(Newburyport MA) Both coaches said the same thing right afterwards.
“This game was fun.”
I would have gone with, “exciting” to describe Newburyport’s, 86-83, overtime win against Amesbury on Friday night.
The game was certainly worthy of superlatives!
I’m going to guess that records were set.
Undefeated Newburyport (9-0) and Amesbury (2-5) combined for twenty-eight three’s.
Junior Cam Keliher collected forty-four points in a night where he made eleven three’s.
Amesbury played as if they didn’t remember their last meeting versus the Clippers; a 28-point loss in January.
The Indians also played as if they hadn’t played last night, which they had.
“Amesbury was relentless,” add NHS coach Dave Clay. “They played well in their win over Manchester-Essex last night and it carried over into this one.”
The Indians came very close to winning in regulation.
A Cam Keliher three had Amesbury ahead by three with twenty-two seconds left.
You suspected that the Clippers’ high scorer, Jake Robertson, would be involved in the final shot……….and he was, but it took a while.
Tight AHS defense forced Max Gagnon (17 points) into what looked to be the last shot. He missed, but Jack Fehlner (16 points) found the rebound and quickly found Jake.
“It was close to being over,” said Jake afterwards. “Great offensive rebound by Jack.”
Jake launched a long, straightaway three just before the buzzer sounded. “I couldn’t tell if it was in because I fell off to the side,” said Jake.
But in it went, and Newburyport had five more minutes of playing time.
“We attacked the offensive glass and got that last chance,” said Coach Clay.
The Clippers took a quick four-point lead in overtime against the tiring Indians on inside scores by Jack Fehlner and Tommy Jahn (10 points).
Defensively the Clippers changed to a 1-2-2 zone defense and lessened Cam Keliher’s clean looks.
“We were just trying to give them a different look,” explained Coach Clay. “Cam was really killing us with that step-back. It was a gamble. We did it earlier in the game and he hit a corner three.”
“That zone in overtime was effective because we missed some inside shots,” said Coach Comeau.
After a layup by Kyle Donovan (11 points) Jack Fehlner and Tommy Jahn both scored again from in close.
Cam followed with his 11th three to cut the lead to three (86-83) with 22 seconds left.
The Indians would get a final possession with a chance to tie but weren’t able to do it.
“We had them,” said Cam post-game, “and he (Jake) made that tough shot. Credit to him.”
“I’m sad that we lost but it was a fantastic game,” said Coach Comeau. “This what the Amesbury/Newburyport rivalry is supposed to be like.”
“I’m excited for our kids to have been in a game like this,” said Coach Clay. “Win or lose, you never forget these.”
Coach Clay: “Jake (Robertson) always makes the right play. It doesn’t always end with him shooting the ball. I was certainly glad to see the ball in his hands at the end, I’ll admit. That was a tough shot, but we’ve seen him hit those in practice.”
You would have never guessed the ending by the way the first half went.
The teams were tied, 7-7, after four minutes but then the Clippers took over. They scored the next fourteen points, while Amesbury committed five turnovers.
To make this worse, Cam Keliher limped off and missed most of the final four minutes.
Newburyport led, 21-7, after a quarter.
The lead was sixteen (36-20) halfway through the second quarter.
One minute into the second half, the Clippers still had a nice cushion, 46-30.
Newburyport winning by twenty-eight in January started dancing in my head.
But as Coach Comeau said afterwards, “There’s no quit in these kids.”
The Indians absolutely owned the next 3 ½ minutes of playing time in the third quarter. They went on a 19-3 run and tied the game, 49-49.
Matt Welch (13 points) had seven during the run as did Cam Keliher.
Five ties and seven lead changes followed through regulation.
“I really feel bad that we didn’t have fans in the stands for this one,” said Coach Comeau.
I asked Cam if he had eaten anything special pregame. “I had Subway.”
There was some back-and-forth banter between the teams as the long shots started falling. The referees put an end to it. “It was all fun and games,” said Cam. “We’ve been playing each other since fifth grade.”
Cam had three points in the first quarter and in overtime. In between he went; 13, 13, and 12. Remarkable performance.
“Cam’s a fantastic player,” said Coach Comeau, “and he’s going to play at the next level.”
Jake Robertson: “Amesbury always gives us a good run.”
Jake described this season’s success this way, “We’ve been good at creating our own energy off the court and it transfers onto the court.”
It appears that there will be a post-season in the Cape Ann League during February vacation.
“It will give the seniors some more games,” said Coach Clay.
“If we are in the tournament, no one is going to be happy to play us,” added Coach Comeau.
The link to this coverage will be on Twitter @mcclellandpeter and also Mascores. Pictures from the game should appear on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea) on Saturday.
(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)