Girls Travel Teams
2007-08 Season Game Summaries
Last Update: 11 February 2008
CYBL 8th Grade Girls "Maroon" Travel Team
The 8th Grade Travel girls won 3 straight A Division games recently before losing a tough game to first place Nashua. Chelmsford started the winning streak with an incredible come from behind victory over a very tough team from Peabody. Trailing by 13 points early in the second half, the girls went to a full court press and started to chip away at the lead. Jennifer Janiak scored 12 of her game high 16 points in the second half as Chelmsford closed the game to just two points with a minute remaining. A driving layup by Shannon Shea tied the game at 38. With 8 seconds left Brianne Loiselle stole the ball and was fouled going in for a layup. The clutch Loiselle then calmly sank both free throws to give Chelmsford their first lead of the game at 40-38. Peabody's last second attempt to tie the game was foiled by a great defensive play by Abby Johnson as the crowd erupted in celebration.
Chelmsford next traveled to Lynnfield for a much easier 40-26 victory. Shelby Smyth and Janelle Levesque combined for the game's first eight points as Chelmsford gained control early. Katie Guay and Clancy Taylor headed a great defensive effort and Juliana Mathews 8 rebounds were the keys to victory for Chelmsford. Shannon Shea and Jennifer Janiak shared high scoring honors with 10 points each.
The team's third straight victory was another come from behind special, this one going to overtime at Pentucket. Trailing 21-12 after intermission, Shelagh Brice started the comeback with 2 baseline jumpers as the deficit was cut to 6. A basket by Jackie Pisecco and a runner in the lane by Alena Breton had the Lions within just 4 points with a few minutes remaining. Chelmsford continued to attack the basket and made their free throws count to stay in the game. Janiak went 8-10 from the line to keep the Lions close. With Chelmsford leading by 2, Abby Johnson hit a clutch free throw with only seconds remaining but Pentucket hit a controversial 3 pointer as regulation ended as the game went to overtime. With Chelmsford trailing by one and six seconds remaining in overtime, Clancy Taylor went on a coast to coast drive to the basket. She alertly found Janiak in the corner. Janiak's 20 footer was nothing but net as the horn sounded, giving Chelmsford a thrilling 41-40 victory.
Although the Girls lost a tough 50-38 game to first place Nashua, they find themselves with a 7-5 record in the River Valley League and 15-9 overall.
CYBL 8th Grade Girls Travel Team
Chelmsford 8th grade girls came roaring out of the gate on Friday night versus an overmatched North Reading team. Shelby Smyth's hot shooting was the main catalyst, as she netted 8 of her 10 points in the first half on 3 fast break layups and a 15 foot jumper from the foul line. Chelmsford's relentless defense led to many turnovers by North Reading. Brianne Loiselle and Juliana Mathews dominated the offensive and defensive glass scoring on many second chance shots as they led the Lions to a 26-8 halftime lead. Alena Breton and Clancy Taylor sparked a 10-2 run in the second half as Chelmsford extended their lead to put the game out of reach as they coasted to a 49-22 victory. Jackie Pisecco played well with a 6 points and 8 rebounds and Brianne Loiselle led the balanced scoring attack with a game high 12 points.
On Sunday, the Lions ventured into Billerica to play their arch rivals in a River Valley League contest. The Lions jumped out to an early lead behind the hot shooting of Jennifer Janiak. Consecutive baskets by Pisecco had the girls up 14-7 halfway throught the first half. Juliana Mathews had a solid first half with 5 points and 4 rebounds. A nice pass from Janelle Levesque to a driving Shelby Smyth had the Lions up 21-16 at the half. The second half was a different story as the team struggled with their shooting as Billerica came storming back to take the lead with 6 minutes left. An Abby Johnson jumper gave the Lions their last lead of 34-33. Billerica scored the next six points as they completed the comeback with a 40-36 victory. Janiak led all scorers with 10 points, Pisecco 7 and Juliana Mathews had a tremendous effort in a losing cause with 5 points and a game high 9 rebounds. The loss leaves Chelmsford with an 11-8 record overall and 3-4 in the River Valley League.
CYBL 5th Grade Girls Travel Team Game Summary
On Friday night, the Chelmsford 5th Grade Girls Travel Team hosted a pesky Nashua squad. Chelmsford got out of the blocks quickly as Kelly McDonough (4 points) and Sara DaSilva (2 pts/5 rebounds) each hit a layup then Shannon Garrity (9 pts/5 boards/4 steals/2 blocks) added a 10 foot baseline jumper and a 17 footer from the other corner as she got fouled on the shot. Although she couldn't convert the old fashioned 3 point play, the Lady Lions were out to the early 8-0 lead midway through the first half. They would need that early cushion as Nashua tightened up on defense shutting down Chelmsford for the rest of the half and got their own offense going scoring the last 7 points of the half to cut the deficit to one point at 8-7. After scoring the first hoop of the second half, Nashua had their first (and only) lead of the game at 10-9. Garrity then had back to back hoops and again she got fouled on the second basket and this time made the free throw giving the home team a 13-9 lead that they would not give up. After Nashua scored, Amanda March (2 pts/4 boards/2blocks) grabbed an offensive rebound and hoop then Lauren Kelley (4 steals) made a steal and nice pass to McDonough who sank the layup and Chelmsford was up 17-11 with 8:00 left in the game. Nashua would still not fold, scoring the next 3 points cutting the lead to 17-14. Kayla Loycano (8 boards/1 assist) then hit a clutch 15 footer but Nashua answered with 2 free throws and the game was still tight 19-16. Chelmsford then said enough is enough and scored the next 6 points as Loycano added a free throw and Catherine Nestor who was immense in the paint (11 rebounds/6 blocks) put in an offensive rebound and added 3 free throws down the stretch. Nashua added a free throw at the end to make the final score 25-17. Jasmine Pream (7 steals/2 rebounds), Sarah Peterson (4 rebounds/1 block), Michelle Materna (4 steals), Lilie Whalen (3 steals), and Kristen Der (2 rebounds/1 steal) while not scoring, all played key roles in the victory. With the win, Chelmsford's River Valley League record stands at 6-4.
8th Grade Girls Win Christmas Tournament
The 8th Grade Girls Travel Team journeyed up to Plaistow, NH to play in the inaugural Rockingham Christmas Tournament. The Lionettes won all four of the games they played by an average of 23 points as they dominated the competition on their way to the Tournament Championship.
Chelmsford came out in the first game vs. Tyngsboro playing an attacking 2-3 defense which limited them to only 2 points in the first half as they raced to a 15-2 lead at the break. Shelby Smyth scored 6 of her game high 9 points in the opening stanza to pace the girls to the commanding lead. Jennifer Janiak had 8 point and Shannon Shea had 8 points and a game high 7 rebounds as they cruised in the second half to a 37-11 final score.
Next up for Chelmsford was the Strafford All Stars, an AAU team from Dover, NH. They were no match for the girls ast hey routed them to a tune of 42-16. An aggressive man to man defense and hot shooting from Janiak had them up 25-9 at the half. Brianne Loiselle was immense with 8 points and several key rebounds. Juliana Mathews led all rebounders with 11. Chelmsford had a balanced scoring game with Janiak's 10 points leading the way. Shea and Abby Johnson had 6 points, Janelle Levesque 5 and Clancy Taylor's 6 assists had the team halfway home to the championship after day one.
The tournament semifinals saw a rematch against Tyngsboro. This game marked the long awaited return of Katie Guay from the disabled list. Buoyed by Guay's return the girls came flying out of the gates building an early 6 point lead. Defense was the name of the game in this one as Juliana Mathews dominated the defensive boards with a game high 11 rebounds and Janelle Levesque's 7 offensive rebounds allowed the Lionettes many second shot opportunities. Alena Breton had an outstanding game on both ends of the floor with 5 steals to go along with her 7 points. Jackie Pisecco blocked 5 shots and Shea's 9 points paced the team to a 28-10 victory and a birth in the tournament finals.
The team met a scrappy Billerica team in the finals. Chelmsford's full court press helped build a quick 8-0 lead. Clancy Taylor, Shelby Smyth and Abby Johnson created havoc for the girls in green as they were unable to solve the full court pressure. A great pass from Katie Guay to Jackie Pisecco resulted in a 3 point play as they girls went to the halftime break up 23-11. The lead increased early in the second half as Janiak hit 6 of her game high 10 points and Shea scored 8 with a variety of twisting, spinning layups to move the girls comfortably ahead. Brianne Loisell was huge on the boards all game with a career high 8 rebounds, while also chipping in with 4 points. Levesque, Smyth and Taylor all had 6 points, while Breton and Johnson had 5 assists each. After the dust had settled, Chelmsford left the court with a 42-20 victory and the Tournament Championship.
2006-07 Season Game Summaries
Last Update: 19 March 2007
The CYBL 6th Grade Girls captured the River Valley League “B” tournament title last week to highlight travel tournament action.
Grade 6 Travel Girls
The post season tournament found Chelmsford playing in the “B” division and they hosted Danvers in a preliminary round. After defeating Danvers twice last year by a total of nine points it was expected to be another close game, and for the first six minutes it was, as Danvers held a 9-8 lead. Chelmsford switched from their zone defense to pressure man-to-man and it paid immediate dividends. The girls were able to come up with steal after steal and held a 28-13 lead at halftime.
In the second half it was much of the same and Chelmsford's took the preliminary game, 49-27. Rachel Couto once again lead the way with 14 points followed by Beth Nawoichik (12 points), Alorra Kingston (6 points), Katie Caisse (5 points), Erin Garrity and Alex Hamilton (4 points each), and 2 points each for Melanie Boudreau and Alison DeWitt.
Advancing to the quarter finals, Chelmsford faced a determined Dracut team who were playing on their home court. The game was rather physical with more than 35 fouls being called between the two teams. One of the casualties of the numerous fouls was Couto, who played limited minutes throughout the game and fouled out with more than 7 minutes to go in the second half. The score at halftime was Chelmsford 17-11.
Nawoichik took it upon herself to make sure her team advanced to the next round. After scoring six points in the first half she lit it up for 17 second half points and Michelle Janiak (8 points) ran the team flawlessly without Couto as Chelmsford won, 44-30.
This was the first game that the girls would play shorthanded as Alicia McCartin, DeWitt, and Jaye Stanway were all unable to play the entire weekend. Also scoring against Dracut were Garrity (5 points), Couto (4 points), and two apiece for Hamilton and Kingston.
The semi final game of the tournament was just 2 hours later in the day. Chelmsford's opponent in the semis was Lowell, who posted a 13-1 regular season record in the C division. Chelmsford started off slow once again and Lowell jumped out to a 10-2 lead but Lowell would not score again in the first half and Chelmsford ran off 17 straight points before the half to hold a 19-10 lead at intermission. Chelmsford extended their streak to 23 straight points at 25-10 and were able to cruise to a 34-18 win for their third straight tournament victory and a trip to the tournament finals. Scoring for Chelmsford were Couto (10 points), Janiak and Garrity (8 points each), and 2 apiece for Nawoichik and Caisse.
In the finals, Chelmsford faced Pentucket, who beat Chelmsford earlier in the year by 8 points, led by Nicole Viselli, who scored 18 points including 4 three pointers. Chelmsford's game plan was easy--don't let Viselli beat us! Early on, Pentucket was able to beat Chelmsford's press with relative ease as Pentucket opened up a six point lead. Chelmsford called off the press and went into their half court swarming man-to-man defense. The Pentucket breakaway hoops they were getting earlier in the game were erased and at the half Pentucket had a four point lead, 22-18.
Chelmsford felt good about their first half performance, as even though they were down by four points they felt that they missed many shots they usually make. In the second half more of those shots did go down and Chelmsford built up their largest lead of six points with less than 4 minutes to go as Boudreau had a big put back. After Viselli (just 8 points) hit her only 3 pointer of the game to cut Chelmsford's lead to 2 points, Pentucket was forced to foul and Chelmsford made them pay. Nawoichik, Janiak, Couto, Caisse, and Kingston all made big free throws in the second half to ice Chelmsford's fourth straight win and the post season tournament title.
Putting up the points in the final game were Nawoichik (13 points, 5-5 free throws), Couto and Janiak (9 points each), Caisse and Kingston (3 points each), and 2 each for Boudreau and Garrity. Despite not scoring, Hamilton played well in the finals. Chelmsford's stifling defense, never quit attitude, and total team approach were instrumental in their late season winning streak.
After a slow 1-11 start in the tough “A” division, Chelmsford turned around their season at just the right time. With 2 regular season games to play, Chelmsford was trying to end the regular season on a positive note with a home game against Reading and at Gloucester who was Chelmsford's only league win.
Reading was the only team to beat the powerhouse Peabody team (the “A” division regular season and tournament champions) all year. However, Chelmsford did not let that bother them, and from the opening tip Chelmsford took it right to Reading. Couto scored 11 of her game high 18 points in the first half and Nawoichik had 8 of her 10 in the first half as Chelmsford opened a double digit lead. Reading stayed aggressive and were able to cut the lead to 9 points at the half 23-14.
In the second half Chelmsford was in for a dog fight as Reading kept cutting the lead and eventually took a one point lead 35-34 with under a minute to play. After a Chelmsford miss and a missed foul shot by Reading, Chelmsford had one last chance and they capitalized. Couto (who had her usual strong game at the point) penetrated through the defense and found Garrity about 10 feet out on the wing and with no hesitation she banked home her only hoop for the winning shot with 7 seconds left. Reading's last chance was thwarted when Nawoichik stole an attempted in bounds pass to preserve the Chelmsford win, 36-35. Also scoring for Chelmsford were DeWitt, Caisse, and Hamilton with two points each. Janiak, Boudreau, Stanway, and McCartin all stepped up big on the defensive end.
Against Gloucester, after the long early morning ride, the girls started off a bit sluggish, trailing 12-9 with a minute left in the first half, but they scored the last 4 points of the half for a 13-12 lead. The second half saw much better play from Chelmsford as the team picked up the defensive intensity, Janiak (game-high 11 points) hit jumpers from everywhere, and Couto (10 points) made steal after steal. The girls were able to hold off a late Gloucester charge and post a 37-28 victory and their regular season winning streak was at 2, a prelude of the exciting games to happen. Also scoring were Nawoichik (10), and two each for Hamilton, Kingston, and Garrity.
Grade 7 Travel Girls
The seventh grade girls’ season came to an end this week with a loss in the third round of the TAP tournament. After dropping their opening game in the tournament, the girls came back strong in the second round with a solid win over the Tyngsboro quintet. Chelmsford started fast, using a full court press to disrupt Tyngsboro and create easy scoring opportunities. Kendra Czernicki, Janelle Levesque and Abby Johnson opened the scoring and helped to build an early 6-point lead. Continuing to press and then capitalize on the ensuing turnovers, Shelagh Brice, Clancy Taylor and Alena Breton all added their contributions to the scoring column and expanded the Chelmsford lead to a dozen points. On the defensive side of the floor, everyone was contributing. Jackie Pisecco and Juliana Mathews led the inside defense that limited Tyngsboro to only two offensive rebounds for the half, while Emily Louis and Katie Guay constantly harassed the Tyngsboro backcourt helping to amass 21 turnovers. A string of Tyngsboro free throws just before halftime cut into the Chelmsford lead, but still allowed the girls a seven point margin at the break.
Chelmsford’s collective shooting touch turned cold in the second half, making less than 20% of their shots from the field, but their steady defense kept Tyngsboro from mounting a comeback. With Jennifer Janiak adding to Chelmsford’s balanced scoring, the two teams matched baskets throughout the half. When the final buzzer sounded, Chelmsford walked off the court with a 37-28 win. Team leaders for the game were Levesque with nine points and Breton with seven points and eleven rebounds.
With the win, Chelmsford earned the right to face the talented team from Leominster in round three of the tournament. Everything went downhill from there. Leominster opened the game with a trapping 1-3-1 defense that the Chelmsford girls were seeing in competition for the first time this year and they constantly struggled just to get a clear look at the basket. To compound their problems, they suffered through the worst shooting slump of the season, making barely 10% of their shots. At the other end of the court, Leominster was having no such problems. With 30% shooting and seventeen offensive rebounds, Leominster had a lot of scoring opportunities and made the most of them. They ran off the first twelve points of the game and never looked back. By half-time, Chelmsford was down 24-6 and still trying to crack the Leominster defense.
Facing the end of the season, Chelmsford started the second half with renewed energy. Anchored by their pressing man-to-man defense, Chelmsford tried to claw their way back into the game. After swapping baskets, an 8-0 run on hoops by Brice, Taylor, Mathews and Johnson cut the lead to twelve. Unfortunately, Leominster answered with a 7-0 run of their own and coasted the rest of the way to a 36-22 final and the end of Chelmsford’s season. The team leaders in this final game were Taylor with six point and Brice with four points and five rebounds.
Chelmsford coach Gary Levesque summed up the season after the game. "The girls had a tremendous season and accomplished quite a bit, winning a total of 22 games, up from just 6 a year ago. That is quite a testament to how hard they worked together and played as a team all year long. I couldn't be more proud of these 11 girls and couldn’t have asked for two better assistant coaches, in Brian and Mila Breton, who did an outstanding job," said Levesque.
Grade 5 Travel Girls
The Grade 5 Lady Lion travel basketball team finished their long and winding "rookie" season with three hard fought losses that mirrored their campaign in the rugged division one River Valley League. Moments of brilliance and aggressiveness were followed by lapses in concentration.
Playing in the North Andover March Madness Tournament - the team lost 32-18 to North Andover, 34-28 to Salem and 34-20 to Stoneham.
Game one was a battle with North Andover that saw the Lady Lions close to a 21-18 deficit in the second half. Rachel Hanna was on fire for Chelmsford - scoring 10 points on aggressive, acrobatic plays to keep the team close. Libby Mercuri, Madison Dallmeyer, Abby Desrosiers and Mia Vecchione put the brown thing in the round thing. They suffered through two finger jam injuries to Nicole Harrison and Brittany Rosa and played with spirit in a game that was much closer than the final score.
The second game on Saturday versus Salem was maddening - as Chelmsford played brilliantly and was in a 24-24 tie with 4:08 left in the game. Dallmeyer, Desrosiers, Kelly Bungard, Amanda Auriemma (9 huge points) and Sam Trullo started for Chelmsford. The blue and white clad Salem squad jumped out to an early 4-0 lead as Chelmsford continued their season-long effort of crashing the offensive boards for second and third chance shots. Hanna (13 team leading points) got the ball rolling with a free throw at the 10:01 mark. She was joined on the court by Auriemma, Jillian Bottari, Vecchione and Harrison. Hanna cashed in a layup and it was 4-3.
The Hanna and Auriemma combo scored the next four baskets to put the Lady Lions in the lead at 13-11 with 3:13 left in the half. Bottari hit a sweet jumper and Trullo played solid defense in the paint as the girls enjoyed a 15-13 halftime lead. Hanna scored 2 more baskets and scored a coast to coast layup and Chelmsford lead 20-19 with 8:49 remaining. Guards Desrosiers, Vecchionne and Mercuri handled the ball well and directed plays like seasoned vets. Dallmeyer continued her fine rebounding. Auriemma sank two free throws and Hanna scored another layup and it was tied at 24-24 with 4:08 left. Unfortunately, Salem began to dominate the offensive boards and the Lady Lions failed to score on their second and third chance shots. Bottari sank a free throw and Auriemma scored 3 points to draw the girls close at 32-28 Salem. But time remaining on the clock wasn’t in Chelmsford’s favor, as Salem clinched it with a basket at 1:01. Final score: Salem 34-28.
The season finale was against a tough Stoneham team with two skyscraper forwards. Bottari hit a jump shot and Vecchione sank a basket as the Lady Lions raced out to an early 4-0 lead. Bungard stood tall at forward with several rebounds and Harrison continued her crafty play at forward with a layup. It was 6-2 with 10:50 left in the half. A defensive battle in the paint began as Stoneham tied it up at 6-6. Hanna scored again and Rosa kissed a nice layup in for a 10-10 tie with 4:32 left. Mercuri hit a long jumper but Stoneham began cash in off the glass with their two towering forwards. They built up an 18-12 halftime lead. Hanna, Desrosiers and Auriemma kept it close (28-20 Stoneham) with baskets but Stoneham continued to score inside. Chelmsford finished the season as they started it with heavy pressure and aggressive offensive play but could not score down the stretch. Another great effort by the young and talented team closed out the season with a hard-fought 34-20 loss.
Grade 8 Travel Girls
The Chelmsford 8White girls travel team traveled to Amesbury last weekend to take on Amesbury in the quarter finals of the River Valley League tournament. The game got off to a slow start with Amesbury scoring the first few points. The Lady Lions were in foul trouble very early in the game, having committed six fouls in less than 6 minutes, with no score on the board for Chelmsford. Ashley Hooton started the scoring for Chelmsford with a free throw from the line, but Chelmsford had fallen behind 7-1. Amy Sennott broke the scoring lull with a 3 point shot from the wing. On the ensuing Amesbury possession, Shruthi Srinivas stole the ball and on the offensive rebound, Sennott knocked in her second 3 pointer of the morning, to tie the game at 7 with 6.22 left to go in the half. This seemed to bring the Chelmsford offense back to life. On Chelmsford’s next two possessions, guard Nicole Riccardi drove the ball all the way to the hoop, giving Chelmsford their first lead of the game. Brittany DeCicco, Jessie Eichel and Hooton all added baskets while some good defense from Sennott, Srinivas and Amanda Marcotte kept the Amesbury scorers in check. Sennott hit another basket right at the buzzer, but this was ruled as having been too late. The half ended with Chelmsford holding a 17-15 lead.
In the second half, Chelmsford slowly but surely built on their slim lead. Sennott hit yet another 3 pointer to begin the scoring in the second half. Kimberly Der, Jackie Donovan and Eichel added baskets working against Amesbury’s full court press. On several Chelmsford possessions, Riccardi, getting the ball on the inbounds pass, was able to drive past the defenders and take it all the way to the hoop, putting Chelmsford in command of the game with a 37-20 lead. The defense did let up some after this, letting Amesbury put some points on the board in a losing cause. Chelmsford won the game comfortably with a final score of 47-31, the 47 points representing a season high for the team. Riccardi was the top scorer for the team with 12 points; Sennott had 9, Hooton 8, Donovan 6 while DeCicco, Eichel and Der each had 4. The Lady Lions were however, very poor in shooting from the free throw line in the game, missing over 15 possible points. This was to be an ominous precursor for the game to follow.
In the semi-finals played later that day, Chelmsford faced Reading. The game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Lady Lions started off at a furious pace, racing to a 13-0 lead. Point guard Riccardi had the first two baskets for the Lions, one on an assist from Hooton. Center Donovan, entering the game with 12 minutes to go in the first half had the next two baskets. Srinivas grabbed a defensive rebound and found Der at the other end of the court for a fast break Playing aggressively on defense, Hooton stole the ball and took it all the way for another 2. Tight defense from Sennott, Marcotte, DeCicco and Srinivas helped blank Reading for the first 9 1/2 minutes of the game. With 6.23 to go in the first half, Reading scored their first points. They then went on a 9-0 run to cut Chelmsford’s lead to 4. The half ended with Chelmsford leading 17-10.
The second half was marked by some unbelievably poor shooting by Chelmsford. After Reading tied the game at 19 with 10 minutes left in the second half, center Eichel scored three successive baskets to put the Lions up 26-24. The Lions were in a scoring drought for the next five minutes, while Reading put up 10 points. Chelmsford was also in foul trouble and Reading took full advantage of this. The Lady Lions on the other hand were an abysmal 2 for 20 from the free throw line and that hurt their cause significantly. With only 3 minutes left to go, Chelmsford tried to mount a comeback with Riccardi and Eichel scoring again, but it was too little, too late. Chelmsford fouled the Reading girls in an attempt to get possession back, but as Reading was very successful from the free throw line, this didn’t help the Lions. They lost by a final score of 31-40. Eichel who had a great day controlling the boards, led the scorers with 12 points, while Riccardi had 9, Hooton had 5 and Donovan 4.
Last Update: 26 February 2007
Grade 7 Girls
In the opening game against Holliston, the Lions started out quickly with hoops from Alena Breton and Katie Guay, but Holliston immediately answered back and then switched to a man-to-man press, contesting every possession. Midway through the first half, Chelmsford went on a 6-0 run courtesy of Breton, Janelle Levesque and Kendra Czernicki and managed to maintain that 6-point lead until the break. The second half got off to an ominous start when Holliston drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half. The teams exchanged baskets for the next five minutes, and then Holliston again jumped into their full court press. There was a noticeable change in the tempo of the game, with Holliston repeatedly crashing the offensive boards and snaring what seemed to be every loose ball. Only their poor shooting kept the game close, but at the 6:30 mark they took their first lead of the game 22-21, and never looked back. Over the last six minutes of the game, Chelmsford’s only scores were two Breton free throws and a last second hoop by Guay to make the final count Holliston 28, Chelmsford 25. The game stats had Guay and Breton leading the team in scoring with eight and seven points respectively and also seven rebounds each.
Hoping to rebound from Wednesday’s disappointing loss, the girls faced Concord-Carlisle on Friday evening. Wasting no time, the Lions scored three times in the first minute of play with an 8-footer from Clancy Taylor and two driving lay-ups by Jennifer Janiak. With a stifling 1-2-2 zone defense and a dominating show of rebounding led by Jackie Pisecco, Chelmsford controlled the flow of the game and owned a 16-8 lead at the break. The second half was even better than the first, at least from the Chelmsford perspective. Janiak opened with two long jumpers followed by two free throws from Taylor. Another long Janiak jumper, two more Taylor free throws and a Czernicki lay-up found Chelmsford with a 20-point lead and allowed them to coast to a 35-13 final score. Defensively, the girls shut down the CC offense, holding them to 1 for 29 shooting from the floor. For the game, Janiak led the scoring with 14-points followed by Taylor with eight. Juliana Mathews had three points and a team-leading seven rebounds ably assisted by Pisecco and Czernicki with six rebounds each.
Needing a victory to reach the championship game, Chelmsford had the misfortune to face the Acton/Boxborough Colonials, the undefeated leaders of the Central Massachusetts Youth League. From the outset, Chelmsford was in trouble as Acton scored on a driving lay-up off the opening tip. An aggressive zone defense and a Taylor lay-up kept Chelmsford in the game for a few minutes, but then Acton’s superior skills took control. Behind their smothering man-to-man defense, relentless offensive rebounding and accurate shooting, the Colonials steadily pulled away from the Lions. Despite the apparent mismatch, a spunky performance led by Emily Louis with five points kept the game respectable. It was more of the same in the second half as Acton stretched their lead to as many as 27-points behind 41% shooting from the floor. In contrast, Chelmsford could only manage 18% from the floor and 20% from the line, a clear recipe for defeat. In the end, Acton won 47-23 and advanced to the tournament championship game. Stats leaders for the game were Taylor with six points, Shelagh Brice with five points and four rebounds, Louis with five points and Czernicki with four points and four rebounds.
On a very positive note, while Chelmsford may not have had much success in the team competition, the locals excelled in the free throw shooting and 3-point shooting contests held mid-way through the tournament. With each team allowed one entrant into each contest, Chelmsford stole the show when Levesque made her first four 3-pointers and finished second in that contest. Not to be outdone, Janiak won the free throw competition with a perfect 10 out of ten from the line. Congratulations go out to both girls for a job well done.
Grade 5 Girls
The Grade 5 Lady Lions shot under, over and around a forest of tall, firmly planted "trees" in their three competitive losses during the Acton-Boxboro Travel Basketball February Invitational Tournament. The first forest in the paint was a 6-3 Leominster team resulting in a 26-9 loss.
The highlight of the tournament was a heart-pounding last second loss to another oversized team - King Phillip by the score of 16-14. Chelmsford also lost to a team of skyscrapers also known as Wilmington 24-11 to close out the action.
Leominster's tall frontcourt and zone defense made shooting difficult for the Lions as they cruised to an 11-2 halftime lead and never looked back - or down. Turnovers and fouls plagued Chelmsford as they valiantly tried to penetrate the Leominster defense. Kelly Bungard, playing center, scored the first Lady Lion hoop with 6:38 left in the first half. Chelmsford once again passed the ball well on the perimeter but couldn't score.
Leominster increased the pressure and turnovers lead to an insurmountable 19-2 lead with 9:25 left. Forward Nicole Harrison got hot - stole some passes and made two easy layups to make it 19-6. The aggressive Harrison added a free throw and a layup with 1:01 left to make the final a respectable 26-9 score.
Game Two versus King Phillip (who had not lost this year in tournament play) was an instant classic. Chelmsford outshot, outplayed and outhustled their tall, green and white clad opponents. Starting for the Lady Lions were Brittany Rosa, Nicole Harrison, Samantha Trullo, Mia Vecchione and Jillian Bottari. King Phillip raced out to an early 4-0 lead via offensive rebounds. Trullo got the ball rolling with a nifty layup (4-2 at the 11:11 mark) and the game heated up. Point guard Vecchione directed the offense with fine passes.
Rachel Hanna, Amanda Auriemma, Bungard, Libby Mercuri and Abby Desrosiers checked in and played great defense in the paint. The Lady Lions ruled the offensive boards throughout the game via talent and sheer determination. They had tons of second and third chance shots. King Phillips' tall center and forwards rebounded and scored two inside baskets to build up a 9-2 lead. Auriemma, Hanna and Bungard rebounded well in the "forest" as they continued to have great shot attempts. Auriemma hit a short jumper with 1:54 left as the girls were relentlessly attacking the K.P. basket. The 11-4 halftime score did not tell the story.
Comebacks are for teams with lots of heart and the Lady Lions never gave up. Hanna, playing an intense, aggressive game at forward, fought hard in the paint and was rewarded with a layup to make it 11-6, King Phillip with 11:50 left in the game. Desrosiers and Mercuri did an excellent job directing traffic from the guard spots in the furious action. Harrison hit a runner off the glass to close the score to 11-8 as the Chelmsford fans roared their approval. King Phillips went on a 5-0 run featuring a three point play (jumper, foul and free throw) and it was suddenly 16-8 with 9:05 left on the clock.
Undaunted, the spunky Chelmsford team continued their assault on the King Phillip hoop. Harrison continued her fine play with tons of rebounds and Trullo hustled for loose balls. Mercuri and Bottari recovered from first half injuries to play tough basketball. Rosa and Vecchione hustled and passed the ball extremely well under pressure. Hanna began the comeback with a free throw and a jumper to close the gap to 16-11 with only 1:11 left. The pressure mounted as Mercuri hit a sensational "long bomb" three pointer and it was suddenly 16-14 with 41 left. Chelmsford had several last second chances as their fans screamed their approval and appreciation for the never say die effort. In the end - the only thing that beat them was the clock as it ran out.
The Lady Lions played their final game the following day (Saturday) versus Wilmington and looked tired. The blue and white Wildcats featured another tall frontcourt challenge. Getting a quality shot was tough with the long arms of Wilmington raised up high. Chelmsford trailed 12-4 at the half as Rosa and Auriemma scored. Harrison (4 points), Desrosiers, and Hanna scored in the second half as a "killer" 8-0 run by Wilmington pushed the score out to 24-8 with 4 minutes left.
Grade 5 Girls
The grade 5 Lady Lions team paid their dues on the offensive boards - crashing them for tons of second and third chance shots that flirted with the basket and failed to drop. The result was a tough, 24-17 loss to division one opponent North Andover (7-6 record) despite dominating well into the second half with a 15-12 lead and 8:40 left to play. Chelmsford now has a 2-11 River Valley League record that doesn't reflect their competitive games.
The black and white clad North Andover squad was hounded by Chelmsford's aggressive, pressure defense all evening at Parker before a boisterous crowd. Starting for the Lady Lions were Brittany Rosa, Nicole Harrison, Amanda Auriemma, Jillian Bottari and Mia Vecchione. North Andover jumped out to an early 5-0 lead at the 12:46 mark. Vecchione played point guard well and got quality shots, Auriemma made several athletic steals and Harrison boxed out and rebounded at the forward spot. Bottari and Rosa hustled on defense as their shooting hands started to warm up.
Jennifer Hill (5 points), Rachel Hanna (4 points), Libby Mercuri, Kelly Bungard and Abby Desrosiers checked in at the 11:58 mark and Hill converted a free throw to make it 5-1, North Andover. The preview of "coming attractions" began with great passing and many rebounds off the offensive boards - resulting in shots that could not find the bottom of the basket. Hill scored a pretty layup after a Mercuri steal as Bungard did the dirty work in the paint - rebounding and blocking shots. Vecchione scored a crafty layup and Mercuri, directing traffic with great passes hit a jumper with 4:33 left in the half to give Chelmsford their first lead at 7-6.
Mercuri spotted an open Hill for another layup and a 9-6 lead. Sam Trullo and Madison Dallmeyer continued the relentless defensive pressure and Rachel Hanna cashed in a jumper with one second on the clock as the Lady Lions found themselves leading at the half, 11-10 as North Andover stayed close with rebounds and free throws. Jillian Bottari (hustling all evening) made a terrific steal and Hanna scored a layup to give Chelmsford a 13-12 lead with 12:11 left. Trullo played tall in the paint as Mercuri hit a terrific long jumper for a 15-12 Chelmsford edge with 8:40 to play.
Mercuri continued passing well as Dallmeyer attempted several quality shots. Crisp bounce passes and second and third chance shots continued as the girls struggled to pry the "lid" off the basket. Andover went on a 6-0 run that Auriemma stopped with a deft jumper to make the score 18-17, North Andover with 5:01 to play. North Andover scored the final 6 points for a 24-17 final as the frustrated Lady Lions couldn't cash in during "crunch time" despite outplaying their opponents.
Grade 8 Girls
The Chelmsford Girls 8White team lost a close game, losing 33-30, to Pelham on Sunday.
Pelham got off to an early 4-0 lead, before Amy Sennott got the Lions on the board, with a good assist from Jessie Eichel. A tight defense from the Lions kept the Pelham girls away from the paint and some good offensive rebounding by Amanda Marcotte and Brittany DeCicco saw the Lions take a 6-4 lead. With guards Nicole Riccardi and Ashley Hooton driving aggressively on offense and substitute centers Eichel and Shruthi Srinivas controlling the boards defensively, the Lions were able to stay ahead of Pelham14-10.
With 2.15 left in the half, the Pelham girls regained the lead as the Lions defense collapsed allowing Pelham to take uncontested shots at the basket. The half ended with Pelham leading 17-15. The sloppy defense continued to dog the lions in the first few minutes of the second half, as Pelham ran off 5 straight points. Sennott again started the scoring for Chelmsford in this half with a beautiful three point shot from the wing. Baskets from Marcotte and DeCicco helped keep the Lions from falling too far behind, but the Lions shooting was generally poor. With about 5 minutes left in the game, the Lady Lions trailed 32-24. The defense tightened up and didn't let the Pelham girls score again, but for a foul shot. Riccardi stole the ball on an inbounds pass and drove all the way to the hoop to cut the lead to 6. A basket by Sennott on an offensive rebound and another from Kimberly Der made it 32-30 with 1.02 on the clock. A free throw by Pelham saw the lead increase to 3 with 35 secs left in the game. The Lions did get a couple more shots at the basket, but were unable to score, losing 33-30.
Riccardi led the scoring for Chelmsford with 8 points with Sennott running a close second at 7 points. Centers Taylor West and Jackie Donovan didn't play due to injuries.
Grade 6 Girls
The girls came out strong right out of the blocks with swarming full court defense that produced steal after steal and opened up a quick 13 - 3 lead. Elizabeth Nawoichik scored 6 of her game high 12 points in the first half and Rachel Couto also had 6 of her 10 points in the first half. After opening up the big lead early, the girls did not have to press again for the rest of the game. At halftime the score was 17 - 9 Chelmsford and they would not look back.
The second half saw Chelmsford open up a 20 point lead and although Gloucester cut the lead to 8 points with four minutes to go, Chelmsford put their foot back on the accelerator and never let the visitors get any closer.
Also scoring for Chelmsford were Michelle Janiak (7), Alorra Kingston, Katie Caisse, & Erin Garrity (4 each), and 2 points for Jaye Stanway. Allison DeWitt and Alex Hamilton although not showing up on the scoring column played well in the girls first league win of the year.
The girls overall record stands at 4-16 on the year. With four games left on the regular season schedule the girls are hoping to use this win to build momentum before entering the post season tournament.
Grade 7 Girls
It was a good, bad and ugly week of basketball for the seventh grade girls travel team. The good was a 46-28 win over River Valley League opponent Masconomet. The bad and the ugly were a frustrating loss to league-leading Melrose, 47-35.
Friday night at McCarthy, the Chelmsford girls hosted winless Masconomet and helped to keep their dubious streak alive. The Lions took control from the opening tip and raced out to a 16-2 lead. Effective picks and sharp passing broke down Masco's man-to-man defense and allowed Jennifer Janiak and Abby Johnson to knock down several mid-range jumpers. On the defensive end, Chelmsford's zone press, led by Katie Guay and Janelle Levesque, continually disrupted Masconomet and led to two Clancy Taylor breakaway lay-ups. Later in the half, when the outside shooting cooled off, Jackie Pisecco started crashing the offensive board and scored off the rebounds. On the defensive side of the court, an athletic performance by Emily Louis gave her a team-leading three rebounds from the guard position. By halftime, Chelmsford had built up a comfortable 18-point lead. Masconomet picked up their intensity in the second half, but were unable to cut into the Chelmsford lead. Balanced scoring and steady defense preserved the margin and led to the 46-28 final.
Saturday afternoon, the Chelmsford girls traveled to Melrose for a much-anticipated meeting with the undefeated league leaders. With their size, quickness and aggressive style, Melrose was clearly one of the toughest teams Chelmsford had faced this year.
Chelmsford streaked to an early 4-point lead led by Alena Breton and Shelagh Brice but Melrose responded with a 9-0 run as they sliced through the Chelmsford press for easy lay-ups. Hoops by Juliana Mathews, Johnson and Janiak brought Chelmsford back to within one, but Melrose closed the half with an 11-4 run to lead by eight.
With unnerving consistency, every Chelmsford hoop was matched by a Melrose score; the girls weren't able to get any closer than the 8-point halftime deficit. Although they came out on the short end of the 47-35 score, Chelmsford battled to the end. Janiak and Brice ended up with 12 and 11-points respectively, while Kendra Czernicki claimed nine rebounds.
Grade 8 Girls (White)
Chelmsford lost both centers Taylor West and Jackie Donovan to injuries, and the Lady Lions were further depleted with guard Nicole Riccardi out and Amanda Marcotte (forced to limited playing time.
The girls faced a tough challenge in the first game against North Reading at home. Tight defense, good rebounding, a few timely steals and balanced scoring saw the Lions take an early 9-4 lead. North Reading switched to a full court press and the Lions took advantage of this, with some great passing to end the half at 15-8.
The exhausted Lady Lions were flat to start off the second half and soon saw their lead cut to just 1. Brittney DeCicco rebounded and got the ball to Amy Sennott on a fast break to make it 17-14. Jessie Eichel and Shruthi Srinivas grabbed defensive rebounds, while Sennott and Ashley Hooton stole the ball being aggressive on defense, keeping North Reading from adding any points. A great 3 point shot by Kimberly Der with about 5 minutes left in the game helped push the lead to 22-14. North Reading clawed their way back and the last couple of minutes were very tense, with Chelmsford clinging onto a slim 24-21 lead. A free throw by Eichel and a great clutch basket by Sennott pushed the lead to 6 points with 25 seconds to go, sealing the game. The final score was 27-23. Sennott led the scoring with 8, Eichel had 7, DeCicco 4, Der and Srinivas chipped in with 3 each and Hooton contributed 2.
A couple of hours later, the Lady Lions regrouped as they traveled to take on a strong Dracut team. The formula for the Lions stayed the same - tight aggressive defense, not allowing the Dracut girls to penetrate into the paint, forcing them to take low percentage shots from the perimeter. On offense, the Lions played extremely well against the full court press. Hooton and DeCicco started the scoring for Chelmsford, Eichel and Srinivas traded assists and baskets to boost the lead to 10-3. Eichel then scored again on an assist from Der and Amanda Marcotte chipped in with a basket to end the half with a lead at 17-9. The Lions started the second half sloppily, turning the ball over a few times before Eichel scored twice in succession on an offensive rebound and a fast break to make it 21-10. A great defensive block by Marcotte saw Srinivas retrieve the ball and pass to Hooton for an easy layup. Hooton then took over, scoring several times on fast breaks with rebounds from Sennott, Srinivas, Eichel and Marcotte. The Lions had a double digit lead for the first time in the game and made sure they didn't relinquish it, winning 41-28. Hooton lead the scoring for the Lady Lions with 14, Eichel had 12, DeCicco 5, Der and Srinivas had 4 each and Marcotte added 2. Sunday was sweet redemption for the Lady Lions as they had lost close, hard fought games to Lynnfield and Gloucester in the past few weeks.
7th Grade Girls
The seventh grade girls travel team continued their winning ways with double-digit wins over River Valley League rivals Wilmington and Salem.
The matchup at the Wilmington Middle School found the Chelmsford girls following what is becoming a consistent and effective game plan. Opening with their tight 2-3 zone, Chelmsford allowed their opponents very few good looks at the basket, forcing them to take long, low percentage shots. On the offensive side of the court, their constant movement and brisk passing resulted in numerous open looks at the hoop. Add a few timely steals and fast breaks to the mix and the result was a tough afternoon for Wilmington.
An early 3-pointer gave them their first and only lead of the game. That margin was quickly wiped out by a Jackie Pisecco lay-up and a Clancy Taylor fast break. Balanced scoring and solid rebounding pushed the Chelmsford lead to ten by halftime. The second half was more of the same with Taylor and Shelagh Brice leading the scoring and Juliana Mathews and Kendra Czernicki controlling the boards. The lead peaked at nineteen points and finally ended with a 29-15 Chelmsford win.
Chelmsford next hosted Salem at the McCarthy gym. From the opening tip, Chelmsford cast a spell over the Witches and steadily built a 12-point lead while allowing just a single Salem basket. With balanced scoring from eight girls, Chelmsford widened their lead to sixteen points before Salem ran off the final eight points of the half. The Lions started the second half just like the first. Behind the hot shooting of Jennifer Janiak, Chelmsford ran off ten straight points and then coasted the rest of the way to a 39-20 victory. The stats leaders for the game were Janiak with eight points, Alena Breton and Abby Johnson with six points and four rebounds each, Brice with six points and Pisecco with nine rebounds.
The two wins improved the Lady Lions’ record to 9-2 in River Valley League play and 17-9 overall.
5th Grade Girls
Fate was not shining down on the Grade 5 Lady Lions this past weekend as they lost an overtime heartbreaker, 15-14, to Masco and lost to an experienced Tewksbury squad, 20-7.
The competitive division one losses dropped the talented and young team with a 2-9 season record in the River Valley.
Brittany Rosa, Jennifer Hill, Amanda Auriemma, Libby Mercuri and Jillian Bottari started for Chelmsford against the 1-10 red and white clad Masco team. Masco scored the first point of the game at the 14:51 mark and both teams played airtight defense.
Nicole Harrison got the ball rolling for Chelmsford with a sweet jumper and a free-throw to tie it up at 3-3. Abby Desrosiers, Rachel Hanna, Kelly Bungard and Madison Dallmeyer joined Harrison. The Lady Lions began an evening-long assault on the offensive boards as they dominated in the paint. Had their shooting percentage been just a bit higher they would have cruised past Masco. Desrosiers and Mercuri were quarterbacking from the guard spots with crisp passes and Hanna and Bungard snared key rebounds in the paint.
The sweet passing continued as Auriemma found Desrosiers for a layup and a 5-3 lead at 9:06. Desrosiers snaked her way through heavy traffic for a brilliant short J and a 7-3 lead. Bottari was a force on defense as she was everywhere - disrupting Masco plays. Rosa (rebounds in the frontcourt) and Harrison ruled the glass as Mercuri continued the great offensive pressure with timely passes and shots.
Sam Trullo and Desrosiers continued the fine backcourt play as Hill attempted several quality shots. The half ended at 7-3 Chelmsford and it could have been much higher. Speedy forward Auriemma drained a tall jumper off the top of the glass and Mercuri added a layup and the scoreboard read 11-4, Chelmsford. Mercuri added another great jumper off the glass for a 13-4 lead with 12:20 left in the game. The noisy crowd at Parker had no reason to suspect these would be the last Lady Lion points in regulation.
Masco slowly but surely chipped away at the lead as Chelmsford couldn't buy a basket - despite their relentless attack on the Masco hoop. The game got sloppy with turnovers at the 5 minute mark and Masco tied it at 13-13 (a 9-0 run) with 2:41 remaining. As Masco players continued to drop like flies to the court they spent a lot of time at the charity stripe as Chelmsford was called for countless fouls by the referees.
Overtime saw the game see-saw back and forth and Masco finally took the lead, 15-13, with a basket as 1:50 remained on the clock. Bungard cashed in a free-throw to close it to 15-14 but other opportunities were missed and The Lady Lions lost a heartbtreaker as the final buzzer sounded.
Tewksbury sported a 6-4 River Valley record as they tipped off versus Chelmsford on Saturday evening. Tewksbury cruised out to a 6-0 early lead before Hill sank an athletic 10 footer for the Lady Lions. Tewksbury's full court press and speed caused turnovers for Chelmsford as errant passes were the norm. The Lady Lions were staring at a 14-2 deficit with 3:40 left. It was 18-3 Tewksbury at the half.
The Lady Lions did not give up. Instead, they dug in their heels defensively. Harrison drove in for an athletic layup. The Chelmsford passing was much better despite an effective zone defense in the paint by Tewksbury. Getting a quality shot was tough - Auriemma hit a jumper with 6:32 left to make the final score 20-7. The Lady Lions outscored Tewksbury 4-2 in the second half as they continue their division one education in the tough River Valley League.
Girls 7th Grade Team
The seventh grade girls travel team extended their winning streak to five with a 38-33 win over Dracut, but then lost a heartbreaker to undefeated River Valley League leader North Andover, 27-25. The girls rebounded immediately and crushed visiting Lowell, 46-20.
The first game matched the Chelmsford girls against Dracut’s A division team. The game started as a tight defensive battle pitting Dracut’s zone press against Chelmsford’s active man-to-man. Halfway through the first stanza, with the locals holding a one point lead, Jennifer Janiak and Juliana Mathews sparked an 8-1 run with two hoops each. After two Dracut free throws, Clancy Taylor brought the crowd alive with a 3-pointer from the baseline, her first in league play. A last-second bucket by Mathews gave the Lions an 8-point lead at the half. Dracut tried to force their way back into the game with an aggressive defensive assault and a barrage of 3-point shot attempts, but the Lions answered every challenge. Solid rebounding from Alena Breton and Jackie Pisecco and timely scoring from Janiak and Janelle Levesque helped Chelmsford maintain their lead throughout the half. Two long 3-pointers by Dracut with under a minute to play closed the gap, but in the end it was a solid win for the Lions over a quality opponent. The stat sheet for the night showed Janiak in double figures with 10-points, Breton with six points and six rebounds and Mathews with six points and five rebounds.
With a chance to inch closer to the top in the River Valley League standings, the girls visited undefeated North Andover. The tall North Andover squad quickly showed why they were at the top of the league. After a single early basket, Chelmsford was shut out for the next nine minutes while Andover built up a 9-point lead. To leverage their superior quickness, Chelmsford switched to a zone press, forcing several turnovers and generally disrupting North Andover’s steady offense. An 8-2 run brought Chelmsford within three and sent the message that the Lions were still in the game. Building on the success of the press, Chelmsford started the second half with a sterling defensive effort, with Katie Guay and Breton turning steals into easy lay-ups. A 9-0 run found Chelmsford with a 4-point lead and North Andover taking a hurried time-out to try to regroup. Their answer was a full court zone trap. For the next ten minutes the two teams went back and forth, forcing turnovers and bad shots on both sides. With just over a minute to play, North Andover scored to tie the game at twenty-five all. After missed opportunities by each side, North Andover set up their final play. With twelve seconds remaining on the clock, one of their guards launched and drained an 18-footer from the top of the key. Chelmsford’s final, frenzied attempt to tie the game bounced harmlessly off the rim. The Lions’ winning streak had ended and North Andover remained undefeated, but both teams knew that if they should meet again in the league playoffs, it would be anyone’s game.
Putting that difficult loss behind them, the girls hosted Lowell at the McCarthy gym in a rematch of a December game. Behind their best offensive performance of the year, the girls scored early and often, putting up 32-points in the first half on 53% shooting. Janiak led the parade with ten points but was ably assisted by Shelagh Brice, Emily Louis and Abby Johnson with four each. Using a newly installed 1-2-2 zone, the defense was just as impressive, holding Lowell to just a single basket and three free throws. The Chelmsford shooting cooled off a bit in the second half while the Lowell girls started finding the range. Capped off by two 3-pointers down the stretch, Lowell played Chelmsford even for the half, but still finished on the short end of the 46-20 score. The game stats showed Janiak and Brice leading the scoring with twelve and eight points respectively while Pisecco and Kendra Czernicki controlled the boards and everyone on the team picked up at least one steal.
Girls 5th Grade Team
The Grade 5 Lady Lions continued their Division One "apprenticeship" with a hard-fought, competitive loss to a scrappy and tall Billerica team by the final score of 20-13. The rematch saw Chelmsford's River Valley record dip to 2-7.
Chelmsford matched the green and white clad Billerica squad in defensive intensity and turnovers and even managed to outshoot their opponents with tons of offensive rebounds. Luck was not on their side as shot after shot could not find the bottom of the net.
Billerica surprised the Lady Lions with a full-court press to start the game and the defensive battle began. Starting for Chelmsford were Libby Mercuri, Jennifer Hill, Rachel Hanna, Brittany Rosa and Jillian Bottari. Samantha Trullo finally broke the ice with a jumper from "downtown" and a 2-0 lead at 10:42.
Abby Desrosiers, Amanda Auriemma, Trullo, Madison Dallmeyer and Kelly Bungard entered at the 10:22 mark and got the scoring started with Trullo's jumper. Hanna continued her fine frontcourt work in the paint and Mercuri and Bottari "quarterbacked" with great passing from the guard spots. Rosa kissed a long jumper off the glass at the 7:00 mark and Chelmsford lead, 4-2. Turnovers lead to a 6-4 Billerica lead with 4:12 left in the first half.
Desrosiers continued her cool and collected passing, Bungard and Trullo and Auriemma snared several tough rebounds, and Dallmeyer played tough D as the half wound down. Billerica added a basket with one minute left to make it 8-4 at the half.
Hill scored a terrific layup for the Lady Lions to close the score to 8-6. Billerica's tall frontcourt sparked a 6-0 run that spelled trouble for Chelmsford as the scoreboard suddenly read Billerica 14, Chelmsford 6 with 11:23 left. Chelmsford did not surrender and began a comeback with a long Auriemma jump shot. Bungard hit a free-throw at 8:01 to make it 16-9, Billerica. Billerica went over the foul limit and the Lady Lions had a chance at the "charity line" and failed to close the gap .Dallmeyer converted a short jumper (18-11 Billerica) with 3:38 left. Chelmsford made their last charge with tons of second chance shots that wouldn't go in as they ruled the glass. A Billerica basket and a long bomb by Trullo ended the hard-fought game with a final score of 20-13.
Girls 5th Grade
The Grade 5 Lady Lions 2006-7 "roller-coaster" seasonal ride took a plunge against a scrappy, green and white clad Billerica team in the second half - the result being a disappointing 22-12 loss at Parker Friday night. Chelmsford played a very competitive first half but watched Billerica cruise past with a 12-6 scoring edge in the second half. The loss left the team with a 2-5 River Valley League record.
Starting for the Lady Lions were Jennifer Hill, Amanda Auriemma, Madison Dallmeyer, Libby Mercuri and Abby Desrosiers. Rugged defensive play by both squads limited the scoring as Billerica held an early 4-0 lead. Hill scored the Lions' first basket on a nice shot at 12:20 and it was 4-2, Billerica.
Nicole Harrison continued her spirited play on defense with aggressive rebounds. She was joined by a unit featuring Rachel Hanna, Mia Vecchione, Kelly Bungard and Samantha Trullo. Hanna made a great long pass to Vecchione for a layup and it was 4-4 with 9:52 left in the half. Hanna and Trullo shined like stars in the paint - playing solid D. Billerica employed a full court press which caused many turnovers by Chelmsford and allowed the visitors to build a 10-4 lead with 7:01 left.
The "coaster ride" continued upwards as forward Bungard continued her fine work in the paint -rebounding and passing. Hanna was stellar on the offensive boards and scored a beautiful lefty hook shot to close the gap to 10-6 at the 1:27 mark. Harrison made aggressive, athletic plays at center on defense to help keep the score close at the half.
The second half plunge happened quickly as Billerica dominated the rest of the contest. Harrison, Vecchione and Hanna each scored a basket but their opponents scored 12 points to make the score a disappointing 22-12. The talented Lady Lions go back to the drawing board versus Tyngsboro on Friday in a home game as they continue their basketball education in the division one River Valley League.
Girls 7th Grade Travel:
The CYBL seventh grade girls travel team won their third and fourth games in a row this past week with a 35-29 overtime thriller against North Reading and a 33-5 romp over Swampscott.
Having lost to North Reading three times last year, this game proved to be an indicator of how much the team has improved. Chelmsford fell behind early against the Hornets and trailed by four with seven minutes to go in the first half. The very physical play of the North Reading team had effectively shut down the home team’s offense, but their personal foul count was rising. The combination of a switch to a disruptive zone press and the opportunity to shoot free throws changed the tempo of the game and allowed Chelmsford to take a three-point lead by the break. Chelmsford started out fast in the second half behind the hot shooting of Jennifer Janiak, Clancy Taylor and Jackie Pisecco, and built up an 11-point lead with only six minutes left to play.
North Reading, however, was not ready to give up. Over the next two minutes, they rattled off ten straight points and crept back to within one. After an exchange of free throws it was still a one-point game when the Hornets stung the locals with a clutch hoop to take the lead with thirty-five seconds left in regulation time. Five seconds later, Alena Breton sank a game-tying free throw. Not to be outdone, the Hornets took the lead back at the 6-second mark with a free throw of their own. With time for one final shot, Chelmsford quickly brought the ball down the court. Just before the buzzer, North Reading fouled again. Breton went back to the line and dropped in the game-tying free throw. In comparison to the heart-stopping end to regulation time, the overtime period was almost serene. Katie Guay opened the scoring with a free throw followed by a Juliana Mathews put-back of an offensive rebound. Another basket from Janiak and free throws by Janelle Levesque and Mathews put Chelmsford ahead by eight. The final score was 35-29. The balanced Chelmsford scoring on the night was led by Janiak with eight points and Taylor with five. Cleaning the glass were Pisecco, Levesque and Breton with seven, six and five rebounds respectively.
Sunday, the girls traveled to Marblehead for an afternoon contest with Swampscott. As they have done so many times, Chelmsford immediately fell behind when Swampscott scored only 11-seconds into the game. Unfortunately for Swampscott, it was the only time they would score in the first half. In complete control, Chelmsford scored early and often, running up a 20-point lead by halftime. It was more of the same in the second half. With their tight zone defense allowing Swampscott few good shots and even fewer offensive rebounds, Chelmsford again held their opponents to a single basket plus one free throw. On the offensive end of the court, every Chelmsford girl contributed to the scoring led by Janiak and Breton with six points each. Levesque had a particularly strong game on the boards with 10 rebounds for the game.
With the league win over Swampscott (the North Reading game was a non-league match up), Chelmsford improved their RV League record to 7-1 and solidified their third place position behind undefeated North Andover and Melrose.
Girls 5th Grade Travel:
The Grade 5 Lady Lions received mixed reviews while crushing Pentucket, 30-22 last Friday and losing to Dracut 23-11 early Sunday morning. Their River Valley League record now stands at 2-5 as the young, talented team continues their apprenticeship.
Rave reviews resulted in the dismantling of Pentucket as Chelmsford cruised out to a 20-7 halftime lead and went into cruise control with a 30-13 lead with 3:59 remaining in the game. Precision passing (including dazzling bounce passes for easy baskets) and aggressive play in the paint were highlights for an appreciative, noisy home crowd at Parker. Amanda Auriemma scored a season-high 14 points and Nicole Harrison poured in 6 key points to lead the scoring parade.
Samantha Trullo, Kelly Bungard, Mia Vecchione, Brittany Rosa and center Harrison started for the Lady Lions as they applied great pressure on the green and white clad Pentucket offense. Auriemma scored the game’s first points with a textbook jumper at the 13:12 mark. Libby Mercuri, Rachel Hanna, Jennifer Hill and Abby Desrosiers joined Auriemma on the court as the Lady Lions got it in gear.
Pinpoint passing began with a great Hanna bounce pass to Auriemma for a 4-3 Lion lead. Madison Dallmeyer and Jillian Bottari played great defense as Chelmsford harassed Pentucket with swarming pressure which caused turnovers, steals and tons of rebounds. Point guard Vecchione hit a short jumper and Harrison ruled the glass--rebounding and scoring an easy layup and jumper to make it 10-3, Lady Lions at 8:56.
Rosa (on a nice feed from Vecchione) scored a layup and guard Mercuri and forwards Bungard and Hanna got into the passing clinic as well. Smart passing by guard Desrosiers lead to another Auriemma bucket. She added a jumper (great pass from Hill) and Mercuri scored to push the lead to 18-7. Dallmeyer hit a nice jump shot to end the half at 20-7, Chelmsford.
Bungard scored to open the second half and Auriemma continued her relentless assault on the basket with 6 straight points off rebounds and steals. Trullo continued her aggressive play with rebounds. Harrison scored the last basket for Chelmsford with a terrific hook shot with 3 minutes left as Pentucket scored 9 points to make the final a misleading 30-22 score.
A super-sized and undefeated blue and white clad Dracut team forced turnovers and poor reviews for the Lady Lions in the first half. Getting a quality shot was difficult as the Lions faced tall, outstretched arms when on offense. Bungard scored the only basket as Dracut ruled the glass in the first half. Harrison added a free throw and it was 13-3 Dracut at the half. Auriemma (two baskets) and Hill scored six straight to close the score to 17-9 with 4:12 left. Dracut’s speedy backcourt took control and scored 6 straight to end the Lion threat. Mercuri scored a jumper to make the final score a respectable 23-11.
8th Grade Girls Maroon Team wins Holiday Tournament
The CYBL 8th grade girls maroon travel team finished out the year strong winning the Pelham Holiday Tournament (4-0) during the holiday week. The entire team contributed to the effort with Gabie Polce and Ally Cote leading the way. Both Polce and Cote had a great tournament both offensively and defensively. Dana Tuccelli, Ashley Piecewicz and Gina Shaw dominated the boards and played great defense in the paint. Rachel Bunyan and Cara McCartin were defensive standouts as they held the best player on the other team to few points. Danielle Candelieri and Carolyn Cote had strong performances as well and both had numerous steals throughout the four games. The team beat Danvers in the championship game, 33-30.
Earlier this season the Lady Lions went to the semi-finals of the Ken Waldie Tournament but lost a close game to Hudson. Carolyn Cote, Tuccelli and Polce played exceptionally well in this tournament with Tuccelli winning the game against Methuen with a free throw in the final seconds of the game.
Over Thanksgiving the team traveled to Malden for the North Shore Tournament where they went 2-1 beating Danvers and Burlington, but losing to Stoneham. Bunyan, McCartin and Shaw paced the way for the Lions as they again played tough defense against all three teams. Kelly Pickett and Ally Cote led the offensive charge while both crashing the boards.
The team is now 8-8 overall and 0-4 in the league. They will kickoff 2007 when they take on Methuen and Tewksbury this week.
Seventh Grade Girls Start New Year with Two Wins
The CYBL 7th grade girls resumed their RV League schedule with a lopsided win over Beverly 42-14 and followed that up by nipping undefeated Nashua 33-30.
In a home game against Beverly, Chelmsford jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead and never looked back. Their active man-to-man defense stifled the Beverly offense, repeatedly allowing only a single shot each time down the court. At the other end of the court, the trio of Abby Johnson, Jennifer Janiak and Jackie Pisecco, with two hoops each led a balanced attack that propelled Chelmsford to a 12-point halftime lead.
It was more of the same in the second half with Chelmsford dominating the play at both ends of the court. With the backcourt defense of Emily Louis and Katie Guay disrupting Beverly’s playmaking and Clancy Taylor and Shelagh Brice adding to the scoring balance, Chelmsford continued to widen their lead. That lead peaked at 30-points when Janelle Levesque made a coast-to-coast drive and lay-up with 10 seconds left to play. A Beverly buzzer-beater made the final score 42-14.
In her best offensive game of the season, Pisecco led the team in scoring with a dozen points followed by Janiak with eight and Taylor with six. Kendra Czernicki took down six rebounds to pace the team in that category.
The girls traveled to Nashua on Sunday to take on the undefeated New Hampshire quintet. From the opening tip, the game proved to be a close contest between two evenly matched teams.
After swapping baskets for the first six minutes, Chelmsford went on a brief spurt with two free throws by Janiak followed by another free throw then two more Alena Breton hoops. Two Nashua baskets were then matched by two Juliana Mathews buckets putting Chelmsford ahead by six, but Nashua finished the half with two baskets inside the last minute to cut the lead to two points.
Chelmsford opened the second half with the quick hoop by Breton, but Nashua answered with a six-point run to take a 2-point lead. A fifteen-footer by Janiak tied the game but a long 3-pointer by Nashua gave them the edge again. Pisecco followed an offensive rebound with a lay-up to bring Chelmsford back to within one point and Breton tied the game again with a free throw with a little more than six minutes left to play. For the next five minutes both teams went up and down the court but neither could convert the go-ahead basket. Then with just over a minute to play, Nashua scored after an offensive rebound. Breton answered with a driving lay-up and was fouled on the play. She coolly sunk the free throw to give Chelmsford a 1-point lead. At the 25-second mark, Breton was fouled again and made two more clutch free throws to put Chelmsford up by three.
Nashua came back and scored again with seven seconds left to bring them within one. Unfortunately for Nashua, they sent Breton to the line one more time and she made them pay by sinking two final free throws giving Chelmsford the 33-30 win.
Though it was another team effort, the game statistics showed Breton with seventeen points and five rebounds, Mathews with four points, six rebounds and a block and Pisecco with six points and four rebounds. The win puts Chelmsford near the top of the RV league with a 6-1 record.
Grade 5 Lady Lions Split 2
The new year has been very, very good thus far for the grade 5 Lady Lions as they gained a much needed "shot of confidence" by crushing Reading, 33-22, last Friday night at Parker. Losing to Wilmington on Sunday hurt - but the game was a close, competitive 15-10 score. Chelmsford now has a 1-4 River Valley League record as they gave previews of "coming attractions" last weekend. Leading the scoring parade for the team was Amanda Auriemma, who cashed in 11 points at the forward/center spot.
Starting for the Lions before a rowdy crowd at Parker were Jennifer Hill, Nicole Harrison (six big points), Brittany Rosa, Jillian Bottari and Mia Vecchione. Auriemma scored 9 of the 11 Chelmsford first half points as they built an 11-8 lead.
Rachel Hanna played a terrific game at center, scoring 6 points. She was joined by Kelly Bungard, Auriemma, Sam Trullo and Abby Desrosiers at the 11:33 mark as the early score was 2-0 Reading in a defensive struggle.
The speedy Auriemma got the Lions roaring (with a nice feed from guard Desrosiers) at 10:22 with the first of her 9 first half points. A free throw and another lay-up pushed the lead up to 5-2.
Madison Dallmeyer (4 points) scored and Libby Mercuri put the pressure on defensively as the lead rose to 7-2. Vocal cords were strained in the crowd as Chelmsford dominated the red and white clad Reading squad. The action continued at a dizzying pace as Hanna played tall in the paint and the buzzer ended with the Lady Lions leading 11-8.
Reading went on a 8-0 run to start the second half and it was suddenly 16-11, Reading. Harrison started the comeback with an aggressive rebound and short jumper. Hanna poured in 6 crucial points and the Lady Lions sported a 21-16 lead with 10:17 left. Harrison capped the 8-0 Chelmsford run with a lay-up: Lions 23, Reading 16.
Bungard rebounded and tie-up traffic in the paint as the noisy crowd continued to roar. Bottari played solid “D” as the team pressured Reading into turnovers. Then "cruise control" continued while Rosa scored 4 straight points and the scoreboard read 29-20 Chelmsford with 3:43 left. Desrosiers continued her intelligent play with a jumper and Dallmayer scored last to make the final 33-22, Lions.
Vecchione, Hill, Harrison and Auriemma scored early and often versus a tall but weak-shooting Wilmington team on Saturday on the road. Chelmsford built up a 10-4 lead - which Wilmington tied. Fouls were called on the Lions frequently and Wilmington scored the final 5 points in a 15-10 loss for the Lady Lions as their shooting hands fell cold in the second half.
Chelmsford Youth Basketball League Grade 8B Girls
Chelmsford Youth Basketball League 8B girls lost a tough one to Wilmington, 25-14.
The Chelmsford CYBL 8B girls travel team played at Wilmington this past Sunday and lost a tough, hard-fought game 25-14. Wilmington started off the scoring briskly and led 5-0 before Amy Sennott cut the lead to 5-2. The Wilmington girls built up the lead to 11-2 with Chelmsford unable to net any points. Sennott sank in a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 11-5. The Lady Lions played very aggressively on defense for the rest of the half with good rebounding by Taylor West, Jessie Eichel, Shruthi Srinivas and Amanda Marcotte. However, the Lady Lions were unable to translate this good defensive effort and several turnovers forced by the guards Nicole Riccardi, Ashley Hooton and Kimberly Der into any points and they went into halftime trailing 11-5.
The first couple of minutes of the second half were a repeat of the first, with the Wilmington girls easily sinking in baskets to boost their lead to 18-5. Chelmsford switched to a full court press at this point and while this netted an easy 2 points initially for Wilmington, the additional pressure did get to them eventually, forcing several turnovers. Brittany DeCicco scored on an assist from Sennott to cut the lead to 21-7. Der stole the ball and passed the ball to Srinivas who was fouled and sank in one of her free throws to make it 21-8. The Wilmington girls were soon in foul trouble and the Lady Lions found themselves on the foul line often but unfortunately, scored on less than 50% of their shots. With 3:10 left on the clock, Marcotte nailed her free throws to make it 25-10 and a good basket on a rebound from West cut the lead further to 25-12. DeCicco and Eichel also took their turns on the foul line, making 2 of 4 possible shots. The Lady Lions have been hampered by the loss of their center Jackie Donovan to injury, but this game was one of their best efforts in the past couple of weeks, ratcheting up the intensity and applying pressure defensively.
Chelmsford Youth Basketball League Grade 7 Girls
The CYBL girl’s seventh grade travel team came within two seconds of a perfect week. A 12-footer just before the buzzer resulted in a one-point loss to Methuen on Wednesday, but perhaps motivated the girls to a blistering 30-point win over Amesbury on Friday. To cap the week, Chelmsford battled RV League power Salem, NH to a one-point overtime victory on Sunday.
The Methuen game was a rematch of a pre-season tournament loss. With both teams playing aggressive defense, the game was low-scoring and evenly matched for the first twelve minutes. Then, just before halftime, Methuen went on an 8-0 run to take an 8-point lead at the break. The second half started with more of the same with Methuen moving out to an 11-point advantage. As they’ve done before, Chelmsford switched from a man-to-man to a 2-3 zone and the momentum began to turn. Hoops by Clancy Taylor, Alena Breton and Jackie Pisecco cut the lead to five. Another hoop by Taylor and two by Jennifer Janiak gave Chelmsford the lead with three minutes to play. The teams swapped baskets and with twenty seconds left, Methuen had the ball trailing by one. Despite a frantic defensive effort, a Methuen guard broke free and drained a clear shot just before the buzzer sounded, giving Methuen a 26-25 win.
Two days later, the girls came out on the floor at McCarthy and took their frustrations out on an overmatched team from Amesbury. Led by Shelagh Brice, Chelmsford opened the game with a 9-0 run, allowed a single hoop, then ran off another thirteen straight points. By halftime, Chelmsford led 24-10. The offense continued to run smoothly in the second half led by Breton, who finished with eleven points for the game. But it was the defense that was truly outstanding. Led by the aggressive perimeter play of Katie Guay and Emily Louis, Chelmsford held Amesbury scoreless for virtually the entire second half. An Amesbury score with twelve seconds left in the game made the final 44-12.
The Sunday afternoon game in Salem, NH proved to be the most exciting of the week. Both teams opened with tight man-to-man pressure defenses with neither team gaining the upper hand. After five lead changes and three ties, the half ended deadlocked at fourteen all. Chelmsford’s offense was balanced with six girls scoring. On the defensive side, Juliana Mathews and Kendra Czernicki controlled the boards with ten rebounds between them. Chelmsford tried to break the game open early in the second half with seven straight points led by Abby Johnson’s two driving lay-ups, but Salem immediately answered with an 8-point run of their own. The play continued to be aggressive with Salem picking up eleven personal fouls, but despite the free throw opportunities and the continued strong board work by Mathews and Czernicki with nine and six rebounds respectively, Chelmsford was unable to score consistently. Two hoops after offensive rebounds by Czernicki put Chelmsford up by three, but a 3-pointer by Salem knotted the score at twenty-seven with less than three minutes to go. Trailing by one with eighteen seconds left, Janelle Levesque made a clutch foul shot to even the game for the fifth time and force an overtime period. In the extra session, two free throws by Johnson put Chelmsford ahead early, but Salem quickly tied. A driving lay-up by Taylor was matched by a Salem hoop with twenty seconds left and a second overtime loomed ahead. Going for the potential game-winner, Breton was fouled with eight seconds left and calmly dropped in one of the two free throws. The defense didn’t allow Salem a final shot, allowing Chelmsford to claim the overtime victory 34-33.
Chelmsford Youth Basketball League Grade 5 Girls
Talent, patience and experience is the magic formula for the grade 5 Lady Lions as they march on in River Valley League play. Losing a "squeaker" to Pelham, N.H. last Friday, 28-25, proved that the girls have the first two ingredients in abundance - they just need to keep playing and gain the crucial third piece of the puzzle. While their league record dropped to 0-3, the Lady Lions hosted their first game and almost won it.
Starting for Chelmsford was Jennifer Hill, Brittany Rosa, Nicole Harrison, Jillian Bottari and Libby Mercuri. The blue and gold clad Pelham team jumped out to a 2-0 lead and Hill scored the first Lion points on a free throw. Playing a press defense was effective and Mercuri made a nice steal.
The Lady Lions ran their offensive plays well. Amanda Auriemma, Kelly Bungard, Samantha Trullo, Abby Desrosiers and Rachel Hanna entered the game with 12:02 left in the half. Hanna made a defensive gem-like steal and Auriemma hit a long jumper to make the score 4-3, Pelham. She scored another bucket and the Lions had their first lead at 5-4.
The see-saw battle continued as Mia Vecchione and Madison Dallmeyer played great D. The Lady Lions regained the lead with a Mercuri layup and a Hanna long bomb at 11-8 with 2:29 left in the half. Chelmsford racked up a lot of fouls playing defense and Pelham scored the final six points to make it 15-11, Pelham at the half.
Auriemma scored her fifth and sixth points and Hill and Desrosiers scored to close Chelmsford within two at 17-19. A Hanna-to-Bungard-to-Dallmeyer relay tied the score at 19-19. Dallmeyer was hot and scored four more points to tie it up at 23-23 with 3:03 left. Unfortunately, Pelham scored 5 unanswered points to lead 28-23. Nicole Harrison scored another athletic basket to end the game. The Lady Lions will gain additional experience versus Division One opponents as the holidays approach.