HUDSON — The Nashua North High boys’ basketball team is off to a quick start this season. A strong effort out of the gate not only defines its season thus far, but also North’s effort on Friday against Alvirne of Hudson.
The Titans strung together crippling scoring runs to start the game and the second half that propelled them to a 65-55 triumph over the Broncos. North (4-1) used the first four minutes of each half to post separate 14-2 stretches, which helped fend off Alvirne’s stretches of consistency.
“Obviously a Division I win on the road is a bonus,” North coach Steve Lane said. “I just got through telling the kids that. A Division I win is great, but getting it done on the road against a quality team like that should have our guys proud of the way they played.”
Balance has defined the season for Lane’s Titans and was their strength again on Friday as four players finished in double figures. Curtis Harris led North’s quartet with 19 points, including 16 in the second half, while Brenden Choate (15), Josh Lentz (13) and Nate Kane (10) followed.
Alvirne, losers of three of its last four games, got 14 points from Joe Canelas and 13 from Jamie Bertrand.
North’s blistering offense to open the game was wiped away by halftime as Alvirne stabilized itself on either end of the floor to draw to within 23-20 at the break. The Broncos were not as fortunate in second half, though, as the Titans’ 14-2 stretch there was part of a 25-point third quarter that ended with North up 48-35.
“They came out with more intensity than we did,” Alvirne coach Marty Edwards said. “We had that intensity late in the game, but we need it that way the whole game. It’s early and we’re still trying to figure out who we are, but the guys need to realize it’s not all about Xs and Os. It’s about that energy and intensity.”
The Broncos tried to make a game of it in the fourth as an 8-1 spurt cut North’s lead to 54-47 with 2:40 to go. North, which let Alvirne creep back with turnovers and poor shot selection, re-established a comfortable edge as Harris went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line and the Titans’ defense contested the Broncos’ feverish 3-point attempts.
“The kids give themselves a chance by playing defense,” Lane said. “They are a scrappy, tough, aggressive, no-fear type of group. If we can hold teams somewhere in the 50s, we’re going to give ourselves a chance.”
Despite the spread scoring, North’s offense hasn’t been as consistent as Lane would like to this point. That showed when Alvirne held North to five points during a six-minute stretch after the Titans shot out in the first five minutes of the game. The start to the second half and carrying that momentum into the fourth quarter is what Lane would like to see more of and what Edwards dreaded seeing.
“Their penetration was good,” Edwards said. “We have to keep guys in front of us. As soon as we got beat, they were hitting the heart of our defense, kicked it and got open looks. I have to work harder on making these guys see all that.”