(Byfield MA) “This was our best win of the season,” said Triton senior Quintin McHale.
The Vikings were 6-9 and had lost three of their last four games. Their tournament chances (need to win ten games) were fading.
But tonight they put everything together and got a well-played win over non-league Saugus, 66-53, on Wednesday night.
Quintin was impressive on offense and defense. He hurt the Sachems (6-8) inside and outside collecting thirty-one points. Defensively he limited the Sachems’ top scorer (Tyrone Manderson) to seven points.
The Vikings gained double-digit separation in the second quarter and never allowed the team from the Northeastern Conference to get closer.
Triton had a four-point lead (20-16) with five minutes left in the second quarter. Over the next three minutes, the Vikings shut out the Sachems and went on an 11-0 run.
The contributors in the separation segment were Dylan Wilkinson and Griff Dupuis with three’s, an old-fashioned 3-point play by Quintin, and a layup by Ethan Tate.
That collection of good defense and offense boosted the home team’s advantage to 31-16.
“We got off to a slow start,” said Saugus coach Joe Bertrand afterwards. “They made a lot of shots, and we couldn’t keep up with them tonight.” Saugus has now lost six straight.
The visitors outscored Triton by two points over the rest of the game but could never get inside of double figures.
The Vikings pushed their lead to twenty points (54-34) in the third quarter on a Nick Dupuis three-pointer.
However, Ben Tapia-Gately (17 points) and Ryan Mabee (11 points) helped Saugus reduce that 20-point deficit to closer to ten points after that.
“The ball movement tonight was really good,” said junior Ethan Tate (9 points). “Everyone was unselfish which I think was a key to the win.”
The Vikings handled pressure well because their passing was excellent.
“We shared the ball well,” said Triton coach Ted Schruender afterwards, “and we rebounded well.”
“Nick (Dupuis) had a very good game,” Coach Schruender added. “He’s not usually a scorer but he hustles and plays good defense.”
Tonight Nick handled the ball a lot without turnovers and scored some points. “Sometimes you do the little things,” Nick told me afterwards. “Tonight I had a chance to do bigger things. It felt good to contribute.”
“Our point guards did a nice job of moving the ball,” said Quintin.
“You never know how it’s going to go,” added Quintin. “If things don’t go well inside you have to try to get points from long range. If you’re missing out there you have to move inside.”
On this night, Quintin had it going from both places. He made five three’s.
Saugus played a lot of zone defense, and with Triton’s quick passing there were open shots available. The Vikings totaled ten three-pointers.
The win tonight was special, but the Vikings have work to do to qualify for tourney play. “We’ve got four games left and we need three of them,” said Nick.
“We have to finish strong,” added Ethan.
Dylan Wilkinson was held scoreless in the first quarter but gathered fourteen points the rest of the way.
Ethan Tate: “We were able to shut down their best player #24 (Tyrone Manderson). Q (Quintin) was able to step up and lock him down all night.”
Triton 14 22 18 12 = 66
Saugus 14 8 19 12 = 53
(The pictures will enlarge.)