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February 19, 2013 Peter McClelland
LAWRENCE, Mass. -- The Pentucket Sachems defeated Central Catholic, 59-49, in the championship game to win the IAABO Board 130 Classic on Monday night at Central Catholic.
The Raiders trailed by one (46-45) with 6:44 left in the game but went into a four-minute scoring drought that featured four turnovers. The Sachems, meanwhile, put a string of nine points together to create a 10-point spread (55-45) with 2:43 to go. CC never recovered.
In the crucial four minutes, Alex Moore (11 points) started things with a layup down the lane and ended it with another layup on an inbounds pass from Viselli (11 points). Also in the mix were two Kelsi McNamara (21 points) free throws and a McKenna Kilian (7 points) three.
I’m sure that Kelsi’s twenty-one points played a part in her selection but her handling of the ball against physical pressure may well have been more important.
On the scoring part, McNamara hit two 3-points in 13 seconds to give Pentucket a, 28-21, lead late in the first half. The Sachems connected on seven threes on the night, including three from McNamara
McLaughlin had a remarkable third quarter putting up fourteen of the Raiders’ 18 points.
One of the keys to the Pentucket win was shutting McLaughlin down over the last nine and a half minutes of the game. Credit Viselli on a special scoring night for also playing some special defense on the Raiders top player.
The Sachems jumped on top, 5-0, and held the five-point spread (13-8) with two and a half minutes left. While Pentucket was held scoreless, Darion Summers, Amanda Williams (12 points), and McLaughlin scored baskets to give CC a, 14-13, lead after one period.
McNamara's two threes late in the second quarter put Pentucket ahead by seven but Central Catholic responded with two free throws by Courtney Walsh and McLaughlin’s converted rebound. Pentucket led, 28-25, at the half.
The two teams traded free throws to start the final quarter before Pentucket took the game over with nine straight points over a four-minute segment to take home the title.
The Sachems (20-1) end the regular season with seven straight wins. Only a loss to Division II Notre Dame of Hingham in January blemishes their record.
And if there was ever an opponent who could toughen the Sachems up for the Division III MIAA Tournament it was Central Catholic. They took defending seriously and there weren’t many easy paths to the hoops for the defending D3 champs.
Central Catholic (14-5) is ranked fourth in the Division I North by the Boston Herald. This past week they avenged losses earlier in the season to both North Andover and Andover.
Pentucket defeated Newton South (52-45) in the first round on Sunday. Central Catholic had a win over Auburn to get to the finals.
The Pentucket faithful gave away the news that Viselli had reached 1,000 points when they let out a loud cheer after Viselli hit the first of two free throws with 1:51 left in the game. Play was stopped and her feat was announced and her teammates congratulated her.
McNamara, the sophomore took home the tourney MVP plaque. Viselli made the All-Tourney team.
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