NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 16, 2014

A victory in defeat

Newburyport has strong showing in loss to undefeated Masco

By Tim Lima
Sports Reporter

---- — NEWBURYPORT — This wasn’t your ordinary 13-point loss by the Clippers girls basketball team last night.

The stat sheet may not be impressive to the naked eye. Masconomet won each quarter on the scoreboard and left Newburyport High last night with a 9-0 record and a cushion atop the Cape Ann League’s Kinney Division.

But it’s what the Chieftains didn’t do in a 52-39 victory that the Clippers (8-2) should feel good about.

It doesn’t take long to learn what type of team Masco has, for the statistics speak for themselves.

Before last night’s game, the Chieftains averaged 69.75 points per game — just shy of 18 points per game more than the Clippers.

Their average margin of victory sat at over 38 points and the lowest number they lit up on the scoreboard all season was 64.

But Newburyport refused to be an addition to the list of teams Masco dominated this season.

The Clippers came with energy, perhaps from an unlikely source, and fought toe-to-toe against a team that was far superior on paper.

“I have to give compliments to the JV team who had their best game of the year,” Newburyport head coach Gregg Dollas said.

“They went into overtime and almost beat a great JV team and I think that sparked us to bring energy tonight. I thought the girls gave us all the energy we needed. I wish we had rebounded a little bit better and shot free throws better, but without those two I think it would have been much closer.”

Despite not rebounding as well as Dollas had wished, the Clippers still out-rebounded Masco 34-31.

Lilly Donovan had a strong night for the Clippers with nine points and six rebounds, while Mary Pettigrew contributed with 11 points and three rebounds.

Masco excelled defensively against Emily Pettigrew and Aly Leahy, restricting them to just three points and two points, respectively. Free throws were a killer for the Clippers. In the first half alone, the Chieftains were 8 of 14 from the line while Newburyport was just 3 of 5. Newburyport would finish making just 7 of 15 free throws, while Masco made 16 of 27. The Chieftains’ 52 points was a season low, and the Clippers fell just one point shy of tying the most points allowed by Masco all season.

The Clippers should also feel proud of the way they guarded some of Masco’s most talented players.

Senior Nicole Femino scored 42 points against Newburyport last year and averages 13.6 points per game.

Yesterday, she was restricted to just five points.

On a team of very offensively skilled players, only three scored more than she.

Masco’s Hannah Kiernan, who leads her team in scoring, would finish with 14 points and 7 rebounds, though was never allowed to take over the basketball game.

“(Kiernan) takes it to the rack pretty well and was hard to cover,” Dollas said. “

They fast-break very well. That’s what killed us in the first half. They’re undefeated for a reason.”