Thursday, March 1, 2018

Newton North Basketball Completes Season Sweep of Braintree in D1 South

By Kyle Schroeder (@kyshcroeder81)

Newtonville Mass. - Coming into Wednesday’s Division 1 South first round matchup between 4th-seeded Newton North and 13th-seeded Braintree, the two teams had already met twice.

Newton North won handily both times, but Braintree was hoping the script would flip in the tournament. Unfortunately for the Wamps, it was the same old story as the Tigers won handily, 61-34. 

In the first quarter, it looked as if the game could be competitive. Braintree did a good job keeping the pace of the game slow, which prevent Newton North from getting into their elite transition attack. Newton North’s offense was held in check early and Braintree fed the ball down low to 6-foot-6 senior center Anthony Peacock.

Peacock had seven points and an assist in the quarter. Newton North’s lead was only three as they ended the first quarter up 14-11.

There was a sense of hope among the Braintree faithful who traveled to Newton.

Then immediately came a Newton North avalanche.

The Tigers in the second quarter played some of the best, most ferocious basketball one will see in an MIAA tournament game. Newton North outscored Braintree by an incredible score of 27-2 in the quarter, using tenacious defense to fuel their offense.

“We moved the ball well and played good defense. I think we feed off our defense, so we were getting rebounds and running got a lot of easy baskets,” said Newton North guard Ethan Wright.

Wright helped get the scoring started in the quarter with an assist to senior guard Noah Neville in transition. This was followed by two straight Ezra Pemstein baskets, which pushed the lead to 10 and forced a Braintree timeout.

Out of the timeout Braintree, got its only basket of the quarter on a desperation hook shot by senior forward AJ McMartin. Instead of having that basket be a momentum builder, disaster ensued.

Neville was then fouled on a three-point attempt. He made the first two, missed the third but the ball was tipped out to Wright who then stepped back and drilled a three for a rare five-point possession. This gave Newton North a 26-13 lead.

From this point on, the Tigers went on a 13-0 run to close the half, getting almost all of their baskets in the open floor. Wright hit a pull up three and layup in transition then sophomore guard Cam Schainfeld pushed the pace; finding Wright and Neville for transition triples. An Aaron Cooley offensive rebound and bucket was the only non-transition points scored in the run.

While the box score wouldn’t show it, Schainfeld seemed to have a big impact on the game with his defense and ball handling in the second quarter.

“He was great. He definitely plays with a chip on his shoulder. Everyone gives him crap for his height, but he fights out there like he is 6’8. He gets limited minutes and he always seems to make the most out of them,” said Neville.

With a 39-16 lead at halftime, the game was essentially over at that point. The Tigers and Wamps scored nine apiece in the third quarter, Newton North then emptied the bench for the final quarter. 
Wright lead all scorers with 22 and Neville came after him dropping 13 points.

Up next for Newton North is the second round of the Division 1 South tournament, where it will face off against the 12th-seeded Bridgewater-Raynham.

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