Monday, February 19, 2018

Shaughnessy, Dorion Lead Needham, while Yardemian Carries Belmont to Comcast Tournament Championship

By: Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Woburn, Mass. --- Those disputing the fact that Needham has the best backcourt in the state are running out of ammunition.

Thomas Shaughnessy scored 22 points, while sophomore Will Dorion poured in 18 more, as Needham defeated Lowell, 72-65, in the Division 1 Comcast Dvinci Tournament Championship.

Over the two games, Shaughnessy averaged 27.5 points. 

The Rockets (16-3) led Lowell 65-53 with just over four minutes but the Red Raiders turned to their full court pressure to make a late surge.

Carlos Nunez drilled a three-pointer, and Rashawn Settles converted at the basket off a pair of Needham turnovers to trim the deficit to 65-60.

Dorion, however, came up with a huge offensive put back that put the Rockets back up seven with less than two minutes to go.

Lowell pulled to within four, 67-63 with 33.9 seconds left on two free throws from Nate Siow, but Jack Cruickshank hit two of his own at the charity stripe to put the Rockets back up six and cement the victory.

“These are great games to play in going into the (state) tournament," said Needham coach Paul Liner. "These last two nights have been tournament atmosphere and a great experience to get us ready."

One night after going toe-to-toe with Arlington before pulling out a 78-74 win in overtime, the Rockets showed little signs of exhaustion coming out of the gate.

Needham started out on fire from the field as a Dorion three-pointer gave the Rockets a 9-2 edge.

The sophomore Dorion and senior Shaughnessy alternated on taking control of Needham’s offense.

First it was Shaughnessy driving to the basket for two before Dorion went in for the reverse layup on the Rockets' next possession.

With time winding down in the first quarter, Dorion drilled a pull-up jumper to give the Rockets a 21-12 lead after one.

“Quick starts are one of our game goals,” said Liner. “Setting the tone really gets us going and builds our confidence.”

Needham took its largest lead of the game to begin the second quarter. Shaughnessy splashed a deep triple from the right-wing and Brandon Monheimer followed up with one at the top of the key.

Shaughnessy then showed his ability to go to the basket finishing through contact for the conventional three-point play to give the Rockets a 30-12 lead.

Lowell senior star Alex Rivera tried to keep the Red Raiders afloat, hitting a trey and connecting on a pair of driving layups.

Michael Klemm, however, scored eight points over the final two minutes to keep the Rockets comfortably ahead, 37-21 at the half.

In the first game of the day, Danny Yardemian stole the show as he scored 28 points, dished out six assists, and hauled in six rebounds to lead Belmont past St. Mary’s, 74-63, in the Division 2 Comcast Dvinci Tournament Championship.

Yardemian was awarded the tournament’s most valuable player.

Belmont (15-5) led by double-digits for most of the contest, including by 16 at the half and 12, 57-45, with five minutes left but the Spartans chipped away.

Jalen Echevarria converted at the basket, while Stephen Fama (23 points) scored five straight points to pull the Spartans within 68-59 with 1:30 left.

Yardemian, however, would not be denied as he scored 14 fourth quarter points including 10 at the foul line to seal the win for the Marauders.

“I think everyone is playing very confident right now,” said Yardemian. “It’s huge to win this tournament and we’re all excited.”

The two sides played an even opening quarter with a trey from Echevarria pulling the Spartans within 14-13 after one.

In the second quarter, however, Belmont’s offense exploded.

After a Fama three-pointer evened the score at 19, the Marauders went on an 11-0 run highlighted by six straight points from Mac Annus to take a 30-19 lead.

Echevarria tried to keep St. Mary’s within striking distance eight eatly second quarter points but a Will Ellet corner three and back-to-back baskets by Yardemiain pushed Belmonts lead up to 39-27.

The Marauders’ offense saved its best for the half’s final moments as with the buzzer about to sound Ben Saeruwagi drilled a three-pointer from the corner to put Belmont on top 43-27 at the half.

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