(Boxford) Plenty of denial defense was on display as North Andover defeated Masconomet, 55-48, at Masco on Friday night in Cape Ann League play.
A full house was on hand, partly to honor Masco’s three seniors, and partly to see if their Chieftains could grab a share (with Wilmington) of the CAL Division 1 title. Well, one out of two, ain’t bad!
With the victory, North Andover (15-4) will have a chance to be co-champs with Wilmington if they can get by Hamilton-Wenham in a rescheduled game at home on Monday. HW coach Doug Hoak was in the house for the Masco/North Andover contest.
Derek Collins (16 points) hit a couple of three’s early in the 4th quarter to give the Knights a 47-41 lead with 4:45 to go and Masco (11-7) was kept at least one possession away thereafter.
An Adam Bramanti (13 points) layup with seventeen seconds left narrowed things to 51-48 but two free throws by Colby Smith gave the Knights the cushion they needed for the win.
Normal Knight high scorers (Zach Karalis and Derek Collins) were on the “two” end of Masco’s triangle-and-two defense.
It worked against Zach as he was limited to seven points. Derek, however, reached his average and hit from long range three times. One of those 3’s in the 4th quarter was a real backbreaker (for Masco). Derek ended up forcing a shot from closer to midcourt than the top of the key that went in as the shot-clock buzzer went off.
Adam Bramanti averages twenty but was held to thirteen. He was shadowed by an assortment of Knights. NA did not allow him to use screens to get open by switching every time one was set for him.
Adam got off twenty shots (made five) but the looks he had against Hamilton-Wenham (scoring 28 points) were not available versus North Andover.
There were nine lead changes in the first half with NA getting the last one with a run of six straight points (Zach, Derek, and James Warden two points each) as the Knights closed out the first half in front, 30-25.
The Knights never trailed in the second half. The Chieftains did tie the score (38-38) on a layup by Alex Brown (11 points) to start the final period.
James Warden (16 points) and Michael Moroney (8 points) found opening for baskets against Masco’s 3-man zone defense especially in the first half.
Masco’s student section was out in force. They did make the mistake of chanting, “We can’t hear you,” in the direction of NA players from the JV game. Sporting a lead late, the players responded with the obvious, “Scoreboard, scoreboard,” which silenced the Masco kids. Memo: Chanting, “We can’t hear you,” works best when your team is AHEAD.
Masco is on a 4-game losing streak and has two non-league games (Revere and Malden Catholic) at home next week left on their regular season schedule.
NA had lost two in a row before defeating Masco. The Knights also won over Masco in December. They have Hamilton-Wenham left.