(Newburyport MA) It was the biggest play of Triton’s season.
Trailing by a point, Triton’s Luke Reiniger intercepted a pass and turned the turnover into a go-ahead, two-points for the Vikings with twelve seconds left.
Luke’s basket turned out to be the game-winner in Triton’s 50-49 win over Newburyport on a frigid Friday night of Cape Ann League action.
Before the Vikings’ celebrating could begin, however, they had to survive the final twelve seconds. Anyone familiar with Newburyport’s team was reasonably certain that junior Dan Baribeault (16 points) would be taking the final shot. And it looked like he would as he dribbled across mid-court. But Triton had at least three defenders thinking the same thing so Dan passed the ball to teammate Jake Barlow and set a screen. Jake’s defender (Kevin Clark) was screened by Danny and Jake took a dribble to his left and had a good look at a possible game-winner for the Clippers. The shot missed and the Vikings’ Nick Venora secured the rebound with 1.1 seconds left and was fouled. Nick missed the first shot unintentionally and the second one intentionally and Newburyport was denied a final shot.
The Triton team then began celebrating and the Vikings fans came out and joined them. Why all the celebrating? Triton (8-10) had lost four straight and another loss would have kept them from getting to the post-season tournament. They will need to win their last two games.
The Vikings remain alive while Newburyport (7-10), with only two games left, can no longer get the ten wins they need to qualify for the post-season.
This game had four lead changes in the first quarter and three more in the final quarter.
Triton led 10-9 thanks to two Nick Venora 3-pointers but the Clippers found their offense in the second quarter making five free throws and getting contributions from five different players.
Newburyport’s halftime lead was 29-17 and I sensed that Triton was in serious trouble. Scoring was the issue. Ellsworth Rogers (concussion) wasn’t playing. Cam Armand (ankle) was trying to play but was limping. Corey Parsons, defended by Dan Baribeault, had only two points.
The difference in the second half? Corey Parsons (19 points) caught fire. The Triton senior drained four 3’s in the second half including two in the last 1 ½ minutes of the game.
The first of the two late 3’s went in off the backboard and put the Vikings ahead, 45-44, with ninety seconds left.
That lead was far from safe with all that time left. Triton had given up three 3’s on Tuesday night to Pentucket in the last minute of that stunning loss.
It wasn’t the 3’s this time, it was the turnovers. Two straight Triton backcourt turnovers (steals Mike Shay) led directly to layups by Jake Berger (12 points) and a 49-45 NHS lead. Jake was fouled on the first turnover/two and made the free throw.
After a Triton miss, Dan Baribeault was fouled with forty-three seconds left. Dan didn’t make the front end of the one-and-one but Triton still needed five points to win.
If folks thought Dan Baribeault would get to take the big shot for Newburyport, you certainly figured that Corey Parsons would soon be trying a 3-point shot for Triton. Sure enough, Corey came off a screen, cashed a 3-pointer pulling Triton within one point, 49-48, with twenty-six seconds remaining.
Shortly thereafter came Luke Reiniger’s steal and score and Triton was able to keep their post-season hopes alive for one more game.
It was Senior Day for Newburyport. They have seven seniors on their roster.
Terrific crowd on hand. The way this one went back and forth early and late made for plenty of excitement.
The Vikings won despite missing thirteen free throws (11-for-24).
Triton made seven three’s.
Junior Eric Rybicki had seven points for the Vikings in the second half including a three.
Triton had seventeen turnovers while Newburyport had thirteen.
(For Triton I had Eric Rybicki (7), Luke Reiniger (5), Khalil Brito (2), Nick Venora (9), Conor Henry (4), Corey Parsons (19), Will Parsons (2), Cam Armand (2))
(For Newburyport I had Nick Rogers (2), Mike Shay (11), Jake Berger (12), Liam Hundertmark (8), Will Cataldo (2), Dan Baribeault 16))
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)