Ipswich got on the board first in the second half thanks to a Quinn O’Connor bucket. A free throw from Guthro was next, and then another two from O’Connor. But any momentum the Tigers were hoping to build sank in on itself after the next two points from Fontaine and a three-pointer from Michaels.
The Tigers cut into the Clipper lead briefly in the fourth quarter, but only briefly as Newburyport got its second wind and marched to the decisive final.
“I thought we played through some sloppiness,” said L’Italien. “We have a saying, hustle makes up for mistakes, and we just hustled at the right time.”
Tigers coach Alan Laroche said he was happy with his young team’s effort.
“Our guys have never given up this season, no matter what situation they are in,” said Laroche. “They work hard. And it’s great to see. We’re a young group of guys, mostly juniors. So the guys know they need to continue to work every day.”
“Tom does a great job of getting these guys ready to play every game,” Laroche said of L’Italien and his Clippers. “The intensity level that you see, you’ve got to match that every quarter, and when you don’t, your team is going to break down.”
“Overall, we know what we need to work on,” said L’Italien. “I give Ipswich credit, we knew they were going to come out and compete and they did. So we’ll get back to work and it is time to get ready for the next one.”