Pentucket's Corey McNamara had his big 1,000-point moment Tuesday night in a 26-point game on the road to beat the Marblehead Magicians.
Fast forward one day and Newburyport's Beth Castantini took her turn yesterday on the same court with the same result. She broke into the 1,000-point club in the first quarter and stayed hot the rest of the way, scoring a game-high 28 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists in a monster effort in the Clippers' (13-7) win, 55-36, against Marblehead.
"It's kind of surreal almost," said Castantini of joining the 1,000-point club that will likely get her name up on a banner in the Clipper gym as well as on a plaque on the Newburyport High School Wall of Fame. "This morning I was a nervous a little bit, but I knew I couldn't think about it. I just had to play the game."
Newburyport coach Gregg Dollas kept Castantini in the dark for most of the season about how close his captain was getting to one of her many goals for her senior year. But after a 20-point game versus Amesbury last Thursday put her 10 points shy of the milestone, the cat was essentially let out of the bag.
"I knew I was getting close, but this game just felt like it was reachable to get it," Castantini said.
And her teammates may have been doing a little extra early on to help ease the stress.
"I was getting open a lot, people were passing it, so it was just working in our favor," said Castantini, who didn't realize she had scored half her team's points in the win.
"It was good, the girls came out, started really well moving the ball, and Beth took charge and got her 10,000th point — excuse me, I wish — I mean, got her 1,000th point right off the bat and so it was good to see," Dollas said.
"We didn't talk about it at all this week; it was in the paper, we didn't talk about it at all, no one made it an issue," Dollas continued. "Everyone came out here and I think the girls fed her the ball, I think they had a plan and it worked because Beth was on right away, which was nice to see and she had a great game."
The consummate teammate, Castantini was humble and gracious in talking about how her teammates have helped her along the road and describing how her role has changed over the years to best suit the Clippers.
"I don't think (this milestone) is all about me. My coaches have helped me and my teammates, they've helped me get progressively better each year," Castantini praised. "Freshman I was new, I didn't really know what was going on. Now I'm a senior, the coaches have made me confident, my teammates are good, and they cooperate, pass and help me out.
"It's different," continued Castantini on her new role this year as one of the team's primary ball handlers with Molly Rowe out injured for segments of the season. "I don't think I'll be doing that next year in college, but when it's time to step up, I guess I've just got to step up."
Step up she has. Castantini is the leading scorer in the River Rival region and a double-double threat every night. She has also led her Clippers to an identical 13-7 record of a year ago, and depending on a coin flip later this week, will have either get the No. 4 or 5 seed, playing either Snowden or Saugus in the first round of the state tournament, according Dollas.
And with the emergence of sophomore Lilly Donovan and Mary Pettigrew as solid, contributing players at the forward position, Newburyport could make a nice run in the Division 3 North with potentially another big game with Pentucket down the road.
"Right now Mary and Lilly are playing with a lot of confidence, and I think that's huge for the whole team and the whole rotation," Dollas said. "Unfortunately, Ali (Leahy) went down and that sort of affected our rotation a bit and how we're doing things the way Ali's been playing. But I think the girls rallied pretty well and we were able to move the ball.
"Scoring 50-something points was nice," Dollas said. "They're a pretty good defensive team. Not many teams score over 40 points against them. Now we've got almost a week before we get going again, and hopefully Ali will be healthy by then."