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January 12, 2013 Peter McClelland
NEWBURYPORT, Mass. -- Newburyport had Manchester-Essex on the ropes early in the final quarter but went very cold over the last six minutes and lost to the Hornets, 54-38, on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.
The Clippers (5-3) trailed by thirteen (37-24) in the closing minutes of the third quarter but, led by Ian Michaels (17 points), cut the lead to six (42-36) with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
But over the last six minutes Newburyport had only one basket (Dillon Guthro layup from Michaels) and that enabled the visitors to pad their lead to a comfortable sixteen by game’s end.
Max Nesbit (19 points) sent the Hornets (5-4) into the comfort zone with an old-fashioned three and an assist on Sean Gutierrez’s layup. Liam Aldrich (10 points) capped the eight point run with an old-fashioned three. This consecutive point surge gave ME a commanding 50-36 advantage with three minutes left. They coasted in from there.
Manchester-Essex, which has now won five of their last six games, boosted their advantage to seven in the second quarter and thirteen in the third quarter before the Clippers made their run to within six points in the final quarter.
Nesbit, the senior, nailed four 3’s in the game and saw a lot more open looks than a player with his shooting reputation should have had.
The Clippers continue to play without ball handler/shooter co-captain Colby Morris. Poor shooting was certainly an issue for Newburyport versus ME but just as significant was shaky ball management. By my unofficial count, Newburyport had eighteen turnovers including nine in the second quarter.
A good matchup was between point guards Aldrich and Adam Traxler. Aldrich showed a fancy move down the lane in the third quarter that raised some ooh’s and ah’s from the crowd.
Gutierrez, ME'S tallest player, went out with four fouls early in the third quarter.
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