---- — 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.”
Dantae Neal had 14 points and Fabian added 10 for the Lancers. The big man, Franziel Reyes, was off to a quick start, scoring Lawrence’s first six points, but a couple ticky-tack touch fouls sent him to the bench early and basically took him out of the game.
At 10-3, Division 2 North contenders have to be looking seriously at the Knights right now. But just how good can this team that lost four huge starters from last year, be . What are they?
“I think we can beat anyone in the state,” said Daley. “We can play with anyone, but we also can lose to any team out there, too.”
North Andover 69, Lawrence 52
Lawrence (52): Luis Torres 0 1-4 1, Kevin Fabian 3 3-3 10, Jonathan Paulino 2 2-2 6, Dantae Neal 6 2-2 14,
Julio Vicente 4 0-0 8, Franziel Reyes 2 4-5 8, Chen Chen 1 0-0 2, Bryan Morales 1 0-0 3, Totals 19 12-16 52
North Andover (69): Kyle White 5 2-3 14, Wabissa Bede 2 8-11 13, Brett Daley 7 1-2 20, John Enright 6 1-2 16, Rob Couyoumjian 1 0-0 3, James Testa 1 1-1 3, Totals 22 13-19 69
3-pointers: L — Fabian, Morales; NA — White 2, Bede, Daley 5, Enright 3, Couyoumjian
Lawrence (5-7): 10 20 8 14 — 52
North Andover (10-3): 21 21 13 14 — 69
RAIDERS SURVIVE, STRENGTHEN HOLD ON FIRST Central Catholic played without big man Nick Cambio (flu) and nearly paid the price, escaping the upset by Methuen with a 62-59 win. Down 40-36 into the fourth, the Rangers fought hard and actually had a shot to tie with 4.4 seconds. But the free throw on a four-point play attempt to tie it went awry and Tyler Nelson made both foul shots with 1.1 seconds to play, icing it for the Raiders. Nelson finished with 28 for the Raiders, while Tim Galloway-Burke had 27 points in the Methuen middle.