North Reading Hornets Boys Basketball '19-'20

Mon, Feb 24, 2020 05:30 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Greater Lawrence 9 16 16 13 54
North Reading 15 18 21 15 69

Greater Lawrence falls to North Reading in tourney opener

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Monday, February, 24 By David Willis
Staff writer

WEST ANDOVER - As the buzzer sounded at halftime, Greater Lawrence seemed to have finally found the momentum it had been searching for on Monday.

Brandon Palmer aggressively jumped in front of an opponent and picked off a pass. He then fired the ball to Wander Languasco on the fast break, and he tossed in a shot as time expired in the half.

Suddenly, the home crowd was going wild.

But each time the Reggies seemed to find their stride, North Reading found the answer.

The No. 10 Hornets took the lead in the game's opening minute, and never let that advantage dip below six after the first quarter, defeating No. 7 Greater Lawrence 69-454 in the Division 3 North first round on Monday night.

"I thought we played decent at times," said Reggies coach Eddie Araujo. "The ball started to go in for us a little and I thought maybe we could go on a run. But then they hit a couple 3-pointers, and that kind of killed our momentum and sucked the air out of the room. We had kids that played well, but we made too many mistakes."

Greater Lawrence closed out the season 13-7, while North Reading (13-7) advances to face No. 2 Amesbury, which earned a bye through the first round.

"I was very happy with out guys," said North Reading head coach Joe Casey. "But I was also very impressed by Greater Lawrence. We couldn't shake them. Every time we went up by 10 or more, they would go on a run. They were always a couple possessions away from making it a very close game."

Greater Lawrence opened the fourth quarter with their best run of the game.

Sam Cruz made a layup, then on the following possession, he stood his ground as a North Reading player barreled into him for a charge. Lewis Garcia followed that with a jumper, and after another Cruz took another charge, Chris Rodriguez hit a shot to cut the lead to six points.

But back came the Hornets, who quickly responded with a 10-2 run to all but ice the game.

"We're a momentum team," said Araujo. "When we have it going and we're scoring, we'll keep running. That's why we win games by 15 or 20 points sometimes. But, on the same side, when we lose that momentum, it can snowball quickly. We made some baskets, but they always found a way to snap our momentum."

Greater Lawrence had to battle foul trouble throughout the game. North Reading shot 49 free throws on the night, including 15 in the third quarter alone. Jeremiah Mejia, the Reggies' leading scorer (15.1 points per game) fouled out at the start of the fourth quarter.

"The foul trouble hurt," said Araujo, whose team shot 24 free throws. "Jeremiah was in foul trouble early on, and that was tough. He's our heart and soul, so once he fouls out, the kids were kind of looking around like, ‘Who's going to lead us?' We like to reach and get a little handsy on defense, and that hurt us."

Mejia still led the Reggies with 12 points, while Antonio Valenzuela added 10 points and 11 rebounds and Languasco had 10 rebounds.

"Chris Rodriguez, who usually doesn't play a lot for us, had a really good game," said Araujo. "Sam Cruz did a good job scoring in the paint at times. But, as a group, we just didn't play well."

Game Statistics:

Division 3 North first round

North Reading (69): Keller 2 6-10 11, Taylor 4 5-8 13, Scribner 3 3-4 10, Beal 2 5-6 9, Cannalonga 3 6-8 14, Tamaito 2 1-2 5, Demetri 1 2-2 4, Kavanaugh 1 0-1 3. Totals 18 28-49 69

Greater Lawrence (54): Valenzuela 5 0-0 10, Mejia 4 4-6 12, Palmer 2 3-6 7, S. Cruz 2 6-10 10, Languasco 2 0-0 4, Garcia 4 2-2 11, Tineo 0 0-0 0, Gonzalez 0 0-0 0, Jeremy Rizzo 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 15-24 54

3-pointers: GL — Garcia; NR — Keller, Kavanaugh, Cannalonga 2, Scribner

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