(Newburyport MA) A year ago, in the same gym and on the same date, the Clippers led Lynn Tech 30-5 at halftime and won easily, 70-36.
Believe me, that was then.
Tonight, the Lynn Tigers did everything but win versus the same Clippers.
The final was 67-63 and there was little to choose between the two teams in this first-round battle in Division 3 North.
Both teams were 13-7 coming in and it took a coin toss to determine where this game would be held.
How close was the game itself? How about seven ties. How about TWENTY-FOUR lead changes! There were at least five lead changes in every quarter.
Both teams had high-scoring weapons. Casey McLaren (30 points) and his brother Parker (17 points) paced Newburyport while Robert Wallace (25 points) and Belmin Berilo (22 points) led the Tigers.
The last tie was 63-63 with 2:22 left in the game.
The Clippers pulled in front, 65-63, on a George Coryell layup set up by Parker McLaren. After an empty LT possession, Casey McLaren nailed a jump shot from the foul line area with 1:27 to go that sealed this one for the home team.
No doubt Lynn Tech was exhausted down the stretch. In the final minute the Clippers ate the clock on two different occasions with LT unable to foul to stop the clock.
“Casey played terrific,” said Coach Dave Clay afterwards. “He has incredible instincts for the game.”
Casey had six three’s, getting at least one in each quarter.
His top crowd-pleasing moment? A steal in the final quarter that he turned into the only dunk of the game.
Plenty of defense played by both squads.
“We needed to get the ball to the middle of the court and then look opposite,” explained Coach Clay on how to handle the press. “However, Lynn Tech was so well-coached that it was hard to do.”
The Clippers (14-7) will next face top-seed St. Mary’s on Thursday.
Newburyport led 21-20 after one quarter. Lynn Tech led 35-34 after two quarters. Newburyport led 53-52 after three quarters. There just was no true separation!
LT coach Stevie Patrick took his team to the locker room after the game without having his team participate in the normal post-game hand shaking. I’m not sure what that was about.
The Clippers had been 3-4 in February before tonight’s win.
Lynn Tech was 7-14 last season. You talk about improvement!
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge when you click on them.)