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March 12, 2013

The Pentucket winning tradition is likely to continue

(Continued)

This year’s group of Pentucket seniors picked up where the program’s last prolific senior class left off. The Class of 2010 included two career 1,000-point scorers who went off to play in college in Erin McNamara and Ashley Viselli. Those two were just one year behind dominant center Kirsten Daamen, who later played at Central Connecticut State. Erin McNamara and Viselli took a team to the state-championship game as seniors, falling just short of the ultimate goal.

“I have a ton of respect for John McNamara and the things he does up there,” said Archbishop Williams coach Jim Bancroft. “The consistency he brings to the court, the way he teaches his players every year, I’m not surprised they come out of the North every year. And they don’t play the same way from season to season. When we beat them in 2008, they had a big post player (Daamen). They fed the post in more of a slow-down game. Now it’s a fast pace with more 3-pointers. He adjusts to whatever type of players he has.”

Coley Viselli, Nogueira and Moore took on leadership roles on last year’s team, determined to take the program one step farther than their predecessors. They did, winning the title game at the DCU Center for the first time in program history. In fact, before coach McNamara took over the program in 2006-07, the Sachems had gone 17 straight seasons without making the tournament.

If it were not for Archbishop Williams, the Sachems would likely have at least two or three more state championships in McNamara’s eight years. The Archies have won state titles both previous seasons they beat Pentucket at the Garden, and this year’s squad — stocked with Division 1 talent — appears primed to achieve the same feat.

“Our kids come from three small towns, so we compete the best we can,” McNamara said. “It’s tough to compete against that. We’ve had a good run of players, and that’s what it comes down to. I think they have to. They have one at Michigan (Valerie Driscoll) this year. They’re loaded with talent. We may not have scholarship players, but we have kids who play tough basketball and like to compete.”

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