(Byfield) What a game!
Senior Paul Dacy hit two 3’s in the final thirty-five seconds enabling Triton (4-2) to edge Masconomet, 46-45, before an excited home crowd on Friday night.
That crowd rushed the floor when Paul’s final shot went in and the buzzer sounded.
The Chieftains (1-6) led by seven (41-34) with four minutes left but four turnovers the rest of the way had plenty to do with the bad ending for them. Two of the turnovers led directly to Viking layups by Zak Alaoui (20 points) and Sam McKenzie (4 points).
Another Masco miscue gave Triton the ball with one minute left. Trailing by three (43-40), the Vikings passed and passed and, with few seconds on the shot clock, Paul Dacy was forced into a fall-away three. The shot caromed off the backboard and in tying the score with thirty-five seconds left.
No timeout by Masco. Point guard Jalen Aho controlled the ball throughout the Masco possession. He dribbled one way and then the other looking to be intent on passing to anyone. However, when the lane opened up the junior sailed in for a layup with 10.9 seconds left.
Triton took a timeout. Coach Dave Clay said afterwards that the plan was to get to the basket. Trailing by two it made sense. But the Masco defense was tough. Zak Alaoui attempted to drive from the left but the Chieftain defense collapsed to prevent it. However, by preventing Zak from penetrating they gave him a chance to get the ball to Paul Dacy in the nearby corner. Paul had a split second to let the shot fly from in front of the Triton student section. He also had defender Brian Reardon running at him but it didn’t matter as he canned the game-winner.
Why all the excitement at Triton? The Vikings are coming off a 5-15 season and already have four wins in 2012-13. An energetic student section is in place. They stood throughout the game offering plenty of encouragement before swarming the court after the final buzzer.
I chose to cover this game for two reasons: (1) to take a look at the suddenly successful Triton Vikings and see how they’re doing it, and (2) try to figure out what has gone wrong with a Masconomet team that was 14-7 in 2011-12.
The answer to the first is that this season’s Vikings play tight defense and are eager to run with turnovers. They also can make shots from long range.
The answer to the second was not as clear with just one look. I never saw Captain Chris Schleer. He certainly would have made a difference. It was obvious that Masco made far too many mistakes. I had them for twenty-four turnovers including eight in the final quarter.
After Paul Dacy (11 points), the two standouts in this game were Triton’s Zak Alaoui and Masco’s Zach Turcotte. Both players had twenty points. Zak had a couple of three’s but most of his scoring came from breakaway layups set up by good defense. 6-6 Zach dominated the inside doing all of his scoring from in close.
Triton had a four-point lead (13-9) early in the second quarter but later on Masco got ahead on two inside scores by Tighe Van Lenten (7 points) and Ben Hinckley. A three from the right corner by Zak Alaoui set up the halftime score at 18-18.
Masco led for most of the third quarter before three’s by Connor Barry (9 points) and Zak (off the rim and backboard) knotted things at 30-30.
Over the next 5+ minutes of playing time, stretching into the fourth quarter, the Chieftains put an 11-4 run together. Two of the scores were on converted rebounds (Alberto Arenaza and Zach Turcotte). Brian Reardon drained a three as the visitors looked to be pulling away.
But over the final four minutes, despite being down 41-34, the Vikings rallied and won a thriller at the buzzer.
Triton, now 3-1 in the Cape Ann League, visits North Reading on Monday night. On the same night, Masco, now 0-4 in the CAL, will host Newburyport. Coach L’Italien was on hand for the Triton/Masco game.
(All the pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)