Published February 11, 2021
By DAN NUNN
NORTH READING — The NRHS boys’ basketball team survived a furious fourth quarter rally by the Amesbury Indians and eked out their second win in a row 59-56 on Jan. 29.
Junior captain Cody Cannalonga led all scorers with 25 points.
“Senior Robbie Tammaro shut down their top player with tremendous defense,” said head coach Joe Casey.
It was a back and forth first quarter with North Reading holding a 16-14 lead after one. Behind the bench play of juniors Quinn Riesenberg and Casey O’Connor, NRHS built a double digit lead in the second stanza. Cannalonga and Riesenberg hit 3’s and the Hornets led 31-23 at half.
In the third, Cannalonga erupted with four 3-pointer’s and 14 points as the lead ballooned to 18. Sloppy play late in quarter allowed Amesbury to cut the Hornet lead to 49-36 at the start of the fourth.
Unfortunately, the final quarter proved to be in the words of a Coach Casey, “a horror show” as a NRHS went stone cold and only had one field goal in the period. Meanwhile the Indians exploded with 20 points to trim the lead to two with under 30 seconds remaining. Fortunately, with four seconds left, Cannalonga hit one of two foul shots to push the lead to 59-56 and Amesbury’s long 3 rolled in and out.
Escape Triton 54-51
The Hornets earned their third win in a row in a second straight three-point nail biter 54-51 over the Triton Vikings on Friday. It was a complete team effort as numerous players contributed six-eight points. Senior Will Taylor had 14 and fellow senior captain Brayden Scribner had nine.
NRHS got off to a slow start and were down 6-2 early in the first quarter. Sparked by Riesenberg’s five points of the bench, the Hornets closed the quarter on a 14-4 run to take a 16-10 lead at the end of the opening frame.
In the second, senior Braeden Beal and juniors John Jennings and Casey O’Connor did a great job defensively inside and the lead remained six at 26-20 by halftime.
Taylor completely took over the game in the third quarter as he erupted for nine points to push the lead to 12 midway through the period but Triton refused to go away and chipped the lead down to two late in the fourth quarter.
It was nip and tuck the rest of the way. Fortunately, foul shots from Scribner, Taylor and Cannalonga sealed the victory as a desperation 3 from the Vikings fell short.
The Hornets conclude the regular season this Friday, 5:45 p.m. against Rockport.