Spaulding continues their strong start to the season, as the Red Raiders are now 5-0 (including holiday tourney wins). Spaulding dominated the 2nd half on Monday night, en route to a 50-31 win over Winnacunnet in the Bobcat Invitational championship game.
Winnacunnet led 22-21 at halftime, but Spaulding held them to 7 points in the 3rd quarter and only 2 points in the 4th.
"We had more energy and more defensive intensity in the 2nd half" said Spaulding senior guard Darian Berry, who scored a game-high 14 points and was named tournament MVP. "Lots of different guys had big shots for us, especially off the bench."
Brock Paquette got the 2nd half started off right for the Red Raiders by hitting a 3 from the top of the key, as Spaulding re-takes the lead (which they held on to for the rest of the game). On the next trip down the floor Spaulding quickly pushed the ball ahead in transition and Berry tipped in a teammate's missed shot for 2. Anthony Primavera (team-high 9 points) answered with an 18-footer. But then Spaulding rattled off 7 straight points in the blink of an eye. Chris States hit a 3 of his own off the dribble, Berry hit a 15-footer and then on the fast break States threw a great bounce pass to Anthony Ciccotelli, hitting him right in stride for the layup. That made it 33-24 Spaulding with 4:11 left in the 3rd quarter and Winnacunnet head coach Jay McKenna was forced to call a timeout.
Primavera hit a 3 out of the timeout to Pull the Warriors to within 37-27. On the next trip down Winnacunnet wasn't able to get back on defense and Matt Roy got an uncontested layup. Primavera hit another 18-footer and then on the other end made a nice hustle play by diving out of bounds for a loose ball and saving it to a teammate. It was 39-29 Spaulding after 3 quarters.
In the 4th quarter Primavera continued his strong play, pushing it hard on the fast break right at a defender and banking in a a leaner. Unfortunately for the Warriors that bucket was their only points in the 4th quarter. Both teams had a scoring drought for a few minutes and then Ciccotelli (12 points and 9 rebounds) turned and finished in the low post followed by another spot-up 3 by Paquette. After another 3 by Paquette it was 47-41 and Spaulding was really breaking it open now. Blake Barbin hit a step-back 3 to make it 50-31 Red Raiders and both teams pulled their starters.
Spaulding was much more in sync. They moved the ball well, threading the needle for transition layups or making skip passes for 3's and playing tough team defense. Winnacunnet meanwhile often times seemed unsure on offense of who was going where and where they wanted to go with the ball.
"We're young" said Winnacunnet head coach Jay McKenna. "We have a lot of sophomores and juniors. We're still learning how to be resilient and how to respond to adversity. We'll learn from this and get better."
Winnacunnet has mostly sophomores and juniors, whereas Spaulding starts 5 seniors who have been playing together since 4th grade.
"We've got 5 senior starters we're gonna count on a lot this year" said Spaulding head coach Tim Cronin.
The 1st half was evenly matched. Sophomore Freddy Schaake had a quick layup for Winnacnnet followed by a layup on the other end for Berry. Paquette made a nice pass to to Ciccotelli on the break for a layup. After 2 more quick layups for Ciccotelli it was 8-4 Spaulding. Winnacunnet called timeout, and out of the timeout the Warriors went on an 8-0 run. Tyler Aversano made a layup off a nice drive-and-dish by Primavera. Then early in the 2nd quarter Aversano finished strong inside for an and-1. Ryan Moksevich hit a 15-footer to cap the run as Winnacunnet took a 12-8 lead.
Spaulding sophomore 6th man Cal Connelly (a 6-foot-3 kid with lots of upside) hit a 3-pointer off the catch. Meanwhile for Winnacunnet they had a sophomore of their own who was making some plays in the 2nd quarter, as Logan Keene (a 6-foot-5 kid with lots of upside) rebounded his own miss for a put-back. Then Keene ripped down a defensive rebound and on the following defensive possession blocked a shot. On the next trip down on defense he hustled back and blocked another shot, this one in transition. Aaron Gareau kept the momentum going for the Warriors by converting a layup and then hitting a 3. That made it 19-13 (Winnacunnet's largest lead) and capped a 15-5 run for Winnacunnet.
Berry responded with an and-1 finish after pushing it hard up the floor on the break. Then Berry connected on a 3, as Spaulding re-takes the lead 21-19. Keene took it strong to the rim for an and-1, as Winnacunnet went into halftime on top 22-21.