(Byfield MA) “I was afraid that they might call a foul, but I got all ball.”
That was how freshman Will Wertz explained it after his last-second block preserved Ipswich’s, 53-52, win over the Triton on Friday night.
Despite the loss, Triton coach Ted Schruender wasn’t totally surprised by the way things went. “You had two evenly matched teams so it could have gone either way. We were hot and then they were hot.”
There were nine lead changes early into the second half.
Then the Vikings, led by Dylan Wilkinson and Kyle Odoy (16 points) turned up the heat defensively (four Ipswich turnovers) and strung twelve straight points together in a 3 ½ minute segment of the third quarter.
The showcase performance sent the home team up, 36-26, with three minutes left in the third quarter.
Ipswich wasn’t done, however.
“We really showed resilience tonight,” explained Ipswich coach Alan Laroche. “We were down ten and didn’t stop believing that we could come back.”
And back the visitors came.
Triton’s, 42-32, lead vanished as Ipswich heated up. The Tigers (2-2) had three’s from Charlie Henderson and Aidan O’Flynn putting twelve straight points together and regained the lead, 44-42, with four minutes left.
Ipswich took a two-point lead with twenty seconds remaining in regulation (Ray Cuevas layup) but senior Kyle Odoy (16 points) had a tying layup with eight seconds left to force OT.
The Vikings built up a four-point lead in the first minute of overtime and still had that margin (52-48) in the last minute and had the ball.
Ipswich, however, did everything right in that last minute and pulled out the exciting win.
Charlie Henderson (14 points) started things for the Tigers in that pivotal last minute getting a steal and a layup. Then it was solid Ipswich team defense that forced a 5-second violation as Triton tried to inbounds the ball. Still trailing by two (52-50) Ipswich was able to get Ray Cuevas (13 points) a 3-point shot which he cashed to get the Tigers in front.
“Ray is a great player,” said Coach Laroche. “We try to get him as many looks as we can. Screens were set for him and he used them.”
“All game long I was struggling for downtown,” said Ray Cuevas afterwards. “You keep shooting and sooner or later they fall. I knew that last shot was going in.”
In it went and then Will Wertz’s block sealed it for the Tigers.
“Will didn’t shoot very well tonight but he came up big for us at the end,” said Coach Laroche.
Nikhil Walker excelled on defense and added eleven points for Ipswich.
Despite the loss Coach Schruender was optimistic: “These guys work hard and we’re going to get better. I’m just happy that we’re out here playing. We’re hoping for no interruptions in the future.”
This was the second overtime loss for the Vikings this week.
The link to this coverage will be on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter). I also expect to post pictures on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea). The story/pictures should appear on Mascores too.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)