By Dave Dyer
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Sometimes, a team needs help where it’s least expected.
That was the case in part yesterday afternoon as North Andover surged past Concord-Carlisle 66-49 in the Division 2 North quarterfinals.
With regulars Brenden Miller and Brett Daly unavailable to play, and Concord-Carlisle focusing on stopping big men Isaiah Nelson (17 points, 15 rebounds) and Chris Bardwell (13 points, 12 rebounds), the Knights needed a pickup — and found it in their supporting cast.
First, junior Kyle White opened the game with a smooth 3-pointer and had eight points in the first half while, in the second half, Alex Gorgoni had three nifty drives as the Knights (18-4) rallied from a 34-31 deficit. Finally, in a more expected development, senior guard Derek Collins took over in the final period, scoring 10 of his game-high 22 points.
Add in some steady ballhandling from new starter John Enright and North Andover coach Mike McVeigh was more than pleased with the multitude of contributions, the combination of which helped advance the No. 2 seed Knights to Wednesday’s quarterfinals against No. 3 Wakefield (17-5) at Lawrence.
“Kyle White, Alex Gorgoni and John Enright are guys you don’t usually hear about, but they came through for us,’ said McVeigh. “Gorgoni is a captain who has been a great leader and he showed it today.”
North Andover definitely needed some help at halftime after a 22-point second quarter by the Patriots gave them the lead and the momentum. Forwards Blaine Taylor (11 points) and Chris Sellew (9 points) were having success driving to the basket for easy layups and short shots.
“We knew they were a good team but we thought they had just a couple of guys to focus on,” said McVeigh. “We found out we have to guard everyone. We changed our defense a little, but it was mainly our guys playing with more intensity.”
Heading the list was Nelson, who had three straight putbacks on offensive rebounds and scored eight points in the third quarter as the Knights took the lead and kept it.
Ahead 50-47 early in the fourth quarter, the Knights put the game away with a 12-point run. Collins made sure Concord-Carlisle couldn’t come back, sinking five free throws and 9 of 10 for the game.
As to whether Miller and Daly will be available Wednesday, McVeigh would only say that “it’s out of my hands.” The game is a rematch of last year’s Division 2 North semifinals in which Wakefield escaped with a 47-45 victory.
agateHed:North Andover 66, Concord-Carlisle 49
agateText:Division 2 North Quarterfinals
North Andover (66):@zzAgate:agateText: Kyle White 3 0-1 8, Casey Walsh 0 0-0 0, Derek Collins 6 9-10 22, Alex Gorgoni 3 0-0 6, John Enright 0 0-0 0, Chris Bardwell 6 0-0 13, Isaiah Nelson 6 4-6 17. Totals 24 13-17 66
agateText:Concord-Carlisle (49):@zzAgate:agateText: Jonathan Dor 1 0-0 2, Zachary Dowd 3 0-0 9, Henderson 4 4-4 12, Evan Boynton 0 0-0 0, Joseph Crowley 0 0-0 0, Chris Sellew 4 0-0 9, Blaine Taylor 5 1-2 11, Alexander Sugarman 3 0-2 6. Totals 20 5-7 49
agateText:3-pointers:@zzAgate:agateText: NA — White 2, Collins, Bardwell, Nelson; C-C — Dowd 3, Sellew
agateText:Concord-Carlisle (16-7):@zzAgate:agateText: 12 22 9 6 — 49
agateText:North Andover (18-4):@zzAgate:agateText: 17 14 16 19 — 66