By Tim Lima
---- — NEWBURYPORT – The Clippers fell short in a tightly contested game last night, falling to Georgetown on the hardwood 50-46.
A four point score differential doesn’t do it justice. A game of back-and-forth defense kept a low-scoring game tight, as the widest margin after each of the first three quarters was just two.
“It was a great game,” Newburyport head coach Tom L’Italien said. “It was a battle. They made a few more plays than us and beat us in the paint a little bit. We had some good looks and just couldn’t knock them down.”
Georgetown was a team riding a wave of emotion, something they exhibited with their play. It was just their second game after learning of the death of their former mentor and coach Mike Rowinski who passed away on Monday. The game began with a moment of silence in his honor.
“I think it’s important to give hats off to the Georgetown staff and kids,” L’Italien said. “I know it was a tough, emotional week for them. I give them credit. They found a way today.”
A playoff style atmosphere was felt from the get-go. Seats were as hard to come by as momentum was, as neither team benefited from profound runs offensively. A timely layup by Newburyport’s Dillon Guthro was met by a hit three-pointer by Georgetown’s Matt Gott which was soon equalized by Newburyport’s Dan Baribeault seconds later. It was that kind of game.
The Royals would eventually grow their lead to nine, though it didn’t last. Two three-pointers by Baribeault with just over three minutes remaining had the lead to just three.
“He plays the most basketball in our program and he’s getting the big shots,” L’Italien said. “He worked his butt off in the off-season and he likes the big moment. We’re glad he’s on our side.”
Four clutch free throws by Georgetown captain Ben Noelk would eventually seal the victory for his team, improving their record to 8-2. With the loss, Newburyport falls to 5-3.