(Newburyport) Shorthanded Watertown got into a deep rut in the first half and never recovered bowing to Newburyport, 56-42, on a snowy/slippery Thursday night at NHS.
The win gets the Clippers (15-6) into the quarterfinals at home against #5 seed Arlington Catholic Sunday night at 5PM.
The #13 Raiders (6-15) were without Pat McHugh. Pat injured his ankle in practice two days ago. He had thirty-two points in Watertown’s opening win of the season. Significant loss…..you bet!
The Clippers were well rested (hadn’t played in nearly two weeks) and played nearly flawlessly on both ends of the court for the first half. Newburyport ran their lead to, 34-14, by halftime and the visitors would never get inside ten points the rest of the way.
Ian Michaels (23 points) had it going early with the Clippers first eight points. The junior guard had fourteen in the decisive first half.
Newburyport from the Cape Ann League ran some of basketball’s basic plays (backdoor cuts, pick-and-roll) to perfection. “Sharp” is the best way I can describe their execution.
Without Pat McHugh to score some points on the inside, Watertown from the Middlesex League tried to compete via the long ball. They ended up hitting seven of them but on this night Newburyport had answers.
Watertown’s best burst of offense was by Kevin DiPietrantonio (12 points) who connected on eight straight points with a layup and two triples. Kevin’s scoring brought the Raiders to, 47-33, 1 ½ minutes into the final period. But Newburyport answered with an Alex Losh layup on an inbounds play and an AJ MacDougall layin.
The Raiders cut the lead to ten (51-41) late but the early deficit was too much to overcome.
Brett Fontaine of Newburyport went down with an ankle injury in the third period and didn’t return.
Cesar Fulcar led the Raider scorers with sixteen points.
Colby Morris had four assists in the Clipper first half.
Watertown had seven turnovers in the second quarter and that combined with looking for scoring to replace Pat McHugh hurt them significantly.
The win avenges a loss Watertown handed Newburyport (55-31) in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Arena last year.
The road conditions after the game were scary/dangerous. I couldn’t get my truck with studded tires up my driveway despite four or five attempts. Driving back to Watertown had to have been an “adventure” for the Raider fans.
(The pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)