Sports in a Minute: Pentucket girls basketball finishes runner-up in Hoops for Hope playoffs

CARL RUSSO/Staff photoPentucket's Anna Wyner fights to pass the ball surrounded by Billerica defenders. Billerica defeated Pentucket in the Hoops For Hope girls championship game on Wednesday.

Hoops for Hope finalists

The Pentucket girls basketball team reached the Hoops for Hope championship game on Wednesday night, beating Haverhill in the semifinals 42-19 before falling in the finals to Billerica in a tight 38-33 loss. Pentucket led for most of the first half, leading 19-16 at the break, before Billerica opened the second half on an 11-2 run to pull ahead for good. The Sachems mounted a late comeback and pulled to within four with six minutes remaining, but the Indians put the game away from there.

Angelica Hurley, Angelina Yacubacci and Hannah Lambert all tied for the team lead with seven points each, and Billerica was led by Madison Bonvie and Sydney Sartell, who scored 10 points each. Despite falling short of the title, the defending Division 2 state champions said the Hoops for Hope season has helped prepare them for the coming winter. The Sachems return all but three players from last year’s championship team and will be strong contenders to repeat.

“It gets us together, not just in the wintertime. It’s like playing in two seasons,” Yacubacci told The Eagle-Tribune after Wednesday’s game. “I’m extremely excited to play (this winter), and I hope this year goes just as well as last year did.”

It was the second straight year that Pentucket has reached the Hoops for Hope finals against a perennial Merrimack Valley Conference contender. Last year’s final against Andover was called off, however, due to wet floor conditions.

Rams still alive

The Rowley Rams staved off elimination in Wednesday’s Game 3 win over the Manchester Mariners, setting the stage for a big weekend to wrap up the Intertown Twilight League finals. The Rams now enter Saturday’s Game 4 trailing the best-of-five series 2-1 and will need to win in order to set up a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday.

Game 4 will be played at Rowley’s Eiras Park starting Saturday at 4 p.m., and if necessary, Game 5 would be played at Memorial Field in Essex, also at 4 p.m.

Triton Youth Hockey

Registration is now open for Triton Youth Hockey’s Learn to Skate program and Mite-Instructional program. Learn to Skate starts Sept. 28 and will run Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. at the Graf Rink in Newburyport. The program is open to children of all ages and costs $125 for one child or $200 for two children. Helmets and skates are required. The Mite-Instructional Ice Hockey program aims to teach kids the basic fundamentals of hockey. The program is best suited for first-time players aged 5-9 and consists of weekly practices and roughly 25 games at the Graf Rink and at Governor’s Academy. The program starts Sept. 13 at 5 p.m., runs through March and costs $975. To register, contact Matt Magee at Mmageetyh@gmail.com or go online at www.tritonyouthhockey.com.

Besting Yaz

Andover’s Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants is having an incredible start to his first season of Major League baseball. The longtime minor league journeyman hit his 13th big league home run of the season on Wednesday, and in doing so, he has now surpassed the total hit by his Hall of Fame grandfather Carl Yastrzemski during his rookie season. The elder Yaz hit 11 home runs as a rookie in 1961, though he would of course hit quite a few more over his 23-year career.