(Byfield MA) North Reading (15-1) withstood Triton’s 30-point final quarter in edging the Vikings, 79-75, on Tuesday night in Cape Ann League action.
The Hornets had a sixteen-point lead (63-47) one minute into the final quarter and had just put twenty-four points together in the third quarter. Their lead looked comfortable.
But less than two minutes later Adam Baletsa (17 points) put new meaning to the word “hot” when it comes to shooting. The Vikings senior drained four 3’s during this sizzling segment. Combined with teammate Will Parsons, who had a three of his own, Triton long-shot its way to trailing only 64-62.
Four different times the rest of the way Triton was within two. In the last minute the home team was within one (74-73) and had the ball but on this night the shot to tie, or go ahead, never clicked.
Key player for North Reading? Easily it was senior Adam Goldstein (28 points). He was huge in the last minute. Clinging to a one-point lead in that final minute the Hornets passed around the perimeter before Justin Dorosh set up Adam for a straightaway long one. Swish! Now up by four. Eric Rybicki got in for a layup and Triton was within two points with fifteen seconds left. Adam was quickly fouled and calmly sank both free throws and the lead was back to four. Triton missed two shots on their final possession and NR had the win.
Tough loss for the Vikings (8-9). They have now dropped five of their last six.
They will get another chance against North Reading in two weeks at North Reading.
The steady flow of accurate 3-pointers at the start of the final quarter was followed by a run of points (eleven) by hard-driving John McCarthy (19 points). With North Reading limiting space to Triton’s 3-point threats on the perimeter, room opened up for John. He was either fouled or made a layup in possession after possession to keep Triton within range of the lead down the stretch.
Both defenses applied plenty of pressure but the turnovers (14 for Triton, 12 for North Reading) offset each other.
NR caught Triton not getting back on defense a number of times for easy shots. There also were several instances where the Hornets had wide open 3-pointers. Two of Adam Goldstein’s three’s were uncontested. That is what you call living dangerously on defense!
I am not a big fan of the 3-point shot but after seeing the way Triton used it to stay with the top team in the CAL I better understand why coaches encourage it.
Adam Goldstein not only scored 28 points but he also rebounded well and blocked several shots.
Not playing for NR was Anthony Eldridge. The junior dislocated his shoulder in January.
The Hornets took the lead for good in the second period. The visitors broke away from a 26-26 tie as Adam Goldstein scored nine unanswered points: a free throw, a layup, and two 3-pointers.
The NR lead reached eighteen (58-40) in the last two minutes of the third quarter.
In the midst of a timeout late in the game after Triton moved to within one possession of the lead, NR coach Joe Casey was heard to say, “You’re the best team in the league, settle in and play like it.”
North Reading won 60-56 at Triton a year ago.
The Hornets only loss this season has been to Masco. The Chieftains took them to overtime in their first meeting.
The last time I saw a North Reading team play was in the Division 3 North girls soccer finals against Bishop Fenwick at Manning Field in Lynn. Happy day for the NR girls.
Next game for Triton is Thursday at Pentucket. North Reading hosts one of their biggest rivals (Lynnfield) on the same evening.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)