BEVERLY — Unfortunately for the many Ipswich fans that turned the fieldhouse at Beverly High into a sea of orange last night, the end result was not what they hoped for.
After breaking the all-time school record for most points scored in a season, the Tigers girls basketball team had their lowest point total of the season in a 46-26 loss to top seeded Pentucket in the Division 3 North semifinals.
Ipswich managed to hang tough until late in the third quarter, when the Sachems (23-1) began to pull away.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think we played our best game tonight,” said Ipswich (19-4) coach Mandy Carter-Zegarowski. “Offensively we couldn’t get it going, and turnovers killed us in the first half.
“(Pentucket) played great defense and we didn’t take care of the ball. Both teams were really good defensively, but this wasn’t a fun game to watch. I kept hoping for a run, but we’d score a basket and then they’d get one. We couldn’t get anything going.”
Both teams had off-shooting nights, and it quickly turned into a defensive battle. Despite 16 first half turnovers by the Tigers, Pentucket only led by three at intermission, 15-12.
The game was tied four different times. The Tigers came out strong to start the second half and went on an 8-2 run to pull ahead, 20-17, after Masey Zegarowski hit a 3-pointer. But just when it appeared Ipswich had momentum going, Pentucket answered with eight unanswered points to go up 25-20 and never trailed after that.
Sophomore Caroline Soucy (a team-high 8 points) hit one of her two treys to cut the deficit to three (27-24) late in the third quarter, but Pentucket scored the next five points to take an eight-point cushion into the final frame.
Sachems sophomore guard Kelsi McNamara (15 points) hit a bomb at the other end, and Nicole Viselli (13 points) made a pair of free throws.