Tag Archives: Ronan Brown

James Scali (34 points) leads Newburyport past North Andover 69-59

James Scali (34 points)
Ronan Brown (14 points)

(Newburyport MA) Maybe it was the pre-game meal.

“I made some pasta before the game and maybe it gave me some extra energy,” joked Newburyport’s James Scali regarding his impressive performance.

Whatever it was, James had a special night against visiting North Andover and led the Clippers to a, 69-59, win on Tuesday night.

James tallied a career high thirty-four points and spread the points out.  The NHS senior had ten in the first quarter when the Clippers got off to a great start and fourteen in the final quarter when the Knights got inside the ten-point deficit.

Brody McGratty leaps for a block

“James has been telling us that he can give us more,” said Newburyport coach Dave Clay afterwards.  “Tonight, he certainly did just that.”

The Knights (8-7) got off to a bad start.  “We got into a hole early and couldn’t really claw back,” said NA coach Paul Tanglis post-game.  “They spread you out and they can shoot the ball.”

It took NA four minutes to get any points.  Meanwhile, the Clippers (12-5) ran off twelve straight points.

A Ronan Brown three and a Finn Brennan drive surrounded three inside scores and a free throw by James gave Newburyport its first twelve points.

Drew Connolly (11 points)

The Knights trailed the entire game.  They did, however, get within five points in the second quarter (27-22) and the third quarter (36-31). 

James Scali answered the second quarter threat with a triple and a layup.

The Clippers reaction to the third quarter threat was impressive.  After Jack O’Connell’s layup made the score, 36-31, with 5 ½ minutes left in the third quarter, the Clippers defense didn’t allow NA to score for the rest of the quarter.  Meanwhile, the Clippers offense racked up eleven straight points and they led at quarter’s end, 47-31.

Finn Sullivan guarded by Zach Wolinski

Five Clippers (Finn Sullivan, Ronan, Adam Bovee, James, and Will Thoreson) combined for the eleven points.

Newburyport elevated their lead to eighteen points (49-31) to start the final quarter.  NA did not go away.  They pressed and they made shots and had themselves a 28-point quarter.  But the big deficit was just too much to overcome for the visitors from the Merrimack Valley Conference.

“We couldn’t get the multiple stops in a row,” said Coach Tanglis.  “This is a tough place to play, and they are a good team.  We obviously didn’t do a good job on #4 (James Scali).”

James Scali to the basket

North Andover defeated Newburyport, 60-58, on January 9th at North Andover.  In that loss, James had one point.

“I just felt more aggressive tonight,” said James.  “I have gotten more confident as the season has progressed.  I’m looking to score more now.”

“I can’t tell you how much time James has put in,” added Coach Clay.  “I think of where he was and where he is now.  It’s so cool to see the confidence in him.  Plus, he’s so kind and polite.”

Zach Wolinski guarded by Henry Acton

Another key to tonight’s win was the solid defense the Clippers displayed against NA sophomore Zach Wolinski.  Zach lit up Newburyport for thirty-two points in the first game.

Tonight, Finn Sullivan and Henry Acton took turns playing tight man-to-man defense against him.  Zach did make a couple of three’s, and finished with eleven points.

“Finn and Henry were really determined to stop him,” said Coach Clay.  “He took over the game last time but those two were up to the challenge this time.”

All five of the Knights’ starters reached double figures: Brody McGratty (14), Jack O’Connell (13), Zach Wolinski (11), Drew Connolly (11), and D’Andre King (10).

D’Andre King (10 points)

Senior Ronan Brown finished with fourteen points for the Clippers.

This was the second straight night a Newburyport player registered a career game.  Last night it was Emma Foley with thirty-one points.

Newburyport   17   15   15   22   =   69

North Andover   6   18    7    28   =   59

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Adam Bovee rebounds
Zach Faro
Zach Wolinski and Finn Sullivan
Finn Brennan goes up for a shot in the lane
Coach Paul Tanglis
Jack O’Connell goes for a block
Newburyport box
North Andover box
Brody McGratty (14 points)

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Newburyport rallies past Amesbury 74-62

Max Gagnon (22 points) scores in front of the Newburyport student section
Cam Keliher (25 points)

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport has become a team that is hard to defend.

Who knows who will have the hot hand on any given night?

Tonight, it was Max Gagnon. The speedy Newburyport senior had twenty-two points including eighteen in the first half.

Max held the Clippers (10-4) together tonight in the first half against the red-hot Amesbury Indians.

When Amesbury cooled off in the second half, the Clippers were able to catch up and pull away to a, 74-62, win on Tuesday night.

Both teams had plenty of active support in the stands and there was a tournament feel to the game from beginning to end.

Finn Brennan (16 points)

“I loved the energy in the game,” said freshman Finn Brennan afterwards.  Finn had sixteen points and fifteen rebounds for the Clippers.

Both teams played at a fast pace.

Amesbury (8-5) turned NHS misses into long-pass layups in the first quarter.  The Indians had their biggest lead of the game (20-7) in the last minute after a Matt Welch (16 points) layup assisted by Cam Keliher.

Matt Welch (16 points)

The Clippers refused to go away, however, thanks to Max Gagnon.  Max made three’s, got to the basket, and made free throws.

“They were falling, so I kept on shooting,” recalled Max.

Newburyport trailed by just two points (37-35) at the half as James Scali (11 points) hit a three very late in the second quarter.

You wondered how long the Indians would be able to hang onto the lead in the second half.

It was actually five minutes of playing time.  Consecutive baskets by Nick Marden gave Amesbury its last lead, 46-45.

Ronan Brown (10 points)

A three (Ronan Brown), a rebound basket (Finn Brennan), and another three (Will Thoreson) followed and suddenly the home team had a six-point lead, 53-47.  The Clippers would hold the lead the rest of the way.

“We started the game strong,” said Cam Keliher (25 points) post-game, “but in the third quarter it got away from us when they started making three’s.”

“We got out of sorts in the 4th quarter and started forcing shots,” recalled AHS coach Tom Comeau, “and then the shots didn’t go in.”

Nick Marden and Adam Bovee

Once Newburyport had the lead, they changed their style of play.  “We executed our plays more in the second half and got some easy baskets,” said Max.

Amesbury took chances defensively trying to get the ball back and Newburyport reacted by passing and cutting to create high-percentage shots that helped them pull away in the final quarter.

“We don’t have time to hang our heads over this one,” said Coach Comeau.  “We have several games before we play in the Boston Garden on Saturday night.”

Max Gagnon

James Scali: “It was the best offensive performance I’ve ever seen him (Max Gagnon) have.  He did a lot of work in the off-season.”

I asked Max Gagnon afterwards if maybe his pre-game lunch had something to do with his career-game.  “I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch,” he said with a smile.

Newburyport   12   23   20   19   =   74

Amesbury         20   17   14   11   =   62

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Cam Keliher from the corner
Matt Welch rebounds
Finn Sullivan
Matt Welch drives
Cam Keliher saw plenty of different Newburyport defenders
Henry Acton on defense
Battle for a loose ball
Max goes baseline
Owen Tahnk hears it from the Amesbury fans
Newburyport box
Amesbury box

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Newburyport rallies to 72-64 win over North Reading

Finn Sullivan (10) led the Clippers in their strong finish
Finn Brennan (21 points)

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers dominated the final three minutes and that was enough to earn them a, 72-64, win over North Reading on Friday night.

“They crushed us on the glass over the last 4-5 minutes,” said NR coach Joe Casey afterwards.  “That’s what won them the game.”

Newburyport coach Dave Clay saw things a bit differently: “We won this game with defensive stops.  Those stops led to transition points.”

This game had plenty for both squads to cheer about.  The Clippers (6-4) led by six (23-17) after a quarter, but the Hornets (4-4) owned the middle quarters.  The visitors were ahead by nine (50-41) with 1 ½ minutes left in the third quarter. 

Andrew Boulas (20) paced the Hornets with sixteen points

Newburyport took the game over the rest of the way outscoring the Hornets, 31-14, to gain the victory.

“This group is resilient,” said Coach Clay.  “I’m proud of them keeping the fight in them.”

The tempo of this game was fun to watch because both teams had the same approach.  The defense was full-court, man-to-man and the attack was full-speed after misses.  Rebounds were heavily contested.

Neither team was shy about taking the ball to the basket.  The best of the passes were dropdowns by penetrators.

Craig Rubino guards Ronan Brown (12 points)

High scorer Finn Brennan (21 points) was on the receiving end of quite a few in-close passes.  “My teammates were getting to the rim and giving me easy dump-downs every time,” said Finn afterwards.

The Hornets were led by Andrew Boulas (16 points) and Cody Cannalonga (14 points).  Both players took the ball to the basket and often made the layup or got fouled.  Cody drained seven free throws.

The Clippers came out of a timeout after going down, 50-41, and finished the quarter with seven straight points including a Jack Fehlner three.

Scramble on the floor

Two-plus minutes into the last quarter Owen Tahnk cashed two free throws and the Clippers were on top, 55-54.

Finn Sullivan was the spark for the home team the rest of the way.  He contributed points, assists, and steals and gave the nearby active student section plenty to get excited about.

“The fans are so committed,” said Finn Sullivan afterwards.  “We love having them there.”

Logan Scribner makes a pass to a cutter

“Finn (Sullivan) gives us so much energy and passion on the court and it’s so contagious,” said Coach Clay.  “He’s quite an athlete and a fierce competitor.”

Finn connected on a three assisted by Jack Fehlner and then set up teammates Ronan Brown and James Scali for additional three’s.

The Hornets struggled to respond.

“Give them credit,” said NR Coach Casey, “they hit a couple of tough shots down the stretch.”

James Scali (9 points)

Ronan Brown (12) and Jack Fehlner (11) reached double figures for Newburyport.

Finn Brennan had nineteen of this twenty-one points through the first three quarters.  The Clippers 50-41 deficit late in the third quarter would have been much larger without the inside scoring of the tall freshman.

The Clippers hadn’t played in ten days. 

Finn Brennan at the line

Newburyport won the first meeting between the two teams on January 6th, 57-42.

I’ve done quite a few basketball games this winter and this was easily the noisiest one. 

Finn Sullivan: “We defended hard in the fourth quarter and did the little things you need to do to win.”

Newburyport     23   12   13   24   =   72

North Reading   17   16   17   14   =   64

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Chasing a loose ball
Owen Tahnk (22) gets a block
Finn Sullivan and Brian McKenna
Logan Scribner guarded by Henry Acton
John Jennings
Battle under the basket
Quinn Riesenberg in position to get a block
Alex Carucci
Newburyport student section
Newburyport box
North Reading box

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Despite Cam Keliher’s 44 points, Newburyport defeats Amesbury 86-83 in overtime

Cam Keliher scored forty-four points including eleven 3’s

(Newburyport MA) Both coaches said the same thing right afterwards.

“This game was fun.”

Everyone watched Amesbury’s last shot (Matt Welch) in overtime

Jake Robertson (17 points) hit a last-second shot to get Newburyport into overtime

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.

Jake Robertson congratulated by teammates after sending game into overtime

“It was close to being over,” said Jake afterwards.  “Great offensive rebound by Jack.”

Trevor Ward draws a foul on Matt Heidt

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.

Cam Keliher closely guarded by Trevor Ward

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.”

Max Gagnon (17 points) in the lane

“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.

Matt Welch (13 points) guarded by Jack Fehlner

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.”

Scramble on the floor

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.

Newburyport box

Amesbury box

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.)

Nick White

Andrew Cullen

Cam Keliher leaves with an injury in the first quarter

Tommy Jahn (10 points)

Kyle Donovan gets a block

Jack Fehlner (16 points) including four 3’s

Kyle Donovan (11 points) in for two in overtime

Cam ties the game





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