Tag Archives: Melissa Morelli

Lynnfield’s fast start leads to 44-35 win over Newburyport

Abby Gillingham and Tori Morelli

Grace Klonsky in alone

(Newburyport MA) That’s what finishing strong looks like.

The Lynnfield Pioneers ended the regular season with a win and have a nine-game winning streak going.

They defeated Newburyport, 44-35, tonight.

“We usually shoot well in the first half,” said Lynnfield coach Peter Bocchino post-game.

They certainly did that tonight.

Caroline Waisnor (8 points) took the opening tip in for a layup and the Pioneers (13-6) were on their way.

Deidre McElhinney looks for someone to pass to.

It took the Clippers (10-7) four minutes to score (Deidre McElhinney free throw) and even with that point Newburyport trailed 10-1.

The Lynnfield defense (3-2 zone) eliminated open looks.

“The girls have really stepped up defensively,” said Coach Bocchino. “We’re long and some of our length is athletic.”

The Clippers were denied layups and faced contested shots from elsewhere. They only made one three all night.

Sophomore Riley Hallahan drained two 3’s early in the second period and by the end of that period the Pioneers led, 30-15.

Kate MacDonald led all scorers with sixteen points. The sophomore had ten of them in the breakaway first half.

The Clippers are a tall team.

Riley Hallahan hit two 3’s in the second quarter

“They have a good defense and a lot of tall girls to block shots,” explained Tori Morelli afterwards. “We moved the ball quickly and that is what got us our good shots.”

“We run a continuity offense,” said Coach Bocchino. “Everybody has a chance to touch the ball, use a screen, and make cuts. We ended up with some layups out of it.”

While Lynnfield had layups, the Clippers were relegated to tougher shooting opportunities.

Newburyport’s best moments were early in the second half. Down by fifteen (30-15) the Clippers dominated the first 2 ½ minutes putting together seven straight points. Freshman Makenna Ward made a layup and then set up senior Sami Cavanaugh for a three. Deidre McElhinney added a nice pass to set up senior Sadie Vandenberg in close.

Makenna Ward

The run of points closed Newburyport to 30-22 but they could only tally two points over the final 5 ½ minutes of the same quarter.

The Clippers didn’t go away in the second half, in fact they outscored Lynnfield 20-14, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the disastrous first half.

“We work really hard on our offense and it has started to click the last few games,” said Melissa Morelli.

One word I would use to describe the Lynnfield approach to offense would be “patient.” They were content to pass the ball around the perimeter and wait for openings in closer to the basket. Their screens worked well against Newburyport’s man-to-man defenders.

Abby Gillingham (13 points) looks to shoot over Cate MacDonald

I was impressed with Lynnfield point guard Grace Klonsky. She handled backcourt pressure efficiently. She also blocked several Clipper shots. “She’s pretty energetic and plays great defense,” said Coach Bocchino.

Abby Gillingham (13 points) led Newburyport in scoring.

Tori Morelli had ten points for Lynnfield while Caroline Waisnor and Riley Hallahan both added eight points.

The Clippers had twenty-two turnovers including thirteen in the first half. Many of the miscues were on attempts to pass either into the zone or over the zone.

The Pioneers last loss was on January 22nd to Arlington.

Grace Klonsky

Lynnfield will have to wait a week + before they play again. Newburyport has games this week.

Newburyport seniors (Sadie Vandenberg, Sami Cavanaugh, Jess Rousseau) were honored pre-game.

In their first meeting (January 3rd) the Pioneers won, 53-44.

I talked to the Morelli twins post-game and they said that they had never won at Newburyport before tonight.

Cate MacDonald was a Cape Ann League first-team All-Star last year as a freshman.

Lynnfield is in Division 3. One-loss Amesbury and St. Mary’s (Lynn) are also in the D3 North. The Lynnfield I saw tonight might be able to upset either or both of them in the tournament.

The Pioneers finished 13-7 last year and now stand at 13-6 this year so far. The five years prior to those two fine seasons? 5-52! Talk about a program getting turned around!

Lynnfield box

Newburyport box

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

Deidre McElhinney in for two

Deidre McElhinney looks to pass by Cate MacDonald

Grace Klonsky and Sami Cavanaugh

Grace Klonsky catches an inbounds pass

Jackie Doucette shoots against Melissa Morelli

Jackie Doucette trapped by Ava Buonfiglio and Grace Klonsky

Melissa Morelli and Elle Doucette

Melissa Morelli looks to pass

Sadie Vandenberg

Sami Cavanaugh defends

Sydney Turner

Sami Cavanaugh

Sadie Vandenberg

Jess Rosseau

 

 

 

 

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Flannery O’Connor (24 points) drives Amesbury past Lynnfield 65-50

Flannery O’Connor (24 points) surrounded by Pioneers

Alli Napoli double-teamed

(Haverhill MA) There had been six lead changes and seven ties.

Then senior Flannery O’Connor took over in the third quarter.

The Cape Ann League All-Star engineered a run of nine unanswered points and a slim one-point lead (36-35) moved to a breathing-room 45-35 score.

The second-half surge of points was too much for foul-prone Lynnfield to overcome and they fell to (18-4) Amesbury 65-50 on Wednesday night at Whittier.

“We hung around for three quarters,” said Lynnfield coach Peter Bocchino afterwards.  “We ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.”

The Pioneers (14-9) did get within eight (51-43) with 5 ½ minutes to go in the game.

Ciara Sullivan

But then junior Alli Napoli set up teammate Ciara Sullivan for consecutive three’s and Amesbury’s double-digit spread was restored for good.

Tori Morelli and Cate MacDonald

Continuous fouling by both teams ruined any chance for patterned offense to be on display.  There were plenty of one-on-one’s which turned up fouls or layups.

Alli Napoli (Amesbury) and Tori Morelli (Lynnfield) were both in early foul trouble and on their respective benches for much of the first half.

The missing twosome were usually steadying influences on their teams and without them, the play was often ragged in the first half.

“I liked the way that the girls stayed composed with Alli out most of the first half,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos.

Amesbury had a six-point lead (23-17) with two minutes left in the half but a three by freshman Riley Hallahan and a layup by Grace Klonsky and Lynnfield was back tight, 23-22, at the half.

Amesbury was 19-for-27 from the foul line

The Pioneers had a four-point lead (29-25) three minutes into the second half but two free throws by Alli Napoli and a layup by Flannery O’Connor, that Alli assisted on, and the teams were tied.

Three free throws by Melissa Morelli (14 points) had Lynnfield within one (36-35) with only three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

This was when Flannery took over and led AHS to separation.  Part of the nine-point run was a triple (McKenna Hallinin) set up by Flannery.

Lynnfield played a zone defense and Amesbury struggled to get open looks.

“They were playing a zone,” said Flannery afterwards.  “Moving the ball makes that defense work.  I try to find cracks and dive into them.”

Faced with tight coverage whenever she touched the ball, Flannery was quick to find open teammates.

McKenna Hallinan looks to the hoop

The Hallinan twins (Avery and McKenna) brought energy, points, and defense.  The two freshmen helped carry the scoring load for the Indians in the first half.

Avery ended the game with twelve points while McKenna totaled nine.

Freshman Cate MacDonald tallied twelve points for LHS.  “Our freshman (Cate) came to play tonight,” said Coach Bocchino.  “She got a learning experience.”

I was impressed with the ball-handling of sophomore Grace Klonsky.  Several times she took the ball the full length of the court for a score.

Amesbury will now face St. Mary’s (Lynn) at the Tsongas Arena on Saturday.  The Spartans had a decisive win over Amesbury during the regular season.

Lynnfield had two easy tourney wins before facing Amesbury in the D3 North semifinals.  The Pioneers downed Charlestown 53-9 and Greater Lawrence 69-43.

Peter Bocchino was the CAL coach-of-the-year.

Mary Bullis and Riley Hallahan

Lynnfield had been 5-52 over the previous three seasons.

The Pioneers tourney win over Charlestown was their first since 2009.

Despite missing most of the first half, Alli Napoli finished with eleven points.

The Pioneers missed thirteen free throws.

Amesbury box

Lynnfield box

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

McKenna Hallinan

Alli Napoli

Alli Napoli moves into an open space

Caroline Waisnor sets to receive a pass

Flannery O’Connor in traffic

Grace Klonsky

Grace Klonsky and McKenna Hallinan

Melissa Morelli and Avery Hallinan

 

 

 

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