Pentucket Sachems Girls Basketball '17-'18

Thu, Mar 08, 2018 05:30 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Pentucket 15 7 14 23 59
Melrose 6 13 13 13 45

Revolving Sachems

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DANVERS — Even in the state tournament, Pentucket’s revolving door of contributors remains in swing.

Maybe even more so.

It was certainly evident Thursday night at St. John’s Prep when the Sachems (22-2) pulled away for a 59-45 victory over Melrose in the Division 2 North semifinals. Pentucket will now face Wakefield in the finals Saturday at the Tsongas Center at a time yet to be determined.

As is often the case with Pentucket, there were a number of pivotal players in this one.

Sophomore Casey Hunt — got the offense rolling early with two driving baskets as Pentucket moved out to a 15-6 lead. She was also a steadying influence late, hitting 4 of 5 free throws down the stretch, and led the team with 14 points.

“We’re a different team when she (Hunt) is not out there,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara.

Junior center Liv Cross — had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks and was the most effective in guarding Melrose freshman standout Samantha Dewey, who led all scorers with 17 points.

Junior Jess Galvin — Had six points in the impressive first quarter, hit a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter with the score 39-36 to widen the lead for good and finished with 11 points.

Sophomore Angelina Yacubacci — Scored all 10 of her points in the second half, preventing the Raiders from sustaining momentum.

Junior Maddie Doyle — Held Melrose high scorer and lone senior Alexis Doherty to just one field goal and five points, all coming in the fourth quarter.

“We kind of go in spurts as to who helps us the most,” said McNamara. “I thought Maddie did a fantastic job of guarding her (Doherty).”

McNamara also cited the multiple contributions of Hunt. With her in the game, Pentucket had moved out to a 17-6 lead. She then went to the bench with two fouls and sat out nearly the entire second quarter, during which Melrose clawed back to within three at halftime, 22-19. The Pentucket offense seemed out of sync without her.

Pentucket’s offense, and primarily its shooting was no more efficient in the third quarter, allowing Melrose to take a brief 24-22 lead at which point the Sachems went on a 7-0 run and never trailed again. A key play in the sequence was a steal and driving layup by Yacubacci.

Melrose did stay close briefly in the fourth quarter, trailing only 39-36, but a 3-pointer by Galvin, a driving basket by Yacubacci and a basket on a nice post move by Cross provided a 10-point lead with 4:50 left and basically put the game away. 

“There’s always going to be ups and downs but I know that any of our players can step up for us,” said Cross.

What everyone contributes to, of course, is the vaunted Pentucket defense and that was again the case against Melrose. The Sachems’ swarming defense forced a whopping 29 turnovers, negating any advantage Melrose might have had in height and shot selection.

“I think our defense made the difference,” said McNamara. “I think we wore them down and we got some transitional baskets, which are a lot easier than setting up. We have to do that to be successful.”

Basically agreeing with that assessment, Hunt said: “I think the difference was staying strong the whole time, not giving up and keeping our intensity.”

Game Statistics:

Division 2 North Semifinals
Melrose (45):
Smith 1-2-5, A.Cunningham 0-0-0, L.Cunningham 4-4-13, MacDonald 1-3-5, Dewey 8-1-17, Doherty 1-2-5. Totals 15-12-45

Pentucket (59): Wyner 0-2-2, Snow 0-0-0, Galvin 3-3-11, I.Doyle 0-1-1, Hunt 4-5-14, M.Doyle 1-3-5, Yacubacci 3-4-10, Hurley 2-1-5, Kern 0-0-0, Riley 0-0-0, Cross 5-0-10, Linnehan 0-0-0, Currie 0-1-1, Cleveland 0-0-0. Totals 18-20-45

3-pointers: M — Smith, L.Cunningham, Doherty; P — Galvin 2, Hunt

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