, Newburyport, MA


March 12, 2013

Too big to handle

Sachems can't match up with Archbishop Williams

BOSTON — Pentucket coach John McNamara might be the best basketball coach — both boys and girls — north of Boston.

He has done a heck of a job with the Sachems girls program, compiling a 158-20 record and one state title in seven years.

But sometimes no matter how good the coaching is, the talent on the floor wins out. And yesterday, Archbishop Williams probably had more talent, and certainly much more size, than Pentucket.

The talented Archies rolled 52-38 here in the Division 3 semifinal over defending Division 3 champion Pentucket at the TD Garden.

“They’re bigger than a college team,” McNamara said.

McNamara and Archies coach Jim Bancroft know each other quite well. Yesterday marked the fourth time these two schools have met in the Division 3 semis since 2007.

Unfortunately for McNamara and his band, the Archies have won three of the four matchups.

“They (Archies) have their chance to win their third straight state title and each time they’ve beaten us at the Garden, so you have to respect an opponent like that,” McNamara said.

Bancroft said he has tons of respect for McNamara.

“Every once in a while we’ll chitchat,” Bancroft said. “Not long conversations. Last year, we ran into each other at the NCAA (tournament) after he had won the state tournament and I congratulated him. And we talked a little bit about it. Before this game we were talking, ‘Hey this is four times in seven years.’ So it’s interesting how that develops.”

Without a doubt, Archies had the most talent. The Bishops have three players who are 6 feet or taller. Of those three, Alana Gilmer, who has received a scholarship offer from UMass, was the best yesterday, netting a team-high 12 points.

Archies’ 6-3 sophomore center Jaylen Williams, who is committed to Penn State and is the daughter of former Patriots defensive end Brent Williams, added nine points.

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