NHIAA Basketball: North notches first 'W'
MANCHESTER — Maybe it was a good thing Manchester Central boys’ basketball coach Dave Keefe wasn’t on hand for Friday night’s game against Nashua North. Watching his team’s second-half performance would have likely added to Keefe’s already painful situation.
North held Central to 15 points in the final two quarters when it pulled away for a 56-38 victory.
Levi Gosselin and Alonzo Linton each scored a game-high 20 points for North, which entered the contest with an 0-4 record in Division I.
“Our defense tonight was really good,” North coach Steve Lane said. “They don’t shoot the ball extremely well, but we got out on their shooters quickly and challenged — and we didn’t give them any second shots. That’s what Central has been known for for years.”
Keefe, who is in his first season as Central’s head coach, suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon in practice last week and had surgery on Monday. Assistant coach Rich Otis ran the team in Keefe’s absence.
“They told him to say away for a week,” Otis said. “He’ll be back on Monday. At least I hope he’ll be back.” It was a tight game until North used a 10-2 run to open up a 10-point lead late in the first half and North led 31-23 entering the third.
Central (1-3) cut its deficit to five points on an Antoine Revere basket with 6:13 remaining in the third quarter, but the Little Green went scoreless the rest of the quarter and didn’t score again until 55 seconds into the fourth.
“We can’t stretch the defense,” Otis said. “Nobody can knock down a shot on a consistent basis. Everybody plays a zone against us and packs it in. We were hoping defensively maybe we could turn them over a little bit and get some things in transition, but even when we do steal the ball it’s not a smooth transition in terms of putting the ball in the hole. It’s frustrating. The kids play hard defensively and defend well, we just cannot put that ball in the basket on a consistent basis.”
Eric Curtijo led Central with 11 points. Revere and Osiah Lewis each tossed in seven for the Little Green.
North led 34-29 early in the third, and closed the quarter with a 13-0 run. North’s lead peaked at 23, 54-31, on Linton’s three-point play with 3:48 left.
“We shared the ball a lot,” Lane said. “We moved the ball a lot. We had some leadership on the floor. All the characteristics of teams that usually win.
“We’re a work in progress and I’m looking forward to the next 13 (games).”