BYFIELD – Triton’s early-season win at Newburyport was just a distant memory last night, as the Clippers boys basketball team controlled play and the scoreboard on their way to a 52-38 win.
While strong offense propelled Triton (4-12) over Newburyport (8-7) on Dec. 30, it was their poor shooting last night that proved critical. Through the games first 24 minutes, the Vikings scored only 15 points. In the final eight minutes, they scored 23. It just wasn’t their night.
Newburyport’s Dillon Guthro took advantage of his size, benefiting from Triton big-man Ellsworth Rogers absence due to injury. Without Rogers on the floor, Triton didn’t have the size to contain Guthro, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the contest.
Triton’s inability to get to the free throw line also proved costly. It wasn’t until 52 seconds remained in the third quarter that the Vikings attempted a free throw. They would finish 4-for-7 from the line, while Newburyport went 8-for-20.
For Clippers head coach Tom L’Italien, the focus wasn’t on revenge but on capitalizing on a rare second-chance opportunity.
“We said in life you don’t get many second-chance opportunities,” L’Italien said. “We had the chance tonight to play for the second time against a rival. We knew they were going to play hard, and our kids played hard. We were very pleased with the effort and are happy to walk out of here with the win.”
After some strong offensive performances in recent games, Triton junior Corey Parsons struggled to get into his offensive rhythm early. Parsons picked it up late, however, and finished with 18 points and 3 rebounds on the night. He was one of only two Vikings to score more than four points.
“We weren’t getting into the paint,” Triton head coach Dave Clay said. “Part of our offense is spreading the floor, getting past the defender and kicking out.”
Of Triton’s 38 points, 18 came by way of the three as they struggled to fill the void left by Rogers’ absence.
“It would have been nice to have a big body against another big body on the floor,” Clay said. “But, I thought Conor Henry, as a sophomore, stepped up pretty big and had some good minutes for us.”
Henry would finish just one rebound shy of the team high with five.
For Newburyport, it’s one step closer to the post season. With an 18-game schedule, the Clippers have to win nine in order to qualify for the state tournament. They now sit just one win shy with three games remaining, though their focus hasn’t changed from day one.
“We didn’t consider this a must-win,” L’Italien said. “We wanted to have the same mindset since game one, have a great practice and play a great game. We are looking to gave a great practice tomorrow and hopefully play a great game against Masconomet on Monday.”
At a Glance Newburyport: Drew Bourdeau - Eight rebounds Michael Shay - 15 points, one rebound Dan Baribeault - 10 points, two rebounds Triton: Kevin Clark - Two points, six rebounds Bradley Whitman - 11 points, three rebounds Jake Germinara - Four rebounds Cam Armand - Four rebounds