WEST NEWBURY — Pentucket outlasted Danvers High School 46-33 in the first round of the Division 2 North playoffs last night, earning a spot in the North quarterfinals on Saturday.
Both teams battling offensively throughout of the game, the winner was undoubtedly going to be the tougher, more disciplined basketball team. By earning trips to the free throw line and capitalizing on mistakes, Pentucket survived and advanced.
“We had some open looks tonight that we didn’t hit,” said Pentucket head coach John McNamara. “We didn’t finish well. We put them on the foul line too much and that kept them in the game a lot. We were reaching and committing some dumb fouls, which is something we have to work on.”
Despite fouling Danvers more than McNamara would have liked, his team still scored 21 points from free throws, in contrast to the Falcons’ 10.
While the score was kept close through much of the game, Pentucket trailed for only seconds. A three-point lead after one quarter grew to a five-point lead at half. From there, the Sachems would finish the third quarter up six before eventually winning by 13.
“This is kind of how we play this year,” McNamara said. “We struggle at times and other times we get going and put some runs together. We just didn’t make shots tonight. We just had to settle down and take better shots. We have to get some easy baskets out of our transition game and I think we got a few.”
Pentucket survived sloppy play and also a scare from its best player. Midway through the fourth quarter, Kelsi McNamara, the league’s leading scorer this season, pulled up limp after making a deep three-pointer. After a few minutes on the bench, McNamara return edto game action and appeared fine.