McNamara family leading Pentucket girls

One of the most important relationships a girl will have in her lifetime is with her father.

Whether it be attending father-daughter dances, buying her first prom dress, or walking down the aisle, there are a few special moments in a girl’s life that cannot be replaced, but saved for her father.

For Pentucket coach, John McNamara, and sophomore Kelsi McNamara, many of their memorable moments are shared on the basketball court.

When McNamara took over the Pentucket coaching job in 2006, one of the first tasks he faced was coaching his eldest daughter, Erin. Now in his seventh season and fresh off a Division 3 championship, he is trying to coach Kelsi to a championship.


“This is my second daughter I have coached, so I’ve learned a few things from it.’’

One of the main challenges is being able to separate their child-parent relationship on the hardwood. But for McNamara, he treats his daughter a little tougher than most.

“I’m harder on my daughter than the other players,’’ McNamara said. “She has to understand that I’m not her father at practice and she has to treat me like a coach.’’

McNamara is no stranger to having a parent coaching her. Growing up with parents who know about basketball has allowed her to get experience the parent-child coaching experience before high school.

“Sometimes he would coach me in AAU, but mainly it was my mom who coached me,’’ Kelsi said.

While this is McNamara’s second time coaching his child, when it comes to his youngest daughter, he still faces some difficulty as his daughter tries to adapt.

“It is hard when he’s trying to give me advice but i think about it that he’s just my father and he’s just trying to help me, but the four seniors help me understand that he’s just trying to help me.’’


Despite some minor problems, basketball has bought the McNamaras closer.

“It has been a great experience coaching my older daughter and now my younger daughter,’’ John said. “It has given me an opportunity to be a bigger part of her high school experience’’

“I feel like I’m very close with my dad. He’ll always help me with everything in my life and basketball plays a very important role in our life,’’ Kelsi said.

The Sachems (10-0) are off to their best season start since the 2009-’10 season where they went undefeated up until the state tournament, where they saw their championship hopes end. But motivated by last year’s state championships and their senior leaders, the girls are prepared to go out and fight for another crown.

“Our seniors have been playing for so long and they really want their season to be the best so they push us to win every game and we have done that so far.’’

Games of the week

No.14 Ipswich at No.7 Pentucket, Tue., 6:30 p.m. — Both teams remain undefeated. The Tigers will have to be patient on offense and limit turnovers against Pentucket’s intense defense.

No.20 North Andover at No.14 Andover, Fri., 7 p.m. – This game has the potential to be another Merrimack Valley thriller. The Golden Warriors will have to contain Morgan Lamb, who had 14 points and dished out six assists against Lowell Friday.

No.1 Braintree vs Springfield (Oregon), Fri, 6 p.m. – The Lady Wamps, who are playing in their first Springfield Hoops Hall Classic, will have to contain one of the countries best players in Mercedes Russell. The 6-2 forward, who is drawing interest from Division 1 schools, is a vicious rebounder and great scorer.

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