Norton Boys Basketball Back On Track
Lancers rebound from difficult loss before holidays with two wins this week.
After suffering a tough loss prior to its holiday break, the Norton High boys’ basketball team bounced back nicely this week with a pair of wins.
The Lancers dropped a 51-43 decision to Millis in a Tri-Valley League game Dec. 23 at the Lawrence Larocque Gymnasium, seeing their record fall to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the process.
As usual, Norton played terrific defense, but when they did send Millis to the free throw line, the Mohawks converted their opportunities, hitting 15 of 19 attempts from the line.
The Lancer offense struggled throughout the game, but in particular during the first and third quarters. Senior forward Steve Tessier did step up and have one of the best games of his Lancer career, scoring a season-high 10 points and also contributing nine rebounds.
Millis outscored Norton 22-18 in the first half and 29-25 in the second. Senior forward Alex Lagos, a transfer from King Philip, led the way for the Mohawks with eight points, 17 rebounds and five steals. Senior guard Kyle Latosek contributed 15 points, while sophomore forward Chris Baker had 11 points and five rebounds.
And with Norton’s non-league game with Martha’s Vineyard over school vacation being postponed because of the snowstorm, the Lancers had to sit and stew over that loss for 12 days before getting back in action on Tuesday night.
But the Lancers responded with a hard-fought 46-43 win over Holliston in a TVL contest at the Larocque Gymnasium on Tuesday. Norton combined excellent offense and defense in the fourth quarter to hold off the Panthers. The Lancers scored 18 points in the final period, while holding Holliston in check on the defensive end to get the win.
Junior guard Steve Burrill led the way for the locals with 13 points, going 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Senior captain and guard Joe Wilkes scored eight points in the game, putting Norton ahead with a three-pointer in the fourth. Senior guard Brendan Curtin and Tessier also scored seven points apiece.
Wilkes and Curtin were also key performers on defense, holding Holliston’s leading scorer, senior guard Christian Baker, to just nine points. Senior forward Sam Gillespie and junior guard Dan Barone led the Panthers in the game with 11 points apiece.
On Friday night, Norton opened up a huge lead during a league contest in Westwood, but had to hold off a furious comeback by the Wolverines in the fourth to gain a 63-59 win.
Playing their best half of basketball up to this point in the season, the Lancers opened up a 17-point advantage at the half, 37-20. Senior captain and point guard Chris Ruta also got off to a terrific start in this game, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the opening period.
Westwood was able to draw a lot closer to Norton in the fourth quarter with a combination of its three-point shooting and poor free-throw shooting by the Lancers getting the Wolverines back in the game.
The Wolverines knocked down five three-pointers on the way to a 26-point fourth quarter and was helped out by a 3-of-13 performance at the foul line by Norton in the period.
A huge positive for the Lancers was their balanced scoring attack. Norton had five players score eight points or more, led by junior forward Colin Feeney’s 15. After Ruta’s 14 points, Burrill contributed 10 points and Wilkes had nine. Senior guard Malik Little was an important performer off the bench for the team, scoring eight points.
Following Friday’s games, Norton sits in third place in the TVL standings. A 72-53 win in Hopkinton on Friday night gave Medway sole possession of first place in the league. The Mustangs are 6-2 overall and 5-0 in the league. The Hillers are second at 5-2 overall and 5-1 in the TVL, while Norton is third at 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the league. Medfield currently stands fourth, sporting a 3-3 record both overall and in the TVL.
Norton will return to action when the team hosts Bellingham in a TVL contest on Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Larocque Gymnasium. The Blackhawks are 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the TVL, following an 80-42 loss to Medfield on Friday. The Lancers will then welcome first-place Medway to the Larocque Gymnasium next Friday at 6:30 p.m.