex Ball makes a save

Alex Ball makes a save

The Cougars had two 3’s (sophomore Alex Ball and senior Melissa Rogers) in the first quarter.

AC is from the Catholic Central League while Pentucket plays in the Cape Ann League.

Pentucket box

Arlington Catholic box

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

Pentucket double team

Pentucket double team

Demi Fogarty blocks Taylor Moore

Demi Fogarty blocks Taylor Moore

Fast break

Fast break

McKenna Killian goes for the block

McKenna Killian goes for the block

Kelsi McNamara

Kelsi McNamara

Marie Gaffney (11 points) defends

Marie Gaffney (11 points) defends

Colleen Jameson

Colleen Jameson

Pentucket student section (active and appropriate)

Pentucket student section (active and appropriate)

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Fast start and Kelsi McNamara (23 points) too much for Triton in 52-39 loss to Pentucket

Kelsi McNamara (23 points) gets a screen from McKenna Kilian

Kelsi McNamara (23 points) gets a screen from McKenna Kilian

Morgan Snow caught in Pentucket trap

Morgan Snow caught in Pentucket trap

(Byfield MA)  Triton had a nightmare first quarter and spent the rest of the game trying to recover.

They never did and Pentucket downed the Vikings, 52-39, on Tuesday night in Cape Ann League action.

The Sachems have now won fifteen straight and sport an impressive 18-1 record with three games remaining.

Pentucket gave the home team a full dose of full-court, trapping pressure and rolled to a 19-2 first quarter.  Triton committed ten turnovers and the Sachems turned several of the miscues into instant baskets.

Triton head coach Dan Boyle burned two timeouts early in that quarter to try and stop the Sachems but the inexperienced Vikings persisted in dribbling into traps and passing into traffic with bad results.

Kelsi McNamara paced Pentucket with twenty-three points, none of them in the runaway first quarter.  However, Kelsi was part of the effective Pentucket traps that led to turnovers and also assisted on four baskets in the quarter.

Camille Mihalchik (#22) hit several shots from the corner

Camille Mihalchik (#22) hit several shots from the corner

The Vikings finally broke a run of thirteen Sachems points when Camille Mihalchik hit a jump shot early in the second quarter assisted by Erin Savage.

Jessica Greaney (Triton) and Boo Torrisi (Pentucket) traded free throws before Kelsi put six straight points together.  The Pentucket senior took a steal in for a layup, hit a floater in the lane, and two free throws to increase the Sachems edge to, 26-5, with 1+ minutes left until halftime.

The rest of the way Triton played a lot better.  Why?  They lessened the turnovers.  They had only four (by my count) in the second half.  Less turnovers, more scoring opportunities.

Key to the Vikings’ turnaround was sophomore Mel Primpas.  The point guard handled the Pentucket pressure and gave Triton a chance to display their outside shooting and inside height advantage.

Carolyn Modlish shadows Tess Lafrance (13 points)

Carolyn Modlish shadows Tess Lafrance (13 points)

Tessa Lafrance caught fire with a ten-point third quarter including two 3’s as the home team collected nineteen points.

Triton put a 10-1 segment together that stretched into the final quarter to close to within ten points (42-32) with five minutes left in the game.  Five different Vikings (Morgan Snow, Tessa Lafrance, Abby Ostrander, Camille Mihalchik, and Erin Savage) scored in the rally.

After a Pentucket timeout, the Sachems responded with six straight points (Kelsi free throw, Audrey Tipson layup, and Kelsi three) and erased any thought that an upset was possible.

The Vikings did get two three’s in the last minute (Tessa Lafrance & Jessica Greaney) to tighten the final score to 52-39.

McKenna Kilian (13 points) had eight points in the decisive first quarter for Pentucket.

When you see Pentucket play the first thing you notice is their disruptive defense.  Watch a little longer and you start to appreciate their ability to see and successfully pass to open teammates.

full-court pressure

full-court pressure

Best play of the game?  Last two minutes.  Kelsi had the rebound and McKenna Kilian broke down the left side.  A good pass would have been to McKenna on the left wing.  A great pass happened when Kelsi took a couple of dribbles up the court and tossed a remarkable drop-in pass over the defender that McKenna caught in stride behind the defender for a layup.

The two teams played on January 5th and Pentucket won, 32-20, at Triton.  Boo Torrisi paced Pentucket with eleven points.  Kelsi had only 7 with no three’s.

This game was scheduled for Pentucket but their schools are closed this week because of the snow on the roofs.

loose ball

loose ball

Pentucket finishes their regular season with two games in St. Mary’s tournament next week.  They are scheduled to host North Reading this Friday.  With the school’s closed you wonder if they’ll be able to have Seniors’ Day at Pentucket.

Triton has won seven of their last nine games.  They host Malden tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

Boo Torrisi and Carolyn Modlish took turns denying Tessa Lafrance the ball.

How did Rebecca Torrisi become “Boo?”  As an infant she was called “Bec-a-boo” by family and it stuck.  For those of you familiar with Paul Harvey, “Now you know the rest of the story!”

Mel Primpas spent some time covering Kelsi.  These two photos show what happened to Mel when she got too close to Kelsi.petr A9 Mel about to flypetr A10 Mel flies

Pentucket Boxscore

Triton Boxscore

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

Colleen Jameson defended by Hannah Clark

Colleen Jameson defended by Hannah Clark

looking for a rebound

looking for a rebound

Carolyn Modlish breaks ahead

Carolyn Modlish breaks ahead

Kelsi McNamara in the lane

Kelsi McNamara in the lane

McKenna Killian (13 points)

McKenna Killian (13 points)

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Pentucket stuns Newburyport in OT 52-44

Kelsi McNamara (27 points) launches a three.  She made five in the game.

Kelsi McNamara (27 points) launches a three. She made five in the game.

McKenna Kilian (15 points) starts her drive for the tying basket in regulation

McKenna Kilian (15 points) starts her drive for the tying basket in regulation

(Newburyport MA) Pentucket tied the score with eight seconds left in regulation (McKenna Kilian layup) and then dominated overtime as they defeated Newburyport, 52-44, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.

For the Clippers (12-7), the loss to Pentucket (16-4) was way too similar to their loss on Monday to undefeated Masco.  They held the lead in both games in the second half only to come away frustrated when each game was over.

Kelsi McNamara (27 points) had only ten points through three quarters.  After that?  Wow!  The junior guard put up ten points in the 4th quarter and seven points in the four-minute overtime.

Fifteen of Kelsi’s points came on three’s.  Biggest one?  Her last one in the fourth quarter.  An Emily Pettigrew free throw had Newburyport up by three (38-35) with 1:06 left.  Kelsi followed by dribbling almost every second off the thirty-second clock before finding a long-range opening.  Her shot went in, tying the score, as the shot-clock buzzer sounded.

Kelsi hit her 4th long one 1+ minutes into overtime and Pentucket went up by four (44-40).  The lead was still four (46-42) when Kelsi drilled the back breaker with 1:49 left.  The 5th of her 3’s hit rim, backboard, and then rim again before sliding in.  Now down, 49-42, the struggling Newburyport offense had no quick answers and dropped a tough one.

There was plenty of excitement down the stretch in regulation.  After Kelsi tied the score (38-38) with thirty-six seconds left, Aly Leahy (10 points) sank two pressure free throws to put the Clippers on top (40-38) with twenty-one seconds to go.

I was sure that Pentucket, after their timeout, would try to get Kelsi a 3-point attempt or have her drive and draw a foul.  Didn’t happen. Instead, Kelsi took the ball out-of-bounds and found teammate McKenna Kilian (15 points) cutting across from the weakside.  I then expected Kelsi to jump in-bounds, get a pass back and shoot or get fouled.  Didn’t work that way.  Kelsi came in-bounds and attracted a double-team but, instead of passing to Kelsi, McKenna drove past defender Aly Leahy to the basket to tie the score with eight seconds left.

Boo Torrisi defends Aly Leahy in the closing seconds of regulation

Boo Torrisi defends Aly Leahy in the closing seconds of regulation

Still plenty of time for the Clippers.  Aly Leahy set off on a full-court drive down the right side with Boo Torrisi on her shoulder.  With time just about gone Aly rushed a 10-footer that missed.  Abbie Bresnahan grabbed the rebound but there wasn’t time for her to score the game-winner.

Pentucket has now won four straight and fifteen of their last sixteen.  Their next game is against Belmont in the St. Mary’s (Lynn) tournament.

Newburyport has lost three of four in February.  They face Saugus away on Tuesday.  Cape Ann Scores lists the game at 5AM!

Newburyport honored its five seniors: Aly Leahy, Amy Sullivan, Jaycie Triandafilou, Lilly Donovan, and Mary Pettigrew.

The Clippers lost the previous meeting with the Sachems, 45-43, on January 6th at Pentucket.  In that one the Clippers had a ten-point lead in the third quarter.

Pentucket came out at least a minute late in the second half.

Kelsi McNamara made ten free throws

Kelsi McNamara made ten free throws

Pentucket had only four turnovers total in the second half and overtime.  Maybe putting the ball into Kelsi McNamara’s hands on every possession had something to do with it.

Newburyport had twenty-three turnovers in the game.  Almost all of them were in the frontcourt.

Former players Sam Leahy and Coley Viselli were on hand for this one.

The interior defense of Pentucket did a terrific job limiting high-scoring Emily Pettigrew to five points.  Emily likes to catch-and-spin but every time a pass came in to her the Sachems slid someone over to eliminate the “spin” part.

Seemed to me like there was an awful lot of whining from all parts of the gym during this game.  Where was the Valentine’s Day spirit?

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Jaycie Triandafilou

Jaycie Triandafilou

Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan

Mary Pettigrew

Mary Pettigrew

Aly Leahy

Aly Leahy

Lilly Donovan

Lilly Donovan

Morgan Johnston and McKenna Kilian

Morgan Johnston and McKenna Kilian

Emily Pettigrew finds little room to operate

Emily Pettigrew finds little room to operate

Lilly Donovan shoots in the lane

Lilly Donovan shoots in the lane

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Masconomet barely beats Pentucket 39-38 to remain undefeated

McKenna Kilian (17 points) defends Nicky Femino (12 points)

McKenna Kilian (17 points) defends Nicky Femino (12 points)

Riley Holden faces defender Stephanie Mini in the closing seconds

Riley Holden faces defender Stephanie Mini in the closing seconds

(West Newbury MA) Pentucket had two shots in the lane in the last thirty seconds but came up empty and undefeated Masconomet (14-0) survived, 39-38, on Monday night in Cape Ann League action.

Hannah Kiernan’s free throw with thirty-six seconds left proved to be the game winner.

The Sachems (12-4) went down by six (38-32) with three minutes left.  However, tireless Kelsi McNamara (17 points) hit a runner in the lane, McKenna Kilian (17 points) made one of three free throw attempts, and Kelsi launched a game-tying three (38-38) with 1:06 left.

The momentum had clearly shifted to Pentucket.  I thought that Masco might be in trouble because they hadn’t been in a tight game all season plus this was only their fifth game on the road.

Hannah Kiernan gets to the basket

Hannah Kiernan gets to the basket

The Chieftains’ Hannah Kiernan got into the lane, got fouled, and gave Masco the point that decided this one with thirty-six seconds left.

Trust me, that lone point came close to not holding up the rest of the way.  First, McKenna Kilian misfired on a runner in the lane.  Then, after a Hannah Kiernan traveling violation, the Sachems were able to get back in the lane again.  This time it was Riley Holden’s chance but freshman Stephanie Mini blocked her shot with just a few seconds left.  The Chieftains were then able to run out the clock without giving Pentucket any more opportunities.

The Sachems had won eleven straight since a December 27th, 66-40, loss to Masconomet.

Masco’s last defeat was on March 2nd (2013) to Billerica (64-42) in the Division 1 quarterfinals.

Meghan Collins had the unenviable task of guarding Kelsi McNamara most of the game.  In almost every picture I took of Kelsi dribbling, there was not only Meghan but also one or two other Masco defenders ready to help.  What that defense did was to keep Kelsi from driving and either scoring or getting fouled.  Kelsi did, however, make the Chieftains pay by hitting shots from the outside.

Kelsi McNamara saw little daylight in the last minute

Kelsi McNamara saw little daylight in the last minute

I think that the key to the Masco win was their ability to keep Kelsi from getting another shot after she had tied the game from downtown with 1:06 left.

Pentucket had the lead or was tied into the fifth minutes of the second quarter.  Then a layup and two free throws by Nicky Femino (12 points) put Masco in front, 16-13.

A Kelsi McNamara three, a fall-back jumper by Kelsi, and two McKenna Kilian free throws put the home team back in front 20-16 with 1:43 left in the second period.  Pentucket led, 20-18, at the half.

I had a sense at halftime that Masco would pull away in the second half.  They had been able to get to the basket but not finish as often as they should.  Pentucket had shown only two scorers (McKenna Kilian & Kelsi McNamara) and if either cooled off matching points with Masco would be very tough.

Kelsi McNamara eyes the hoop

Kelsi McNamara eyes the hoop

The Chieftains moved ahead, 23-22, on a Nicky Femino long shot three minutes into the second half.  That lead would be extended to 34-27 on a buzzer-beating three by Amy Fogarty early in the fourth quarter.

McKenna Kilian brought the Sachems within two (34-32) with a three and a floater in the lane with six minutes left.

Stephanie Mini put in a layup (nice pass from Hannah Kiernan) and Nicky Femino got to the hoop for two putting Masco on top, 38-32, with three minutes remaining.

Then it was Kelsi and McKenna combining to tie the score before Hannah Kiernan’s free throw gave Masco a one-point win.

tongue tied

tongue tied

Looking ahead, I suspect that Pentucket will continue to struggle to score points.   I also suspect that every opponent they face will struggle against their defense.  The Sachems give the opposition little breathing room.  Do they have enough offense to defeat Division 2 teams in the tournament?

Division 1 Masco is legit.  The two things about them that impressed me in this game were their ability to get the ball to the basket and their gusto getting after rebounds.  In this game they had four second-chance baskets and nine scores on layups.

Masco will play five of their last six games away from home.  Undefeated?  The tournament at the end of the season at St. Mary’s could settle that especially if they get up against the powerhouse host team in it.

Masconomet box

Pentucket box

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

Kelsi McNamara breaks on Hannah Kiernan

Kelsi McNamara breaks on Hannah Kiernan

Stephanie Mini blocks Carolyn Penney

Stephanie Mini blocks Carolyn Penney

Kelsi McNamara and Meghan Collins

Kelsi McNamara and Meghan Collins

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Kelsi McNamara (22 points) leads Pentucket past Newburyport 45-43

Kelsi McNamara (22 points) on the break

Kelsi McNamara (22 points) on the break

Jaycie Triandafilou pressures Kelsi McNamara

Jaycie Triandafilou pressures Kelsi McNamara

(West Newbury MA) Maybe they’re not dead after all.

But trust me, the Pentucket girls looked close to dead when they went down by ten (36-26) with 3:18 left in the third quarter against undefeated Newburyport.

However, the rest of the way the Sachems (4-3) made shots, forced eight turnovers, and defeated the Clippers, 45-43, on Monday night at steamy Pentucket.

Kelsi McNamara (22 points) had a remarkable game for Pentucket.  The junior guard notched four 3’s, and set up teammate Carolyn Modlish for four layups including the game winner with 1:19 left.  In the last minute Kelsi had a block, a free throw, and a steal.

I was there for Kelsi’s three’s in the tournament but I’m wondering if she has had a better all-around, regular-season game than this one.

Aly Leahy (12 points) heads for the basket as McKenna Kilian defends

Aly Leahy (12 points) heads for the basket as McKenna Kilian defends

This Cape Ann League game was especially intense in the final five minutes after Emily Pettigrew (12 points) tied the score at 40-40 on an inbounds play.

Pentucket got the next two baskets (McKenna Kilian jumper and Carolyn Modlish layup) before Aly Leahy (12 points) nailed a three with 1:04 left.

After freshman Colleen Jameson had a near-miss on a three, Newburyport took over trailing only by one (44-43).  Senior Aly Leahy twice tried to drive down the lane but was blocked both times (McKenna Kilian and Kelsi McNamara).  Without a shot hitting the rim, the Clippers were called for a 30-second shot clock violation with six seconds left.

Kelsi took the inbounds pass, was fouled, and made the front end of a one-and-one to put the Sachems ahead, 45-43.

Kelsi McNamara dribbles out the clock

Kelsi McNamara dribbles out the clock

Still time for Newburyport to get off a shot but Emily Pettigrew’s pass, intended for Aly Leahy, sailed over her head.  Kelsi retrieved the overthrow and Pentucket had the win.

Pentucket used a zone for quite a while in this game and Newburyport took full advantage of it.  Aly Leahy hit three longs ones while the Pettigrew sisters (Mary & Emily) chewed up the Sachems on the inside.  When Pentucket played man-to-man in the second half the Clippers were a lot less comfortable.  Carolyn Modlish and McKenna Kilian did a terrific job keeping the ball away from Mary or Emily in the late stages of the final quarter.

Amy Sullivan, Jaycie Triandafilou, and Aly Leahy all took turns closely guarding Kelsi McNamara.  There were no easy shots for Kelsi.  She did make several tough ones inside in traffic.

With Kelsi certain to be closely guarded, even double-teamed, openings turned up for teammates.  Finding sophomore Carolyn Modlish for four layups was a key to the Pentucket victory.

Freshman Colleen Jameson

Freshman Colleen Jameson

Another key was the play of freshman Colleen Jameson.  Colleen was not even on the program so I assume that she played in the JV game.  I think she played the entire second half in the varsity game.  Her contribution?  She could get the ball up the court freeing Kelsi from having to do it.  She passed well and played good defense.  Colleen should be on the varsity program for the Sachems’ home game on Wednesday with Hamilton-Wenham.

There were ten lead changes.

Senior Mary Pettigrew (14 points) is a returning Cape Ann League All-Leaguer.  She made seven of eight free throws.

What a difference a year makes.  Last year Pentucket defeated Newburyport 61-33 and 60-29.

The teams are scheduled to spend Valentine’s Day together in a rematch at Newburyport.

Next game for the Clippers (5-1) is Wednesday (6:30PM) at Amesbury.

I learned at the concessions stand that Alex Moore is at Rhode Island College playing for the Anchorwomen.  The former Sachem had twenty-two points in a recent win over undefeated Bowdoin.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

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

Riley Holden gets a high five from Coach John McNamara

Riley Holden gets a high five from Coach John McNamara

Kelsi McNamara gives Pentucket a two-point lead

Kelsi McNamara gives Pentucket a two-point lead

McKenna Kilian (23) blocks Aly Leahy

McKenna Kilian (23) blocks Aly Leahy

Carolyn Modlish gets the game winner

Carolyn Modlish gets the game winner

Aly Leahy and Rebecca Torrisi chase a loose ball

Aly Leahy and Rebecca Torrisi chase a loose ball

Mary Pettigrew (14 points) and Riley Holden

Mary Pettigrew (14 points) and Riley Holden

Audrey Tipson surrounded by Clippers

Audrey Tipson surrounded by Clippers

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Archbishop Williams defeats Pentucket 52-38 to reach state Division 3 finals

Coley Viselli faces defender Alana Gilmer

Coley Viselli faces defender Alana Gilmer

Archbishop Williams - state Division 3 finalists

Archbishop Williams – state Division 3 finalists

(Boston) The Boston Globe had Archbishop Williams as the second-best team in the state behind Reading before today’s state semi-finals.

The #7 seed Archies (22-5) looked awfully good in their, 52-38, Division Three state semi-finals win over Pentucket at the TD Garden on Monday afternoon.

When I learned that Reading had been beaten by Medfield later today in the Division 2 semifinals, I think that it is safe to say that Archbishop Williams is now the best in the East in all divisions.

Lee will be the Archies’ opponent on Saturday at the Worcester Centrum (10:45AM) for the state Division Three title.  Just to caution the overconfident in the East: the Lee girls basketball program has won more state titles than any school in Massachusetts.

Alana Gilmer (12 points)

Alana Gilmer (12 points)

The Bishops were able to gain separation (18-9) from the Sachems with a ten-point run in the last three minutes of the first quarter.  A new three (Kayla Free), a converted rebound (Alana Gilmer), an old-fashioned three (Leah Spencer), and a layup at the buzzer (Jaylen Williams) provided the decisive 10-spot.

The Sachems (24-2) chased the Archies the rest of the afternoon. The undersized girls from West Newbury were within four (20-16) in the second quarter and five (28-23) in the third quarter.

The Sachems had their best moments in the final quarter when their pressing defense forced two turnovers and four quick points (two Kelsi McNamara free throws and Tess Nogueira layup from Kelsi).  Pentucket was suddenly within six (40-34) with six minutes left.

Those who have seen Pentucket play, envisioned the start of a big run and an interesting finish.  Didn’t happen.  Sara Ryan answered with a three.  Kelsi followed with two free throws. That put the difference at seven (43-36).

Pentucket then went into a five-minute scoring drought that sealed their fate.  During the same time frame, Archbishop Williams added eight points to their lead (51-36), and the reserves from both sides finished the last minute.  Jaylen Williams tallied from in close twice and Leah Spencer and Katryna Veasey had the other baskets in the late-game run.

There were few easy baskets at any time for Pentucket.  6-3 sophomore Jaylen Williams patrolled the lane on defense and the usual drives of the Sachems were discouraged.

Leah Spencer did a good job of keeping Kelsi McNamara (13 points) from getting looks at 3-point attempts.  Kelsi had only one three in the game.

6-3 Jaylen Williams

6-3 Jaylen Williams

Sophomore 6-footer Alana Gilmer (12 points) put the defensive blanket over Coley Viselli (3 points).  Just getting by Alana was difficult for the talented Pentucket senior and there was always 6-3 Jaylen Williams ready to pick up the defensive slack if Coley was driving.

If you had to narrow Pentucket’s twenty-four wins down to two reasons, I would say that one was being able to force turnovers that lead to quick points and the other was making three’s.  Neither one of those went the Sachems way on this day.

By my count, Pentucket had fourteen turnovers and the Archies only ten turnovers.  Only one of the Archie miscues led to a quick Pentucket basket.

The Sachems made only three long ones.  They really had trouble, because of the Archbishop Williams’ height, getting open looks even from long range.

Coley Viselli was injured early in the second quarter but came back before halftime.

At the end of the game, four seniors (Emily Dresser, Coley Viselli, Tess Nogueira, and Alex Moore) had ended their Pentucket hoop careers.

arpe A13 Emily, Coley, Tess, Alex

During Coach John McNamara’s seven seasons with Pentucket, the team has always been able to reload the following season despite graduation losses.  Don’t bet against it happening again.

Plenty of support on hand at the TD Garden for both teams.

I continue to wonder why those in charge of the chanting student sections don’t discourage them from taunting each other.  Directing positive chants toward their own team would make a lot more sense and create fewer hard feelings………but what do I know?

Archbishop Williams boxscore

Pentucket boxscore

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

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) drives on Leah Spencer

Kelsi McNamara (13 points) drives on Leah Spencer

Alex Moore gets her shot blocked by Sara Ryan

Alex Moore gets her shot blocked by Sara Ryan

Tess Nogueira was six-for-six from the line

Tess Nogueira was six-for-six from the line

Coley Viselli heads for the hoop

Coley Viselli heads for the hoop

McKenna Kilian gets into the lane

McKenna Kilian gets into the lane

Tess Nogueira reacts to her 5th foul

Tess Nogueira reacts to her 5th foul

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