NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport girls basketball team defeated Marblehead 54-51 in double overtime last night to advance to the MIAA Division II North quarterfinals.
After trailing most of the game, Newburyport tied the game late in regulation to force overtime, and then was propelled to the next round by senior captain Aly Leahy, who hit a season-saving three-pointer to force double overtime, and then another three to give the Clippers the lead for good.
Marblehead maintained a 17-13 lead at halftime, and Newburyport found itself playing catchup for most of the second half. Seemingly every time the Clippers made a run, the Magicians answered with a couple of baskets to stretch the lead back to four or five points.
First, Newburyport junior Shelby O’Brien hit a deep two to make it 31-28, but then Magicians got a quick basket from McKenna Barrett and then immediately stole the ball back and got a fast break score from Emily Freedland, making it a seven point game with four minutes to play.
Still down six points with less than two minutes remaining, Mary Pettigrew nailed a three from the corner to make it a one-possession game, and after Marblehead missed its next attempt, Emily Pettigrew was fouled going to the basket and hit one of two free throws to close the gap to two.
Barrett then got called for traveling, giving the Clippers a chance to tie the game. Emily Pettigrew missed the game-tying shot on the other end, but after a quick steal on the next Marblehead possession, the ball found its way into Mary Pettigrew’s hand, and then promptly through the net.
With the score tied at 39-39 with 30.3 left on the shot clock, Newburyport just needed to make one stop to have a chance to win the game or force overtime. An errant shot wound up in the hands of freshman Lindsay Walker, who was fouled going up and went to the line for two shots. Walker missed them both, giving Newburyport a chance to win the game with 11 seconds to play.