Escape Ipswich with 49-46 victory

Published in the January 19, 2017 edition


IPSWICH — Senior Mike McCauley’s go ahead 3-pointer with 15 seconds left helped the Hornets eke out a 49-46 victory over the Ipswich Tigers on Jan. 9 in what Coach Joe Casey called the team’s “worst performance of the year.”

North Reading only shot 15-56 from the floor, went 17-36 from the foul line and committed 21 turnovers. Senior Anthony Maldonado was the high scorer with 11 points.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. At the half, the game was tied at just 18-18.

The Hornets began to get out of their offensive funk in the third quarter and took a seven-point lead with two minutes left in the period. But turnovers proved costly for North Reading late in quarter and the lead evaporated. By the end of the third they found themselves down 36-31.

Early in the fourth the Tigers’ lead grew to as much as seven before NRHS mounted a comeback behind improved defense. With 15 seconds left the Hornets finally re-took the lead when McCauley nailed a three to put them in front, 47-46.

After an Ipswich timeout, excellent North Reading defense forced the Tigers into a five-second violation. On the ensuing possession senior Anthony Eldridge got fouled and went 1 for 2 from the line and the lead was two.

After the free throws the Hornets once again played great defense and forced Ipswich into a lousy shot. Senior Bobby O’Donnell was fouled on the rebound with two seconds left and made 1 of 2 foul shots to seal the victory.

Blow-out victory

Sophomore Matt Solecki came off the bench and dropped a career-high 21 points to help the Hornets erase a six-point halftime deficit to crush the Manchester-Essex Hornets 79-60 on Friday night.

Bobby O’Donnell was immense inside with 12 points and eight rebounds. Senior Shawn Tilton was a sharpshooter from beyond the arc with 12 points on four 3-pointers.

It was a back and forth first quarter. Manchester-Essex took an early 5-2 lead but by the end of the first the host Hornets led 15-14.

In the second quarter, poor North Reading defense and hot shooting from the visiting Hornets allowed Manchester-Essex to build a 41-30 lead. But a Tilton three at the halftime buzzer cut the deficit to 41-35.

In the second half it was all North Reading. Their superb defense wore down the visitors and the offense caught fire. The Hornets outscored Manchester-Essex by a scintillating margin of 44-19 and turned the six-point halftime deficit into the blowout victory.

With their third consecutive win, the Hornets improved their record to 6-1-0