North Reading Hornets Girls Basketball '19-'20

Sat, Mar 07, 2020 02:00 PM @ Pentucket
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
North Reading 5 7 15 14 41
Pentucket 7 7 7 15 36

North Reading ends Pentucket season

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Saturday, March, 07 By Jeff Hamrick

LOWELL – History suggested the end wouldn’t come Saturday afternoon.

Not in the sectional finals.

Not for Pentucket.

The past, however, caught up with the Sachems at Tsongas Center.

Facing Cape Ann League rival North Reading for the third time this season, Pentucket was unable to get the season trifecta as the Hornets took command in the second half for a 41-36 victory in the Division 2 North finale.

An 11-time league champion in the 14 years coach John McNamara has run the program, top-seeded Pentucket was playing in its 10th sectional title bout but was unable to claim its eighth final four appearance. Seventh-seeded North Reading (16-8), which held the Sachems to a season-low while still losing the second game of the season 35-27, defeated Pentucket for just the second time in eight matches since 2016.

“We were out of synch the whole time,” McNamara said. “All the credit goes to North Reading. They dominated us. We had control in the first half a little bit, but they hit a couple of threes at the end of the half that got them back into it.

“We just couldn’t get into synch, and that’s a credit to them. They deserved to beat us today.”

Pentucket held the Hornets to five points in the first period – the fourth quarter in three sectional games and 21st time this year the Sachems gave up five or fewer – and took an eight-point lead with 2:56 left in the second quarter when an Anna Wyner baseline drive made the score 14-6.

But Lauren Sullivan gave the Hornets life with a pair of three’s in the final 100 seconds to cut the gap to two at the half.

“We had it going our way defensively until the last minute when we gave up two quick three’s,” McNamara said. “That gave them lift.”

The Sachems (23-3) stumbled into the third quarter, missing its first eight shots as North Reading jumped to an 18-14 advantage with 3:25 left. A layup by Lauren Sullivan upped the lead to 23-16 a couple minutes later.

“We missed a lot of shots,” said McNamara, whose squad shot 28.3% (15-53). “We couldn’t dribble the basketball. It was one of those days we didn’t play as well as we could and they did. That’s usually a recipe for a loss.”

North Reading continued its run, eventually opening a 30-21 lead with 6:25 left in the fourth after the fourth and final three-pointer by Kiley McCarthy.

“I thought one of the real keys defensively was Kiley McCarthy doing a great job on (Angelica) Hurley,” said Hornet coach Bob Romero, who used only five players. “Hurley is the best player in our league, but Kiley was tremendous on her.”

Hurley, who was averaging a team-best 14.2 points, did score a game-high 20 points, but nothing came easy in an 8-for-28 performance. Hurley and fellow seniors Wyner, Angelina Yacubacci and Hannah Lambert wrapped up their careers with a 70-9 mark the past three seasons.

“A great group of seniors,” McNamara said. “They’ve had a great career. They’ve been to Tsongas three times. They were state champions last year and in the state semifinals the year before. They’ve had an incredible run of wins. We’re going to miss them.”

Game Statistics:

Division 2 North Finals

North Reading (41): Nasha Arnold 2 1-2 5, Sarah Gerber 0 1-2 1, Lauren Sullivan 4 6-9 16, Ali Grasso 3 0-0 7, Kiley McCarthy 4 0-0 12. Totals 13 8-13 41

Pentucket (36): Anna Wyner 1 0-0 2, Angelina Yacubacci 1 0-4 2, Angelica Hurley 8 1-2 20, Mackenzie Currie 3 2-3 8, Arielle Cleveland 2 0-0 4, Hannah Lambert 0 0-0 0, Abigail Dube 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 3-9 36

3-pointers: NR — McCarthy 4, Sullivan, Grasso; Pentucket — Hurley 3

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