(Newburyport MA) Newburyport continues to roll along.
The Clippers (11-0) are now just one win away from a perfect season after taking out Triton, 69-45, on Wednesday night in the semi-finals of the Kinney Tournament.
“They’re a really good team,” said Triton coach Ted Schruender afterwards.
Hard to argue.
The Clippers were unselfish on offense and relentless on defense.
That combination made it a tough night for the Vikings (3-8).
“Newburyport plays great pressure defense,” added Coach Schruender. “They’re physical and they overplay. You have to take advantage with backdoors and by attacking the rim.”
Newburyport had a 15-point win (63-48) against Triton on February 3rd at Newburyport. In that game, Jake Robertson had twenty points including six 3’s. Also, in that game, the Clippers gained separation with a 24-point second quarter.
In tonight’s game, Jake again had twenty points but “only” five 3’s. Separation in this one? The Clippers, led by Max Gagnon, had a 24-point third quarter.
The struggle for Triton was trying to get open shots. The Clippers were man-to-man in the first half and had active zone pressure in the second half. Both were very effective in limiting second chances and clear paths to the basket.
“We were at them right away,” explained senior Trevor Ward. “Our defense gave us the advantage tonight.”
Trevor had two layups in a nine-point Clipper run in the first quarter that pushed them ahead, 12-4.
An eight-point run, including two Jake Robertson 3’s gave the home team a, 20-11, lead in the second quarter.
The game got away from Triton in the big Newburyport third quarter.
Junior Max Gagnon (13 points) had a stretch of terrific offense during that quarter. First, he hit a three (from Jack Fehlner). Then he went full-court on a rebound. Next, Max had a steal that he took in for a layup. Not bad for a minute’s worth of work!
That surge of offense gave Newburyport a, 48-29, lead with four minutes left in that third quarter. Triton didn’t have the weapons on this night to recover.
“I was feeling it tonight,” said Max post-game. “To see it go in gives me confidence. I have put in a lot of work on my shooting and we do plenty of shooting in practice.”
Part of the success Newburyport had on defense was keeping track of Triton’s Dylan Wilkinson.
“He can shoot and he can get hot,” said Newburyport coach Dave Clay. “We were keying on him. We wanted to mark him every time he stepped over halfcourt.”
Dylan was limited to twelve points and had Triton’s lone 3-point basket.
The Newburyport offense was spread. They had thirteen 3’s and thirteen 2-point shots.
Their passing was excellent. Most of their outside shots were open looks after several passes.
The second-half point separation gave both coaches opportunities to use everyone in uniform.
“I enjoyed watching the progress of the players who haven’t been getting a lot of minutes,” said Coach Clay. “They’ve played against very good players in practice and it’s helped them grow.”
Part of Coach Clay’s concern over Dylan Wilkinson was over the fact that in Newburyport’s last two games, individual players Kyle Beal (Rockport) and Cam Keliher (Amesbury) had big games versus the Clippers. I watched Cam put up a remarkable 44 points and nearly lead Amesbury to a huge upset.
Triton has now lost twelve straight to Newburyport (by my count). Last win for the Vikings was in 2015 when Dave Clay was coaching at Triton.
Ten players scored for Newburyport.
Coach Schruender: “We got outplayed by a very good team. However, I don’t question the heart of our team. It was a tough win-lose season but that doesn’t change the fact that I had a great group of seniors that I’ll miss a lot.”
The link to this game will be posted on Twitter (mcclellandpeter). It also should be posted on Mascores. Pictures from the game will be posted on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea) in a day or so.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)