NASHUA — For as balanced as Nashua North’s offensive attack was in its 63-52 win over Division I rival Bishop Guertin on Friday night, it was the defense that pleased Steve Lane most.
“Defensively, I thought that was the difference tonight, especially in the first half,” he said. “We held them to 17 points in the first half and they’re a team that averages (63.5 points coming into the game). I think our defensive effort really set the tone for us getting easy buckets in transition and running in our style.”
A big part of North’s success was limiting BG’s Dylan Santosuosso. Though he finished with 18 points — on par with his season average — he scored five in the first half, including one in the second quarter.
That forced the Cardinals to look elsewhere for offense. Sam Mullett finished the first half with seven, but nobody else scored more than three.
“We didn’t run our offense the way we would have liked to,” BG coach John Fisher said. “They’re an athletic team and a good defensive team. They’re a very talented defensive team.”
Meanwhile, the Titans had no problem scoring. They scored 16 in the first and another 16 in the second to take a 32-17 lead into the break.
Brenden Choate attacked the basket hard in the first half, scoring eight of his 12 points. Between that and Curtis Harris’ dribble penetration, North opened up shooters on the outside with Emeka Okorie, Nathan Kane and Joshua Lentz cashing in.
“I don’t even look at the scorebook, so I don’t even know who scores the points most of the time, to be honest,” Lane said. “I just thought we got better looks tonight and didn’t settle. We’ve got some pretty good shooters that can knock them down and they proved it tonight.”
Okorie and Kane each finished with 15 points to lead North while Harris scored four of his 10 in the fourth quarter to help keep BG at arm’s length. Harris was 6-of-9 from the free-throw line.
“I don’t think Curtis has played like Curtis can due to a few factors,” Lane said. “Tonight we got really good Curtis and I’ll take that every night.”
No matter what the Cardinals did it seemed like North had an answer. A prime example of that came in the beginning of the second half. BG scored four quick points but the Titans responded by hitting back-to-back threes to increase their lead by two.
Santosuosso caught fire in the third with eight points but it wasn’t enough to help chip away.
Fisher wasn’t disappointed in his team’s effort, but did admit this was a good test for BG (7-2).
“There’s nothing better in athletics than to have a worthy opponent,” he said. “Nashua North is an absolutely worthy opponent. They’re tremendously talented and this is exactly where I want my team on a Friday night. I wouldn’t say we circled this game on the calendar. We’ve taken this season one game at a time all year.”
Lane felt similarly, saying there’s still a lot of work to be done despite getting the victory over a crosstown rival. North is 7-1.