(Amesbury) North Reading (9-4) finished its sweep of Amesbury with a 68-51 victory on Friday night at Amesbury. They had won earlier in January at North Reading, 69-48.
The Indians (1-13) were coming off their first win Monday (vs Danvers) but after a competitive first period fell into a double-digit deficit in the second period (22-11). Hornet’s senior Jeffrey Tyner (6’5”) did most of the damage in an 11-2 run with seven points on two baskets from in close and three free throws.
Amesbury’s lack of size (tallest player 6’3” Tyler Lay) and depth had them playing zone most of the night. The Hornets attacked the zone with passing and patience and turned up plenty of high percentage shots ( 26-for-56 ) many after penetration.
Another unanswered run, this time of eight straight, ballooned the NR advantage, to 36-16, one minute into the second half. It seemed like a good time to suspect that the rout was on but the home team had other ideas.
Fast forward ahead to just 2:46 left in the game and the Hornet lead had been trimmed to 56-48. What happened? NR certainly helped by misfiring on free throws (11-for-26 for the game) and three point shots (4-for-15 for the game). On the other side, the electric Stephan Deas and co-captain Tyler Lay generated some offense.
Stephan, who poured in a game-high 27 points, contributed fourteen of them during the Indian rally. The 5’5” sophomore used his quickness to get open and seldom missed when he got there. NR used an assortment of defenses during the game to try to neutralize him. The best matchup to watch was the Hornet’s Bobby Rosano defending him one-on-one.
Tyler nailed a couple of jumpers in a row (he had eight points during the rally) and that had NR head coach Joe Casey burning a timeout to try and ice the Indian attack.
Unfortunately, for Thom Connor’s squad, North Reading turned up twelve points on their next six possessions and Amesbury only three on a very late long one by Stephan. A converted miss started the downfall, followed by a turnover that turned into a layup. Four quick points and the Indians were toast.
Captain PJ Dionne (20 points) and junior Nick Rosano (16 points) paced NR’s scoring. Both of them were quick enough to find openings in the Amesbury zone especially during the second half when they each had eleven points.