Tag Archives: Kendall Liebert

Triton holds off Lynnfield 52-45

Plenty of exciting action in this game

(Pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)

Bella George (13 points) covers Kendall Liebert (22 points)

(Byfield MA) “It was a great game, back and forth,” said Lynnfield coach Sue Breen afterwards.

A tie after the first quarter was followed by both teams having a lead in the second quarter.  Triton had a tenuous one-point lead going into the final quarter.

In the final quarter, however, the Vikings (5-3) early on combined an effective zone defense with some unanswered offense to take a seven-point lead. Triton never trailed thereafter and secured a, 52-45, win over (1-4) Lynnfield on Sunday afternoon.

Molly Kimball was one of four seniors honored today

The win was special for Triton.  “It was Senior Day, and you always like to get a W on that day,” said Vikings coach Bryon Shields post-game.

Sophomore Kendall Liebert had another big game for the Vikings with twenty-two points.  Seven of Kendall’s points were in the final quarter when this game was decided.

When Kendall wasn’t making layups, she was getting contact on the way in. Kendall was an excellent 10-for-12 from the line.

Junior Bella George paced the Pioneers with thirteen points.

Bella George drives

“Bella George is awesome,” said Coach Breen. “Really steady.”

Bella helped the visitors get to a, 22-15, advantage four minutes into the second quarter.

Triton had answers.  Three’s from seniors Molly Kimball and Maeve Heffernan, as well as a layup by Maeve set up by Isabelle Basile put the home team in front, 25-24.

The Vikings had a 30-26 lead at halftime and a one-point lead (35-34) at the end of three periods.

This one had “tight finish” written all over it.

Kendall Liebert to the basket

But something changed. Triton switched to a zone defense.

“We went into it (zone defense) coming out of the third quarter,” recalled Coach Shields.  “They had trouble making shots against it and so we stayed with it.”

For two minutes the Vikings shut out the Pioneers. “Our zone defense is one of our strongest defenses,” said Maeve Heffernan afterwards.

A three by Molly Kimball (six points) and a successful drive by Kendall Liebert put consecutive points together and Triton was ahead, 41-34, with six minutes to go.

Taylor Valiton guards Liv Kiricoples

There was plenty of time left for Lynnfield to get back into it and they started to score consistently as Bella George heated up again. But on this afternoon, Triton responded with their own points. One time it was a Brianna Welch rebound basket.  Another time it was a Lia Hatheway three.  Kendall added two assisted layups.  The Vikings came away with a 52-45 win.

“We had trouble when they went zone,” said Coach Breen.  “You have to put the ball in the basket.  It’s an easy game when you can do that.”

Rebound battle

Coach Shields: “It was a dog fight.  The difference was our intensity on the defensive end late in the game and our rebounding.”

Maeve Heffernan: “It was a hard-fought game.  We’re not a team that gives up.  We kept working hard.”

Coach Breen: “We competed the whole game.  I think that it was the best game we’ve played so far.”

The 12:30PM start made for some interesting lighting. 

Coach Bryan Shields

Coach Breen coached Lynnfield from 1994-99 before switching to North Andover from 2000-2013. 

The Pioneers broke a three-game losing streak with a win over Collegiate Charter School (Lowell) on January 4th.

The Vikings were 2-8 last season ending with eight straight losses.  One of those losses was to Lynnfield, 54-20. 

The two teams will meet again at Lynnfield on January 21st.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Lynnfield box
Triton box
Isabella Basile
Kendall Liebert on a break
Bella George
Ava Gamache on the floor for Lynnfield
Maeve Heffernan looks to pass
Kendall Liebert (22) up for a block attempt
Maggie Ozanian (8 points) in for a layup
Ball on the floor
Taylor Valiton shoots over Paige Leavitt
Jaelynn Moon guarded by Riley Bell
Triton pressure
Rebound battle

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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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Triton recovers to defeat Saugus 43-39

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Maeve Heffernan chases Peyton DiBiasio
Kendall Liebert (11 points)

(Byfield MA) Two nights ago Triton started out, 13-0, against Swampscott on the road and ended up losing, 40-39, in overtime.

No resemblance to that game tonight against Saugus.

The Vikings were the ones doing the early trailing tonight (by as many as twelve in the second quarter) but at the end they had a satisfying, 43-39, win in their home opener.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Triton coach Bryan Shields afterwards.  “They made one early and we made a run late.”

Lia Hatheway

The Vikings (1-1) pulled ahead of Saugus, 29-27, early in the final quarter on a rebound basket by Lia Hatheway.

Credit the Sachems (0-1), they stayed around on a clutch three by Ashleen Escobar and a layup by Fallon Millerick.

The teams were tied, 35-35, with 2 ½ minutes left.

The Vikings took the W by getting the next six points. 

Free throws were crucial in closing time.  Maeve Heffernan and Isabella Basile had one each and Caitlin Frary hit two.  Liv Kiricoples turned an offensive rebound into a basket.

Fallon Millerick and Liv Kiricoples

Meanwhile, things weren’t going as well for Saugus.  During those same two minutes, the Sachems missed the front end of three straight one-and-one’s.  Ouch!

Kendall Liebert and Caitlin Frary paced Triton with eleven points each. 

Eighth grader Peyton DiBiasio was the scoring leader for Saugus with twelve points including two 3’s.

Triton struggled mightily throughout most of the first half.  Saugus pressure led to plenty of traveling calls and bad passes.  The Vikings had sixteen turnovers (by my count) in just the first quarter! 

Caitlin Frary made seven free throws

“We started off a little shaky,” said Triton senior captain Maeve Heffernan post-game.

Saugus took advantage, riding three’s by April Aldred and Ashleen Escobar to run off twelve straight points and gain a, 12-2, lead with 2:20 to go in the first quarter.

Two free throws and a layin by Kendall Liebert followed but Triton’s struggles didn’t end.  For almost all of the next eight minutes of playing time, stretching well into the second quarter, the Vikings didn’t score a point and the turnovers continued.

Saugus had a great chance to gain some significant separation but didn’t.  The Vikings defense began to have an effect.  Triton’s zone forced Saugus to rely on outside shots and there were very few offensive rebounds for the visitors.

Ashleen Escobar

“Triton was tough,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender afterwards.  “Their zone was good.  They have great length.”

“We like to play physical,” said Maeve Heffernan.  “There will be fouls because we’re pressing.”

Triton was a different team in the second half.

“We captured the momentum late in the second quarter,” recalled Coach Shields.  “It was about sticking in.  It was a team effort.”

Saugus coach Mark Schruender

The Vikings reduced their turnovers and used their size advantage to score on the inside or get to the foul line.

Triton had twenty-three turnovers in the first half but only six in the entire second half.

“As the game went on, we found ways to break through their defense,” said Caitlin Frary.  “We found the pockets and got our shots up.”

Ball on the floor

The Vikings put a five-point spurt together in the closing minute of the third quarter (Maeve Heffernan 3-pointer, and two Caitlin Frary free throws) to finally catch Saugus, 27-27.

The Sachems did regain the lead (30-29) on a Samantha Shea free throw and there were two ties after that.  But crunch time belonged to the home team.

“You try not to let the closeness of the game get into your head,” said Kendall Liebert regarding the closing minutes.  “I’m glad we pushed through it.  We’re a good team.  We work well together.”

“We had our seniors back in at the end and they closed the game,” said Coach Shields.  “Molly (Kimball) had a huge block for us.”

Molly Kimball

Eighth grader Peyton DiBiasio was the game’s top scorer.  “She’s a tough kid,” said Coach Schruender.  “Peyton said she wasn’t nervous.  She liked the moment.”

“You expect the fouls and turnovers in December,” added Coach Schruender.  “At this point, the kids are more athletes than basketball players.”

Coach Schruender got a technical called on him when he put the wrong number in the scorebook.  “That’s inexcusable,” he said.  What probably hurt more was that Triton’s Kendall Liebert made both free throws.

Liv Kiricoples

Coach Schruender’s brother Ted coaches the Triton boys’ basketball team and was at tonight’s game. “I’m sure my brother will have lots of notes for me,” said Coach Schruender laughing.

Triton  6  7  14  16  = 43

Saugus 12  9  6  12  = 39

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

Saugus box
Triton box
Caitlin Frary shoots a free throw late in the game
Isabella Basile chases a loose ball
Reaching for control
Three Vikings chase Peyton DiBiasio
Rebound battle
Vikings double team
Maeve Heffernan and Fallon Millerick
Samantha Shea

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Triton sweeps Pentucket on Senior Night

Triton wins sixth game of the season
Molly Kimball (8) blocks

(Byfield MA) Triton shut out Whittier last night and did the same thing to Pentucket tonight.

Senior Night is as good as any to put on a good showing.

Mia Berardino, Molly Kimball, and Raegan Falooon were honored pre-game.

“Tonight was really special,” said senior Mia Berardino. “I’m so thankful that our friends and family came and supported us.”

“We had a lot of people come out for the first time,” said senior Molly Kimball afterwards.

The Vikings (6-7) swept the Sachems, 25-6, 25-17, and 25-15.

Pentucket (1-11) had times of competitive play, led by senior Jillian Sheehy, but consistent play continues to be missing.

The Molly (Kimball) and Mia (Berardino) Show has been fun to watch.  Just when you think that it may go on forever, Senior Night arrives and the two of them are part of it.

Mia Berardino (1) spikes

Molly is the setter you dream about if you’re a finisher.  She consistently puts the ball into the hitter’s sweet spots.  “I love playing with her,” said Mia afterwards.

Molly ended up with twenty-three assists versus Pentucket in just three games. 

“Molly has been averaging over twenty assists in the last seven or eight matches,” said Triton coach Bob Van Etten.

Mia is the finisher that every setter dreams of setting up.  Mia is tall, can jump, and hits the ball with authority.  Pentucket struggled to block Mia’s hard hits at the net.

“Mia had twelve kills on just seventeen attacks, which is crazy,” admitted Coach Van Etten.

Mia will be playing for Division 2 Stonehill next year.

Mia gave praise to her teammates: “It all starts with the passers.  They were very, very good tonight.  It helped us get good sets and hits.”

The Vikings will need to get to .500 to make the playoffs.

Jillian Sheehy returns a shot

“We’re going to keep pushing,” said Mia. “We really want to make the playoffs.”

Triton has five matches left and several of them are with teams they have already won against.

“We’re going to get to .500,” Coach Van Etten promised.  “We’ll be 9-9 or 10-8.”

I was impressed with the serving skills of Pentucket’s senior Nicole Zahornasky and the net play of sophomore Ava Snyder.

Grace Romine, Emma Campbell, and Kendall Liebert should be key pieces in the 2022 version of Triton volleyball.

Emma had five kills.  Kendall had big blocks at critical times.

Coach Van Etten: “I thought we played well on an emotional night.  They enjoyed themselves but got right down to business when the game started.”

Molly Kimball: “I am undecided on college.  Recently I have been in contact with the basketball coach at Salem State.  We have a fall league and she’s planning to come to some of the games.  If that doesn’t work out, I could take a gap year.”

The most difficult sport for me to photograph is definitely volleyball.  The action is so unpredictable so getting in position to get a shot is elusive.  But I love the challenge!

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

Mia Berardino
Molly Kimball
Raegan Faloon
Jillian Sheehy
Grace Romine
Jocelyn Bickford
Brianna Welch (21)
Mia Berardino dives for a return
Mia Berardino set to return a shot
Nicole Zahornasky serves
Maisie King blocks Mia Berardino
Kendall Liebert blocks Ava Snyder
Eloise Kirkpatrick serves match point
Triton poses during the game

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