EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 21, 2012

Big fourth quarter vaults Lawrence over Rangers

By Michael Muldoon

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LAWRENCE — Methuen kept it close for three quarters but Lawrence went on a 15-2 run early in the fourth and cruised to a 69-58 win yesterday in the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney nightcap.

First-year Lancer coach Raymond Nunez has run nine marathons, so he obviously believes in work and endurance. Both were evident last night for the 4-0 Lancers.

“We just played defense and got stops,” said Nunez, a former Christmas Tourney MVP for Central Catholic. “The kids were playing hard, that’s what we stress. We need to be the hardest working team.”

The Lancers flexed their muscles with 6-3 lefty leaper Roberto Speing (16) and muscleman Tre’Von Farley (14) combining for 30 points and yeoman work off the glass.

The age and experience showed vs. a Ranger team which starts four sophomores including impressive looking 6-5 Tim Galloway-Burke (14 points) and 6-3 Cooper Hammel (13 points).

In the back-breaking run, 5-7 junior speedster Julius Martinez nailed a wing 3-pointer, went coast-to-coast and was fouled, hit Farley for a lay-up and capped it with another lightning drive for a layup.

“I’m just trying to play hard defense and take it to the rim with my speed,” said Martinez, who transferred to Lawrence from Boston English last January. “Lawrence is a better program. I’m in the gym every day. Coach told me I have a good work ethic. He’s a like a father figure.”

Martinez and Co. can expect some tough love at practice before playing the winner of tonight’s Pinkerton-Greater Lawrence game. The semifinals will be here at the Wolfendale Gym on Thursday.

“We have a long way to go, especially on defense,” said the young coach, who is a graduate of Tufts. “We could have done a better job of getting the ball down low. That will come with time.”

Lawrence 69, Methuen 58

Methuen (58): Mark Sicard 4 0-0 9, Tim Galloway-Burke 6 2-4 14, Nathan Bueno 3 5-7 11, Jamal Rene 2 0-0 4, Cooper Hammel 4 2-2 13, Corey Bell 0 2-2 2, Jon Pierce 2 0-0 5. Totals 21 11-15 58

Lawrence (69): Esmelin Romero 4 2-3 10, Luis Torres 1 2-2 4, Julius Martinez 6 0-1 13, Kevin Fabian 1 0-1 3, Jonathan Paulino 1 1-2 3, Denny Gonzalez 1 0-0 2, Tre’Von Farley 6 2-2 14, Roberto Speing 5 6-7 16, Dantae Neal 2 0-0 4, Juan Cabrera 0 0-0 0, Gregory Trindidad 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 13-17 69

3-pointers: M - Hammel 3, Sicard, Pierce; L — Martinez, Fabian