GEORGETOWN — A rebuilding Georgetown boys basketball team (3-9) hosted a team on a roll in Newburyport last night (8-4), and the results were a furious back-and-forth battle that would end with a Royals’ surprise 66-64 overtime victory.
“I told the guys all year, we’re a puzzle,” said Royals coach Mike Rowinski, whose team lost seven in a row before last night. “The pieces have just not been fitting. There were nights were our big kids did well, but our guards struggled. Then our guards played well, and our big kids struggled. And tonight we put the puzzle together.”
The Royals started the evening off hot with a pair of points from Christian Gesualdi followed by three more from Matt Gott. Newburyport’s Colby Morris sunk a pair next and teammate Ian Michaels tied things up with a 3-pointer of his own, followed by the same from Gesualdi. Royal Angel Sanquintin had two himself before Morris grabbed another three next followed by two from Royal Pat Bjork. The Royals began pulling away after two more from Gott on the way to a 20-10 tally at the end of the first quarter to silence the Newburyport faithful.
The Clippers began hacking away at the Georgetown lead at the start of the second quarter thanks to a pair from Michaels, a point from Caleb Stott, and two more from Morris. The Royals remained strong thanks to a strong defense but the defense could only do so much with a wilting offense as Port outscored Georgetown 16-6 in the quarter headed for a 26-all tie at the half.
Both squads matched each other at the start of the second half until Clipper Dillon Guthro sank a free throw, followed by two from Morris and Gott made a shot in heavy traffic before Morris hit another three, followed by three more from Michaels. Georgetown’s Ben Noelk had a triple himself next, followed by two from Port freshman Dan Baribeault as the Royals kept pace on the way to a 42-41 tally going into the fourth quarter.
The final stanza would see the Royals grab a point while their defense held down the fort for the next three minutes until Royal CJ Ingraham grabbed another two at the line for a 3-point lead, followed by two from Michaels. Gesualdi sunk two next followed by a lay-up from Ingraham to put the Royals up five with only four minutes to go.
Michaels would begin those furious five minutes with a pair followed by two from the line from Morris to tie things at 49. Gesualdi answered that with two points of his own and Colt Fontaine tied things again until another Michaels three pulled his boys away and marching to the much too close victory.
Or so the Clippers thought when a traveling call on Traxler with 10 seconds left resulted in Bjork tying things up again, this time at 58 to force overtime.
Newburyport scored first in the extra frame on a pair from the line from Baribeault, followed by two from Bjork. A 3-pointer from Michaels gave the Clippers the lead as the Royals kept battling and a pair from Gesualdi jumped them up one. Port tied that with a Guthro free throw until Gesualdi struck again with six seconds left to give the Royals the win.
“You get what you deserve,” said Clippers coach Tom L’Italien. “They outworked us, they deserved the game. Yesterday was our worst practice of the year it showed tonight. I give Georgetown credit. They played hard. They had two of their regulars out and we knew they could score. We just got outworked, it was as simple as that. We were flat-footed. But we’ll get back to work and get ready for the next one.”
“We had our backs against the wall but hopefully we can keep this going for the rest of the year,” said Rowinski. “Because we’ve been saying we’re not as bad as our record indicates. We’re not, I know we’re not. And tonight we put it all together.”