By: Ross Laorenza
Nashua North improves to 6-6 after a 57-55 overtime victory over the Spaulding Red Raiders. With 9 seconds remaining in OT Spaulding was called for a 5 second violation on their inbounding attempt.
Ryan Lynn did a great job blocking any possible passing lanes using all of his 6'5" frame. Alonzo Linton caught the ensuing high, lobbing inbound for North and was fouled with 7.7 to go. Making 1 of 2 at the line the window was open for one final shot. Spaulding's Cal Connelly took an of balance three at the buzzer, but it was well short.
After the very frustrating loss Raiders coach Tim Cronin noted, "You can't just walk on the floor and win."
This was a close contest from the get-go with neither team get a lead larger than 7 points. Jean-Paul Paradis and Cal Connelly gave Spaulding an early 4-0 lead. Alonzo Linton scored the next 4 baskets, showing his incredible athleticism and gave North an 8-4 lead. Spaulding would rattle off a 6-0 run with baskets from Connelly and Arie Breakfield, plus 2 free throws from Cal to end the 1st quarter with a 10-8 lead.
That lead was short lived. North surged ahead 15-10 behind great shooting from Linton and a big three from Chris Barrett. Sclyler Boykin played exceptionally well, feeding his teammates with aggressive bounces passes on multiple occasions. One such pass fed Jordan Buckmire leading to a pull-up jumper and a 20-13 North lead.
The Red Raiders would close the 2nd quarter with an 11-4 run. Three pointers from Connelly, Breakfield, and Matt Roy helped pull Spaulding even 24-24 at the half.
The opening minutes of the 3rd were a back-and-forth battle. Paradis scored slashing to the basket for Spaulding. Linton tied it up with a jumper in the paint. A big block by Breakfield on Linton led to points for Paradis and 1. At the other end Linton grabbed his own miss and scored on the put-back. Breakfield put Spaulding up three with a strong move drawing a foul on Linton. He missed the and 1, but added 2 more points with a floater over the defense just a few minutes later. The Red Raiders' lead grew to 35-28, before North began to close.
Boykin used his smothering defense to steal the ball and come away with a lay-up. Roy hit 2 free throws for Spaulding. Casey Lane scored on a put-back with less than a 5 seconds to go and then somehow Alonzo Linton got the ball back and threw up a deep three at the buzzer, but it was no good. At the end of the 3rd, Spaulding: 37, North: 32.
The game would get wild in the fourth quarter. Linton scored with under 7 to play cutting the deficit to 3 points. Then going 1 of 2 at the line he narrowed the margin to 2. Connelly pushed the Raiders back in front, but again North answered. First a shot off glass from Buckmire, then a nice feed from Boykin to Ryan Lynn. Tie game 39-39.
A second steal and score from Boykin gave North a lead midway through the 4th. Two free throws from Breakfield knotted the game again at 41. Casey Lane drilled a three from the corner, but freshman Isaiah Rose hit one of his own for Spaulding. 44-44 with just over two minutes to play.
With 1:21 left Alonso Linton was at the line shooting 1-and-1. He made the first, missed the second; North by 1. After a change of possession Boykin was at the line and made both free throws. 51.5 left. Time out Spaulding. Out of the timeout Connelly had a long rebound come out to him, he drove to the basket and was fouled. Cal made 1 of 2 at the line. Boykin was able to draw contact and put himself back on the stripe. This time he only made 1 of 2. North by 3, 48-45.
With 24 seconds left Rose got fouled by Ryan from beyond the arch. The freshman made his first two shots, but failed on his third attempt. Spaulding down by one. Another 1 of 2 showing at the line by Boykin gave Spaulding a chance with 19.1 left. With only under 10 seconds to go in regulation Cal Connelly tied the game and sent it to overtime tied 49-49.
North jumped out to and early lead with a great pass from Linton to Buckmire. Linton then drew contact on North's next possession and hit both free throws. 53-49. A three from Paradis drew Spaulding back within one. After a miss in the corner from Lynn, Boykin grabbed the rebound and got put back at the line. He made both free throws. 55-52, North.
The next shot was truly remarkable. Not to sound cliche' but Cal Connelly hit a three pointer from Steph Curry land. He was so far out beyond the arch, I was looking for where I thought he was going to pass it. But he just launched the ball right over his defender and it swished home as the bench erupted in cheers.
Sclyler Boykin patiently dribbled the ball on North's next approach. He took his time and finally drove to the hoop drawing contact yet again. He made 1 of 2. North leads 56-55 with 25.5 to play. Spaulding had a chance to go ahead, but a 5 count on the inbound play with 9 seconds left all but sealed the upset. North got the ball inbound to Linton who made one of two free throws after being immediately fouled. Cal Connelly threw up an off balance three at the buzzer, but it fell short.
Upset complete. Final score, Nashua North: 57, Spaulding: 55.
Alonzo Linton had 28 points in the victory. Sclyler Boykin finished 10 points, going 6 for 9 at the free throw line. Cal Connelly totalled 17 points in the loss. Arie Breakfield finished with 11 points.
"I'm just happy we came out on the good end of this," said Titan coach Steve Lane. "The kids played real hard; the kids played smart. Understanding what we're trying to do as far as on the offensive end, and we guarded tonight! That's a good high school basketball team over there and I'm proud of my kids tonight."
From Nashua, New Hampshire; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook