Tag Archives: Watertown girls basketball

Pentucket defeats Watertown 38-24 to win Division 3 North title

Pentucket - Division 3 North champs

Pentucket – Division 3 North champs

Coley Viselli (15 points) fires from long range

Coley Viselli (15 points) fires from long range

(Lowell)  Some will call it great defense.  Some will call it very, very cold shooting.

Take your pick, Pentucket overwhelmed Watertown, 38-24, to win the Division 3 North title on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Center.

The Sachems will face Archbishop Williams (Braintree) at the TD Bank Garden on Monday in a state Division 3 semifinals battle.

Pentucket (24-1) was never behind against the Raiders (13-11).

After a 3-2 start (Kelsi McNamara three & Rachel Campbell layup), this game got away from Watertown completely over the next nine minutes of playing time stretching into the second period.

The Sachems ran off fifteen unanswered points and were ahead, 18-2, before Rachel Campbell made a free throw.

It is not unusual for Pentucket (#1 seed) to put runs of points together off of turnovers but that wasn’t the case here.  Simply explained: Pentucket made shots and Watertown didn’t.

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) hit a three on the first Pentucket possession

Kelsi McNamara (15 points) hit a three in the first Pentucket possession

The Sachem points in this run were spread around.  Kelsi McNamara (15 points) had a three and a floater in the lane.  Coley Viselli (15 points) nailed a three and two driving layups.  Alex Moore added a free throw and a layup.

Much of the credit for the nine-minute shutout goes to Pentucket’s half-court defense. The Raiders had little trouble in the backcourt because of point guard Gabby Coppola’s dribbling skills.  The frontcourt was a different story.  Watertown had very few good looks and had to settle for heavily-defended shot attempts.

Alex Moore and later Kelsi McNamara forced the Raiders top scorer (Gabby Coppola) to be a passer by denying her open looks from the outside and keeping the talented junior from driving.

There were six minutes of first half and the entire second half played after the 18-2 start, but on this day, Watertown couldn’t get enough stops or enough made shots to challenge the defending D3 champs.

looking for a rebound

looking for a rebound

The Raiders (#11 seed) actually “won” the last twenty-two minutes, 22-20, but it was too little, too late for Watertown.

The Raiders’ drought during those devastating nine minutes in the first half was so noticeable that the Pentucket student section cheered (insincerely) when Rachel Campbell ended the 15-point run with a free throw.

Kelsi McNamara hit two 3’s in the first three minutes and had ten of her fifteen points in the first half.  Her defense on Gabby Coppola, when Alex Moore didn’t have her, may have been more valuable than her point totals.

Coley Viselli connected twice from long range and was able to get to the basket three times on scoring drives.  The senior became a 1000-point scorer recently in a win over Division 1 Central Catholic.

Kelsi McNamara drives on Gabby Coppola

Kelsi McNamara drives on Gabby Coppola

Kelsi McNamara appeared fully recovered from the calf injury she suffered against Ipswich in the D3 North semifinals.  Kelsi went out in this game, with two minutes left, holding her elbow.

Alex Moore had short minutes after hurting her wrist falling during a drive to the basket in the first half.

As I mentioned earlier, turnovers were not a factor.  Pentucket had fourteen and Watertown ten.

The foul shooting by both teams was pitiful.  The Sachems missed five in eight attempts while the Raiders missed ten in fourteen attempts.

The Pentucket defense held Gabby Coppola to four points on 1-for-8 in field goal attempts.

You watch Pentucket play and wonder when their domination (93-11 over the past four years) will end.  Maybe not so soon.  Two sophomores start (Kelsi McNamara and McKenna Kilian) and in this game there were significant minutes for junior Sydney Snow, sophomore Sarah Wiles, and freshman Riley Holden.

Rachel Campbell and Riley Holden

Rachel Campbell and Riley Holden

Typical of Pentucket was a lack of jumping up-and-down and rushing the court after the win.  You could hardly tell afterwards whether they had won or lost!  I suspect that they’re saving that post-game excitement for the next game on Monday afternoon.

Rachel Campbell paced the Watertown scorers with seven points.

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

Coley Viselli gets in for two

Coley Viselli gets in for two

Sydney Snow (#3)

Sydney Snow (#3)

Gabby Coppola

Gabby Coppola

Pentucket coaching staff

Pentucket coaching staff

Leave a comment

Filed under Pentucket, Watertown

Pentucket Defense Overwhelms Watertown Girls 52-22 in D3 North First Round

Gabby Coppala (#10) defended by Vicky Castiglione (#20)

Vanessa Cahill blocks Casey Halle’s shot.

(West Newbury) We’ve seen it before in the early rounds of the MIAA girls basketball tournament.  A team from another conference gets to play Pentucket.  They know that the Sachems press but don’t have the time to get fully prepared.

Watertown (7-14) from the Middlesex League was Pentucket’s first round opponent this year and predictably found out the hard way what end-to-end defense looks like, losing, 52-22, on Monday night.

Pentucket will host Weston (14-7) on Thursday night at Pentucket in the quarter finals of Division 3 North play.

The visiting Red Raiders struggled to get the ball up the court and only the dribbling skills of freshman Gabby Coppala minimized the backcourt turnovers.

Sarah Higgins forces one of Watertown’s twenty-eight turnovers.

Even in the frontcourt, running an offense was difficult and Pentucket’s size discouraged layups and second chances.

It took Watertown 3 ½ minutes to score (Gabby Coppala layup) their first basket and another four minutes to score their second (Casey Halle) layup.

Meanwhile, Pentucket rang up twenty points.  They made six-of-seven free throws and had two 3’s from Coley Viselli.

Off to a 20-4 first quarter, Pentucket used the same formula (relentless defense) to put together a 15-4 second quarter.  Besides shutting down Watertown, the Sachems dominated the boards and turned up free throws (thirteen) by going to the basket and rebounding missed shots.

Sarah Higgins picked up seven points in the second quarter.

Pentucket led, 35-8, at the half.  This was a game begging for the Mercy Rule (softball) instead of a second half.  I overheard one couple from Watertown discussing whether they should stay for the second half!

Freshmen Sydney Snow (#3) and Liza Brackbill (#22) see some late-game action for Pentucket.

But they did play the second half and Pentucket played everyone.  The scoring highlight from the second half was an eleven-point run by the Sachems during the first 4 ½ minutes of the final quarter.  The scoring in this streak was provided by Alex Moore (layup), Coley Viselli (3-pointer), Sarah Higgins (layup & 2 free throws), and Tess Nogueira (2 free throws).

Sarah, Tess, and Coley all finished with eleven points.

Freshman Gabby Coppala (11 points) of Watertown was impressive.  The young guard was an excellent dribbler and passer in the midst of never-ending pressure.  Pentucket double-teamed her and tried hard to keep the ball away from her.

The statistics reveal the extent of the success of the Pentucket defense.  They forced twenty-eight turnovers, including seventeen in the first half when this game was decided.  The Raiders were 0-for-11 from long range and just 18% (9-for-50) overall from the floor.

Plenty of positives to take away from this one regarding Pentucket’s defense.

Their offense?  The stats from this game tell me that they’re going to have to get a lot better with the ball if they are going to go very far in the tournament.

Yes, they collected 52 points.  And yes, they played everybody.  But twenty-four turnovers!  That’s a lot of empty possessions against an undersized team that didn‘t trap.

Pentucket shot 20% (3-for-15) from long range and 30% (15-for-50) overall from the floor.  Plenty of high-percentage attempts didn’t fall.

Tess Nogueira free throw attempt

Free throw shooting was another problem area – 61.2% (19-for-31).  Tess missed six including one that didn‘t hit anything.

An area of strength was the offensive rebounding.  Vanessa Cahill and Tess Nogueira were terrific in this area.

Weston (14-7) is the next opponent and judging by their record I would expect a tougher game.  However, if Pentucket keeps bringing that terrific defense and sharpens their ball management and shooting they’ll be fine, I suspect.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  I write my own captions and draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Pentucket, Watertown