EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 24, 2012

Lack of effort dooms Hillies against Reading

HAVERHILL – Sometimes you just need a coach to sum up the situation.

Haverhill’s Mike Trovato wasn’t shy in critiquing his squad’s performance – or lack thereof – in yesterday’s 66-50 loss to visiting Reading.

“Before this game, I thought we were headed in the right direction,” said Trovato, whose Hillies dropped their fifth straight to open the season. “But today we got absolutely no effort. We don’t even need to get into the mistakes because there was just no effort for the first time all season.”

The lack of inertia was evident early as Reading (3-1) needed only five minutes before opening up a double-digit lead en route to advantages of 22-10 after the first quarter and 36-22 at halftime.

“We’ve played every second of every game as hard as we could (before yesterday),” Trovato said. “We’ve played some of the top teams in the state (including losses to North Andover, Central Catholic and St. John’s Prep), and (yesterday) in what should have been an even matchup, we came out with no intensity and no focus. That right there is the story of that one.”

The lack of inertia was especially evident on the defensive end – specifically under the basket where Reading racked up layup after layup. Of the Rockets’ 16 first-half field goals, 13 were layups. In the game, Reading had layups on 19 of their 27 field goals.

“We gave up a ton of those,” Trovato said. “I’m disappointed, and I’m sure (the players are).”

But that’s not to say, the Hillies, which feature four players vital to the school’s breakout football season, didn’t show flashes of better things to come.

In fact, with Anthony Dionne (who scored seven of his team-high 17 in the third quarter), Shain Roche (four of his five) and freshman starter Saul Phiri (four of his nine) doing the damage, Haverhill outscored the Rockets in the third quarter.

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