Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Korte's Monster Night, Dew-Hollis' Breakout Second Half Send Watertown and Tech Boston to the State Final

By: Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

John Korte jogged into the locker room clapping his hands while his teammates responded with a rousing ovation. The sleepers were wide-awake.

On Wednesday night, Korte scored 28 points, corralled 10 rebounds, and totaled five blocks to lead Watertown past Burke, 66-61, in the Division 3 State Semi-Finals at Burlington High School.

The Raiders, who entered as the No. 7 Seed in Division 4 North, are now just one away from their third state championship since 2007.

“One game away,” said Korte. “It’s just an incredible feeling with this group of guys. We’ve worked our butts off. “

Watertown trailed the talented Bulldogs for most of the evening but finally jumped in front 56-54 on a Korte drive with just under five minutes to play.

Burke forward Bryan Desir (21 points, 6 rebounds) answered with a bucket to even the score back at 56.

The score remained tied at 58 with four minutes left, but Korte showcased his skills as a facilitator in the game’s biggest moment.

The six-foot-six Korte drove left, avoided a defender by sidestepping to the middle, and dished a pinpoint pass to Yoseph Hamad who drilled a corner three to give the Raiders a 61-58 lead.
Watertown stretched its lead up to five on two Gabe Spinelli free throws but a Devante Jamison trey pulled the Bulldgos back within two.

Trailing 64-61 and 32.9 seconds left Burke had a chance to even the score but Levar Williams and Marcus Akinkouye’s three-point attempts clanked off the bank rim. Korte corralled his ninth rebound of the night before Julio Fulcar swished two at the foul line to seal the Raiders trip to Springfield.

Spinelli, a freshman, proved un-phased the moment scoring 10 fourth quarter points.

“I thought Yoseph’s threes were huge for us,” said Watertown coach Steve Harrington. ”(Gabe) Spinelli was huge for us and then (Fulcar’s) job on (Williams) and then he iced the game with those free throws. That’s a very tough team to guard and certainly to play against.”

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 12-4 lead on a Williams corner three-pointer, and a Desir three-point play upped the Bulldogs lead to 15-5.

Burke’s lead stood at nine, 21-12, early in the second quarter after another Desir basket, but Korte’s monster first half brought the Red Raiders back.

Korte drove through the lane for two before splashing a top of the key trey and finishing a fast break to pull Watertown within 25-22.

Burke’s lead stretched back out to eight on a Jamison foul line jumper, but Watertown closed on a 7-0 run highlighted by a Korte three-pointer and a Henry Papadopoulos put back to trim the deficit to 32-31 at the half.

“I thought in the first half John Korte carried us,” said Harrington. “I thought his (16 points) were the key. That kept us in the game and in the second half, once we figured out what we were going to do on offense, some other guys got some shots.”

In the night cap, Walter Dew-Hollis gave the packed house their money’s worth, scoring 20 second half points as part of a 26 point performance to lead Tech Boston past North Andover, 65-57, in the Division 2 State Semi-Finals.

 The win gives Tech Boston its first state title appearance since 1976.

“Walter (Dew-Hollis) is my guy,” said Tech Boston coach Johnny Williams. “He is my most valuable player. He is the brain, the heart, the legs, the arms. We don’t go if he doesn’t go.”

North Andover held a 41-33 lead and appeared to be in control with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.

As they have from the season’s first day, the Bears found another gear when they needed it most.

Over the next nearly six minutes of play Tech Boston went on a 21-0 run in which they forced seven Scarlet Knights’ turnover to go in front by 13.

Dew-Hollis proved the catalyst of the Bears’ surge. After a Maurice Works driving layup, Dew-Hollis scored four straight including a thunderous one handed slam to trim the deficit to two.

Moments later, Dew-Hollis put the Bears in front driving to the lay up for two and knocking down a 15-footer to give Tech Boston a three point edge.

Shamar Moore increased Tech Boston’s lead up to five to end the third on a foul line jumper at the buzzer and Dew-Hollis put the game out of reach early in the final stanza.

The senior guard tapped home an offensive rebound before knocking down two at the free throw line.

Dew-Hollis capped off the burst picking the pocket of North Andover guard Ogwuru and finishing at the other end giving Tech Boston a 54-41 lead with five minutes left.

“I just had to hold my composure and not worry about the crowd," said Dew-Hollis. "I just had to play hard and play my game. It's not easy. We have to stay focused and be ready. You just have to play your best and hope to win."

Tech Boston jumped out to an electric start with a Shamar Moore step back three pointer and two more treys from Works giving the Bears a 19-8 lead five minutes in.

Out of a timeout, North Andover started to click with 10 points from Jake McElroy helping to pull the Scarlet Knights to within 22-17 after one.

The Bears lead stood at 27-19 after a Lyron Bennett basket but the Scarlet Knights’ played their best basketball of the night to close the half.

Kyle Moore splashed a high-arching corner three and then followed it up with a jumper just inside the line off the dribble to tie the score at 31.

North Andover then incorporated forward Garrett Murphy into its offense, feeding the junior off the pick-and-roll to go in front.

McElroy and Garrett Murphy capped off the half with consecutive layups to put North Andover up 37-33 going into the locker room.

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