Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Newton North Overcomes Quick Start by Brookline

By Kyle Schroeder (@kyschroeder81)

Brookline, Mass. - After being pummeled by a score of 76-39 in their first meeting against Newton North, the Brookline Warriors were determined to have a better showing on Tuesday. Brookline transferred that mindset to the court early on as they went up by as many as 11 in the first half.

However, Newton North answered the bell in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Brookline 26-8, which ultimately lead the Tigers to an 80-69 victory.

Newton North improves to 14-3 (6-0) and Brookline drops to 10-5 (3-3).
Newton North, after coming off an incredible road win against Brockton, seemed to lack energy on both ends of the court coming out of the gates.

Brookline guards Christian Andrews (8 points) and Matthew Price (11 points) got to the rim with ease in the first quarter as they combined for 12 points. Price also connected with junior forward Mark Barrett for an open triple, which put the Warriors up 21-12 in the first quarter.

“They went right at us to start the game and we were playing on our heels,” said Newton North coach Paul Connolly. “Defensively, we weren’t alert, we weren’t communicating and we just weren’t doing the things we needed to do to be successful”.

The deficit could have been much larger for the Tigers early on if it weren’t for the individual brilliance of star senior Ethan Wright. Wright had 12 of Newton North’s 16 first quarter points, all of the baskets he scored came on isolations where nothing was happening in the possession.

Wright finished with a game-high 34 points, and the points he scored in the first quarter cut the deficit to only six by the end of the period.

“That’s what he does. He is very skilled and he was able to keep us in the game when the other guys weren’t all there,” said Connolly.

At the start of the second quarter, it felt as if Brookline was about to take complete control of the game. Warriors forward Blake Burke got a layup immediately followed by a steal and an emphatic dunk by junior forward Christopher Camille, which ignited the Brookline crowd. The Tigers then answered with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to one. Brookline countered that run by giving the ball to Barrett. Barrett hit a pull up three followed by a step back mid range jumper that staved off Newton North from taking the lead at halftime.

After a slow start, sophomore forward Aaron Cooley dominated for Newton North in the 3rd quarter. He scored 11 points in the quarter primarily on drives to the basket and using his size on the offensive boards. He finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds (three offensive).

“He’s capable of getting a double-double every game,” said Newton North coach Paul Connolly. “He is starting to impose his will and skill and he is very skilled when he has the ball in his hands,”

In addition to the offense provided by Cooley, Newton North defended at a very high level in the third quarter and that started with unheralded sophomore guard Cam Schainfeld. Schainfeld’s energy and effort on defense made things difficult for the Brookline guards to get into their offense.

“Cam puts so much into the game and I think with his defense he contributed immensely to tonight’s victory. He came off the bench and didn’t back down, he stuck his nose in there, guarded the ball, and we got going with that,” said Connolly.

Newton North took a 58-44 lead into the fourth quarter and were never threatened the rest of the way. The Tigers have now won eight games in arrow with wins over quality opponents in Needham and Brockton. With that resume, they are now clearly one of the top teams in the state.

“We are playing pretty well right now. Tonight we only played well in spurts and those spurts allowed us to minimize the mistakes we made early on.”

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