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Sports

February 25, 2014

Local teams open tournament play tonight

This time last year, the Newburyport girls basketball team’s post-season run barely made it out of the starting gate, as the Clippers were blown out by No. 7 Bedford 50-27 in the first round of the Division III North tournament.

Fast-forward to 2014. Newburyport coach Greg Dollas said his team has moved past that and he feels confident that this year could be a totally different story for the Clippers.

“I don’t think they have any of that in the back of their mind,” Dollas said. “They don’t really operate that way. This team is really good about looking ahead.”

Newburyport (13-7) is set to open its tournament tonight against No. 9 Marblehead (12-8) in the first round of the Division II North tournament. This will mark the Clippers’ fourth consecutive postseason appearance, and Dollas said his team has the potential to make a serious run.

“I think that we have the potential to play extremely well and if we do that, we could actually go far,” Dollas said. “We really want to win tomorrow night and have a good home crowd.”

While Newburyport has not played Marblehead this season, Dollas said his team has seen them play, and the two teams did face off against one another two seasons ago. Dollas said he knows who some of their best players are, but his concern is more about whether his own players show up.

The same will likely be true for the Pentucket boys basketball team (10-10), which opens its postseason tonight against an unfamiliar Bedford team (5-15).

Pentucket enters the postseason with some serious momentum. The Sachems won each of their last three games to qualify for the postseason, and after playing for their lives for the better part of two weeks, the team can now boast plenty of experience playing under pressure.

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