(Newburyport) Ian Michaels drained a three with two seconds left to carry Newburyport past Hamilton-Wenham, 43-42, in a thriller on Monday night in Division 3 North First Round action.
The Clippers (14-7) will now face the winner of the Amesbury/Whittier game.
Ian’s exciting game-winner came ten seconds after Henry Eagar’s runner in the lane had given the Generals (10-9) a two-point lead and revved up the HW fans.
After a timeout the Clippers put the ball in Ian’s hands in the backcourt. The 5-11 senior crossed half court and looked as if he was going to use a high screen to go right (he’s a righty). At the last second, he used a crossover dribble to cut left and get separation from defender Nikos Lara. He then drilled the season-on-the-line long one.
James Foye launched a last-second heave from the backcourt that fell well short and Newburyport had the win.
This was a game when both teams had their very good moments and their very bad moments. The points came consecutively and both teams looked at various times like sure winners and sure losers.
Newburyport had point runs of eight, six and twelve. The Generals ran nine straight points and later ten plus a 9-1 segment after 3:44 of the final quarter.
Newburyport started fast (8-2) but by the end of the first quarter trailed, 11-8.
The HW lead was two (15-13) before the visitors put ten unanswered points up in less than six minutes during the second quarter. Surprisingly, sophomore James Foye (25 points) was not part of the scoring.
The damage was done by: Henry Eagar (3 free throws), a layup off a steal by Shawn Kotch, a jump shot by Nikos Lara, and a three by Ben Kozlowski. The Clippers had seven turnovers during the six minute dry spell.
That point barrage gave HW a 25-13 spread. A Matt Canning three closed the NBPT deficit to, 25-16, at the half.
The Generals still looked to be in good shape with a 31-20 advantage with 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.
But just when you thought the Clippers were cooked they started putting points up while HW couldn’t buy a basket.
Over the next 7:15 stretching into the fourth quarter, Newburyport sliced and diced the Generals to an 18-2 tune. Three assisted baskets by a cutting Colton Fontaine started the surge. The 6-1 senior added three free throws before three’s by Ian Michals, Dillon Guthro (old-fashioned), and Dan Baribeault had the Clippers looking unbeatable with four minutes left (38-33).
But James Foye (25 points) was still in the game. He nailed a three with 3:44 left and, after Ian Michaels missed the front end of a one-and-one, put in a layup to tie the score, 38-38, with 3:24 left.
James missed the free throw that went with the layup and HW turned the ball over the next two times they had it. In between the HW miscues Colton Fontaine (15 points) had yet another assisted layup (from Ian Michaels) and up went Newburyport (40-38) with two minutes left.
Now it was Newburyport’s turn to turn the ball over two straight possessions. James Foye hit a baseline jumper in between the turnovers with 49 seconds left to tie the score, 40-40.
The Generals would grab the lead after a steal by Henry Eagar. HW had a timeout and thirty-six seconds to use. I’m betting that everyone on hand figured that James Foye would get the shot out of the possession. But it didn’t work that way. Matt Canning kept James outside and as the clock ran down Dylan Guthro joined him. James spotted teammate Henry Eagar open in the lane. Henry got the pass and hit a runner with twelve seconds to go.
The HW crowd started celebrating just a bit early and left disappointed after Ian Michaels hit the 3-point, game-winner.
6-4 Dillon Guthro (9 points) challenged every HW layup attempt and blocked several shots including a couple taken by James Foye.
Ian Michaels and Henry Eagar both tallied eight points.
Newburyport finished with twenty-four turnovers by my count. HW had sixteen.
Good crowd on hand. Plenty of excitement for the partisans of both teams.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)