(Amesbury MA) Good things happened in the second half for Amesbury.
Cam Keliher reached 1000 points and the Amesbury defense came to life.
The Indians (12-8) finished their regular season with a win over Kipp Academy, 63-38, on Thursday night.
Now Amesbury will wait until the MIAA tournament starts on February 28th.
“We’re working on finding a scrimmage somewhere during the time off,” said Coach Comeau afterwards.
Cam Keliher needed seventeen points to reach a thousand and had sixteen in the first half.
Several minutes into the second half, the AHS senior drove the left baseline and collected the point he needed. Play was immediately stopped and plenty of pictures were taken with teammates and family.
“This is a dream come true,” said Cam afterwards. “So many people helped me to get to this point and I want to thank them all including family, coaches, and teammates.”
“Cam’s been working for this for a long time,” said teammate/friend Matt Welch post-game. “He been stressing about it a bit but now he’s got it. I’m happy for him.”
The attention around Cam going for a special point total was understandably a distraction. Instead of overwhelming the 3-13 Panthers from the get-go, the Indians gave the visitors too many chances and missed too many shots.
Halftime seemed to help.
“I let them have it at halftime,” said AHS coach Tom Comeau. “They all knew that Cam had something happening today but that shouldn’t have affected their defensive intensity.”
After two minutes of direct talk on defensive intensity, the Indians were on the floor for eight minutes of organized shooting.
The results in both areas were noticeable in the second half.
A three by junior Juan Setal-Singh put the Panthers (3-14) within a possession (26-23) of the lead after 1 ½ minutes of second-half play.
Then the tide turned.
The Indians put nine straight unanswered points together. Among the collection were the points that Cam needed to reach 1000. Rocco Kokinacis had a three and a rebound basket before Cam’s historic basket. Matt Welch (15 points) scored on a layup after it.
On defense, Amesbury activated a 2-2-1 zone defense. The Panthers really struggled against it.
“We’ve seen a lot of 2-2-1,” said Kipp coach Brian Tobin afterwards. “It doesn’t always bother us but today it quickly became a turnover-fest.”
The score was 38-26 with a minute left in the third period. The next 3+ minutes of playing time belonged totally to the home team.
Amesbury tallied sixteen straight points and gained permanent separation (54-26) from the team from Lynn with nearly six minutes of playing time remaining.
Matt Welch had nine points during the run of good offense and defense.
The Indians lead grew to thirty (61-31) several minutes later.
“Our effort was good for a half,” said Coach Tobin. “Once we got down things snowballed.”
Coach Comeau: “The mindset was changed in the second half. Sometimes a team needs a wakeup call. They responded well.”
Matt Welch: “I’ve played AAU with him for eight years. He’s just a great kid to play with. He’s a good friend and a teammate. He’s like a brother to me.”
Amesbury 11 14 17 21 = 63
Kipp 9 8 9 12 = 38
(The pictures will enlarge.)