EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 1, 2010

Tourney heartbreaker: North Andover falls on buzzer-beater

(Continued)

For the first three quarters North Andover was having trouble in its attempt to break through the puzzling zone that Lynn Classical offered. Unable to get inside to Blane, North Andover found its offense stifled as the Classical defense was keyed on O'Connell.

"It was tough for us to move and cut (on their zone)," said Blane. "They are quick and active."

North Andover found itself in a 43-28 hole after the third quarter, with that distance created by a quarter-ending 11-2 Lynn Classical run.

"(In the fourth quarter) we finally found something that worked," said Blane, who had a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to spark the comeback.

The Knights opened the fourth quarter with a 12-4 blitz to cut the deficit to seven (47-40) when Matt Sifferlen made a swift under hand move with 5:02 to play.

"It takes a lot of character to come back in that situation and these kids displayed that today," said North Andover head coach Mike McVeigh.

"Alex just willed his way to the hoop in the fourth quarter," said McVeigh. "And Tommy is a confident man who wants to take the shots."

With both confidence and momentum on North Andover's side, O'Connell pulled the Knights within three (48-45) with a long-distance shot with 4 minutes to play.

"We were getting some good defensive stops and had the crowd behind us and we started to pound it to the big man (Blane) inside," said O'Connell.

The game stayed close and North Andover pulled to within two and, following a Classical turnover, had the ball with 32 seconds left. However, that trip came up empty and set the stage for the Grassa free-throw miss and the Ricketts' two successful free throws.

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