Knight Ballers Whip Wilmington
North Andover marches into Wilmington and improves to 2-0 with a 62-58 triumph over the Wildcats.
The Scarlet Knights hoops squad improved to 2-0 on the young season after a nail biting 62-58 triumph over rival Wilmington.
"Masco and Wilmington, those are our biggest rivals," said North Andover head coach Mike McVeigh. "You come out of those games 2-0, you've got to be crazy not to be happy."
Defending Cape Ann League Champions North Andover controlled the pace of the game leading by nine at halftime but the Knights let up and allowed Wilmington to snag the lead in the second half.
Wilmington came out of the locker room with an 18-11 run in the third quarter to make it a four point game going into the fourth.
"I told them in the locker room, it's one possession at a time, that's how you've got to look at it," said Wilmington head coach Joseph Maiella.
Wilmington's Junior guard Vinny Scifo drained a three with 4:28 to play in the game to give Wilmington a 50-49 lead.
A jumper by senior captain Nick Godzyk put Wilmington up three at 52-49.
"It was there for the taking," said Maiella.
The Scarlet Knights answered back with two three pointers from sophomore guard Derek Collins to regain the lead.
Wilmington came within three after a Nick Godzyk three pointer, and had the ball with 11 seconds on the clock and a chance to tie.
An offensive foul gave North Andover the ball back and junior forward Zach Karalis iced it with a free throw.
Karalis contributed 15 points, seven coming in the fourth quarter, but it was Derek Collins whose long range shooting got North Andover its lead back.
"Good players like Collins step up in those situations," said Maiella.
Collins dropped 16 points, eight coming in the fourth quarter.
North Andover also got 10 points from junior point guard Colby Smith.
Wilmington's junior guard Tim McCarthy led his team with 16 points but it was Vinny Scifo who caused more problems for the Knights.
"He's a player," McVeigh said of Scifo. "At the end of the game we started to just trap him, because we couldn't let him get good shots," he said.
Scifo contributed 12 points on the night.
Wilmington's senior captain Nick Godzyk added in 10 points, six coming in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats have until Tuesday to think this one through before a tough game against Masconomet.
"In my opinion they have the best player in the league," said Maiella of Masconomet.
He was referring to the Chieftan's junior point guard Adam Bramanti.
Bramanti dropped 30 points on Wilmington last season in a game in which the Wildcats prevailed 84-81.
Meanwhile, North Andover takes the court next against Salem in the first round of the Greater Lawrence Christmas tourney.
The game will be at 6p.m. on Wednesday night at Lawrence High School.
"We're expecting a real battle," said McVeigh.
North Andover sent two assistant coaches to Salem's Friday night game in preparation for Wednesday's tournament showdown.
The Scarlet Knights and Wildcats will play a rematch of Wednesday night's game on February 11.
"We want to be playing North Andover in February for our league championship, that's the goal," said Maiella.