NORTH ANDOVER — After sitting for weeks on the memory of collapsing to Lawrence High the first time around this season — outscored 31-3 in a colossal fourth quarter — there was no possible way North Andover could let it happen again, right?
“Not a chance!” said Knight junior Brett Daley after helping North Andover to a comfortable 69-52 win over the Lancers here at Crozier Fieldhouse last night. “Last time we played, (Lawrence gunner Kevin Fabian) went off on us and things kind of went crazy. We weren’t going to let that happen again.”
Daley set the tone for the Knights early, knocking home five first-half 3-pointers, each seemingly a foot longer than the previous one, and went on to lead all scorers with 20 in a game that Lawrence really never threatened.
But he was in no way alone with the long-range marksmanship. The Knights finished with 12 made triples in 29 attempts — a healthy 41 percent made.
“The shooting is extremely contagious,” said Daley. “We are all guards, and we all can shoot it.”
John Enright added 16 points, while Kyle White chipped in 14 and Wabissa Bede had a dozen.
Victory came with a reward as the Knights made their postseason reservation in the upcoming Division 2 state tourney.
“That’s a pretty big win for us, to get us there,” said first-year coach Paul Tanglis. “For the most part, we’ve been a gritty team grinding out games this year. This group has really bought in. They believe and it’s a nice accomplishment.
For Lawrence, which fell behind by as many as 19 in the second half and got no closer than nine in the fourth quarter, defeat comes with a devastating toll.
The Lancers fell to 5-7 and now stare at huge uphill climb if they are to qualify.
“You know, they inflicted some pain into us the first time around,” said Daley. “It’s just nice to see we could repay the favor in our place.”