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Pentucket starts fast and holds off Wilmington later getting 45-37 D2 North semi-final win

Angelica Hurley (12 points) splits two Wildcats on her way to the basket

Angelica Hurley was ten-for-twelve from the foul line including two in the closing minute

(Lawrence MA) Free throws.

Pentucket (22-2) made enough of them (13) in the second half to survive, 45-37, on Wednesday night against comebacking Wilmington.

The D2 North semi-finals win puts the Sachems into the finals on Saturday (2PM) against North Reading at the Tsongas Arena.

The Wildcats could well have been considered overmatched after falling behind by nineteen (28-9) in the first half.

You score one point (!) in a period and you can leave that sort of impression.

Pentucket coach John McNamara wasn’t fooled: “Even when we were up at halftime, we knew they’d come back. They have scoring power and can knock down shots.”

Kyle Ducharme (13 points) was a force in the second half

As good as the Sachems were in the first half, the Wildcats nearly matched them in the second half.

“We weren’t playing in synch in the first half,” explained Wilmington coach Jessica Robinson afterwards. “We needed to play like a team.”

Getting Kylie DuCharme (13 points) back on the court after foul trouble in the first half really helped Wilmington. Kylie required special defensive attention and prevented Pentucket from trapping other Wildcats very often. The junior could also get to the basket and make shots.

The Sachems 21-1 segment in the first half was answered by the Wildcats with a 15-1 segment of their own in the third period.

Liv Almeida had a pair of three’s and teammate Kylie added a triple to two layins in Wilmington’s run of great offense.

Alyssa Morrison from the corner

Before you knew it, Wilmington was within five (31-26) with plenty of game left.

Twice in the final quarter, the Wildcats (17-6) would get within one possession: 35-32 & 36-33. But they could never get closer.

The defending D2 champs have been in close games before and were able to respond enough to get the W.

“We lost our composure,” recalled Angelina Yacubacci (10 points), “but we got it back at the end.”

Pentucket had only two field goals in the entire second half but both came after Wilmington closed to 36-33 with five minutes left.

MacKenzie Currie into the lane

One of the Pentucket field goals was on a runner in the lane by Arielle Cleveland. The other had Angelina Yacubacci finding a way through traffic to get a layup.

A Kylie DuCharme layup narrowed things to 41-37 with 1 ½ minutes left.

The Sachems were extremely deliberate with their next two possessions. Wilmington was forced to foul.

Angelica Hurley (12 points) and MacKenzie Currie each made both of their pressure-packed free throws in the last forty-nine seconds and Pentucket was on their way to Tsongas.

“We’ve worked on free throws a lot in practice,” said Angelica Hurley. “The practice sure paid off.” Angelica made ten-of-twelve free throws.

“They went to the line and hit their free throws, and that was the difference in this game,” said Coach Robinson. “We didn’t get to the line.”

Ball on the flour

“Somehow we regrouped late in the game because we sure were rattled,” said Coach McNamara. “We made some foul shots and hung on for dear life.”

The Sachems ability to drive and draw fouls was a key to this win. The fouls kept a dangerous player such as Kylie DuCharme out of action for part of Pentucket’s big first-half run.

“We knew that we could get to the foul line if we drove,” said Coach McNamara. “That was crucial for us.”

Anna Wyner: “Wilmington is a great team. We were expecting them to come back and they did. We were strong enough to pull this game out. Coach Mac often tells us that free throws can be the difference in a game.”

Angelica Hurley draws a foul on Liv Almeida

Angelica Hurley: “I could only get one 3-point shot off, so I was focusing on getting free throws. I play AAU ball with Kylie DuCharme and Jenna Tavanese. They are very talented. I love playing with them and against them.”

Coach Robinson: “Our offense goes through Kyle (DuCharme).”

Angelina Yacubacci: “We weren’t getting 3’s tonight. We got here pretty early to shoot.”

Coach McNamara: “We weathered the storm barely. They’re a good team. We’ll take a one-point win over them. It doesn’t matter. It was a game of two runs. Luckily, we had more of a cushion than they did.”

Wilmington used to be in the Cape Ann League. Now they’re in the Middlesex League.

Pentucket will face North Reading also of the Cape Ann League for the third time this season in the D2 North title game on Saturday.

Pentucket box

Wilmington box

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

Angelina Yacubacci

Game end

First half turnover for Wilmington

Hannah Lambert

Jenna Sweeney

Angelina Yacubacci chased by Annie Wingate and Kylie DuCharme

Anna Wyner – last minute defense

Jenna Tavanese

Jenna Tavanese guards Greta Mauer

MacKenzie Currie drives against Kylie DuCharme

Sachems look for a turnover

Wilmington defense surrounds Angelina Yacubacci

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket advances to D2 North semi-finals with 61-34 win versus Wilmington

Kylie DuCharme brings the ball up the court against Pentucket pressure

Maddi Doyle guards Jenna Tavanese

(West Newbury MA) “No amount of scouting can help you against that kind of defense.”

That was what Wilmington coach Jessica Robinson said after her Wildcats fell to Pentucket, 61-34, in the Division 2 North quarter-finals on Thursday night.

The Sachems (20-3) move on to the semi-finals on Tuesday night against #4 Swampscott at Whittier.

The top-seed hounded #8 Wilmington into twenty-five turnovers and kept the Wildcats from functioning smoothly on offense for much of the game.

“We work hard on defense,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.  “They had a couple of very good players and so we had to key on them.”

Jenna Tavanese (2) paced Wilmington with fifteen points.

One of those players was junior Jenna Tavanese (15 points).  Jenna hit two 3’s and Olivia Almeida added another during 1 ½ minutes of the first quarter.  That burst of great shooting propelled the visitors into a, 9-4, lead with three minutes left in that quarter.  Sophomore Kylie DuCharme assisted in all three triples.

“We were definitely nervous in the early going,” explained Pentucket senior Jess Galvin afterwards.  “We were getting used to the crowd.”

Once the team from the Cape Ann League settled in, the Wildcats were in trouble.  The Sachems trapping stymied the offensive flow of Wilmington and when Pentucket’s offense began to click, this game turned in their favor.

Pentucket answered the Wilmington 3’s with two of their own (Anna Wyner & Angelina Yacubacci) plus a layup from Angelina (17 points).

The Sachems led 12-11 after one quarter.

Full-court pressure by Pentucket.

The home team took the lead for good early in the second quarter after Liv Cross converted a rebound and teammate Maddi Doyle drained a three.

Jess Galvin (10 points)

Up by two (17-15) three minutes into the 2nd quarter, the Sachems put a 10-2 segment together (featuring 3’s from MacKenzie Currie and Jess Galvin) and the spread rose to double digits (28-17).

Pentucket led, 33-22 at the half.

“We hung in there with them for a while,” said Coach Robinson, “but we ran out of offensive gas.”

Credit the persistent Pentucket pressure with wearing down the team from the Middlesex League.

Gabby Bond gets a shot

“Our main focus is defense,” said Jess Galvin.  “Coach has said all four years that defense wins games and I agree.”

The Wildcats (12-9) were able to draw within ten (38-28) after Jenna Tavanese hit a three and made a free throw with 3:25 to go in the third quarter.

Thereafter it was all Pentucket.

“We gave up a lot of easy baskets in the first half,” said Coach McNamara, “we did much better defensively in the second half.”

Wilmington scored two baskets in the last minute of the game.  Other than that, the Sachems turned their ten-point lead (38-28) into a 59-30 spread.  That’s a 21-2 segment!

Jess Galvin (10 points) led the Pentucket surge.  She had a beyond-the-arc three, an old-fashioned three, and a free throw.

Cassidy Collins defends

“We work hard in practice,” said Jess.  “Coach gets all the offenses and defenses that the other teams play, and we just execute against them.  Coach always changes things up so that teams won’t know what’s coming.”

One of the key Pentucket defenders was junior Angelica Hurley.  Angelica scored only two points but her defense on sophomore Kylie DuCharme (4 points) was significant.

“Angelica did a great job defensively,” explained Coach McNamara.  “She sacrificed her offensive game to play defense like that.  It is what you have to do in the tournament to advance.”

Coach Robinson: “We were hoping to keep this game in the 30’s and 40’s because then we could hang with them offensively, but it got out of hand for us.”

Maddi Doyle under pressure

Jess Galvin: “I’m looking at UMass Amherst next year.  I am going to try and play basketball there.  I want to study sports business.”

Former Sachem Tess Noguiera was in the house.  She was part of the Pentucket state championship team in 2012.  From Pentucket she went to WPI where she was also on a championship team.  She now works at Raytheon.

Good crowd.  Bleachers were added to the bench side of the gym.

Pentucket box

Wilmington box

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

Angelica Hurley, Kylie DuCharme, Jenna Tavanese

Angelica Hurley with a steal

Anne Wingate (10)

Arielle Cleveland in the open court

Double-team by Pentucket

Kylie DuCharme finds Gabby Bond (44)

Tight defense by Angelica Hurley on Kylie DuCharme

 

 

 

 

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