(North Andover MA) Isaiah McLeod (35 points) had a dazzling first half and set Cambridge Rindge & Latin up for a 78-62 D1 North semifinal win over Andover on Wednesday night at North Andover High School.
The Falcons (20-2) now meet St. John’s Prep at the Tsongas Center on Saturday (7:45PM) for the D1 North title.
Senior Isaiah McLeod had a first half (25 points) in which shots from everywhere were dropping. Layups, jump shots, 3-pointers, and foul shots, you name it, he hurt the Warriors from them all.
The Falcons never trailed. The Warriors (17-6) were only down 8-6 after an EJ Perry old-fashioned 3-point play after less than two minutes.
Isaiah, however, took over the next 2 ½ minutes as Cambridge ran thirteen unanswered points. Isaiah had ten of them including two 3’s. Now down fifteen (21-6) the Warriors unsuccessfully played catch-up the rest of the way.
Andover was down but the out part took a little more doing for the Falcons.
Cambridge was up by twenty (40-20) with less than two minutes left in the second half but three’s by David Giribaldi and Jonathan Rodriguez plus a Connor Merinder layup narrowed the Andover deficit to twelve (40-28) at halftime.
Seniors David Garibaldi (19 points) and Connor Merinder (22 points) caught fire together in the third quarter and suddenly Andover was within six (44-38) with 2+ minutes left in the quarter.
But that Andover momentum came to a stop as Demitrius Woodson (just off the bench) drained a three from the right corner on an inbounds play.
On Cambridge’s next possession Tevin Charles duplicated the three-spot from the other corner. Tevin had all fifteen of his points in the second half. Back down by twelve went Andover.
The Warriors would get within eight a couple of times early in the final quarter but the combo of fatigue and persistent Cambridge offense never let them get closer. The nail in the coffin was at 2 ½ minute mark when Andover senior inside presence Connor Merinder fouled out.
The Falcons ended up with eight 3-pointers including five in the breakaway first quarter.
I don’t know how many three’s Andover took but there were plenty of them. Their long-range insistence turned costly in the first half as their inaccuracy allowed Cambridge to build up a big lead.
Connor Merinder showed a nice baby hook inside that Cambridge struggled to defend.
Isaiah McLeod is committed to Southern Connecticut State in New Haven. When a good player like Isaiah has it going from anywhere he chooses there isn’t a defense that can stop him. Andover ran a bunch of players at him but nothing worked in the first half. St. John’s better have something prepared for #1 or they’ll be in serious trouble at the Tsongas Center on Saturday.
Cambridge coach Lance Dottin won his 300th game in December.
The Falcons two losses have been to out-of-state teams – Albany Academy and Archbishop Molloy.
Cambridge is in the Dual County (Large) League. Andover hails from the Merrimack Valley Conference.
Where does the “Rindge” part of Cambridge Rindge and Latin come from? Generous Frederich Hastings Rindge was connected to the school in the late 1800’s.
No sign of Cambridge alum Mayor Bill DeBlasio of NYC at the game.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)