(Pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)
(Wilmington MA) “You can live by the three and you can die by the three.”
You usually hear that line when a team starts hot from long range but doesn’t know when to stop shooting from out there.
Fast forward to this afternoon’s girls’ basketball game between Amesbury and Reading.
There was no second part to the Rockets’ long-range game today.
They not only lived by the three, but they thrived on it!
Reading connected from downtown thirteen times and overwhelmed Amesbury, 59-33.
This was a first-rounder in the Wilmington Holiday Tournament. Both teams play again tomorrow.
Senior Jackie Malley (29 points) was amazing for Reading from the get-go.
Jackie had a sixteen-point first quarter that separated the Rockets from the Indians in a hurry.
“They couldn’t miss,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards. “I didn’t think that our defense was that bad.”
But on this afternoon, Reading (3-2) clicked consistently from beyond the arc.
Jackie Malley had seven of those three’s and her sister Jess had two others.
“We have a lot of good shooters,” said Jackie afterwards, “and we found them really well today. I just took shots as they came and felt confident.”
Jackie is committed to D3 basketball next year at St. Lawrence University in New York. The Saints are located, as the name suggests, along the St. Lawrence River in northern New York.
“Jackie (Malley) had a great game today,” said Reading coach Kara Melillo post-game. “She’s led us all year. She definitely set the tone for us offensively and defensively.”
The Rockets started the first two minutes of the second quarter with a three from freshman Molly Trahan (16 points) followed by a three and a layup from Jackie Malley. That burst of offense gave Reading a 29-9 advantage.
This one had long-afternoon written all over it for Amesbury.
The Indians (3-1) had limited their opponents to the 30’s but by halftime today the Rockets had a 32-19 lead.
An Amesbury optimist would have expected in the second half that the team from the Middlesex League would cool off while the team from the Cape Ann League would put some points together and make it a closer game.
In the third quarter, the Rockets made three more three’s, while holding Amesbury to only three points.
“We didn’t play together enough on offense,” said Coach Dollas. “We need to fix that.”
The Indians settled too often for drives through traffic and the first open look that showed up.
Avery Hallinan (18 points) was the most successful of the Indians in getting to the basket. She drew contact and ended up taking fourteen free throws.
The Rockets put a 19-1 run together in the second half to expand their lead to, 54-22, 2 ½ minutes into the final quarter.
“When you’re hitting 3’s, two or three feet outside the line with consistency it’s pretty hard to defend,” said Coach Dollas.
“Every game I’ve watched them play they didn’t hit like this,” he added. “It was something I’ve never seen.”
“We worked really hard in practice this week,” said Jackie Malley. “We tried hard to move the ball around and everyone contributed. We trusted each other.”
It was one of those games in which even when the Rockets missed a long shot, they were often able to find the rebound.
Coach Melillo: “We had one of our better practices yesterday. The kids played with a lot of energy today. The shots were falling today and that certainly helped us.”
Coach Dollas: “I doubt that we’ll see anyone as hot as this team in the Cape Ann League.”
I was impressed with the Wilmington facility. It had plenty of seating as well as open space around the outside of the court. The lighting was also very good.
Reading 21 11 15 12 = 59
Amesbury 9 10 3 11 = 33
(All of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)