By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
On Monday, Colby Duggan scored 2️⃣4️⃣ points in the 4th quarter. Monson needed all 24 to escape Northampton with a win over a good and well coached Northampton team.
Thursday was a new day and a new setting - the rangy town of Monson.
The first quarter was tightly contested. Duggan got off to a better start for the Mustangs. The Blue Devils were led early by strong interior play from Seth Finnessey. The Blue Devils got good perimeter play from Jacob Cancel and Jack Power. Cancel was hot from 3-pt range on Thursday. Cancel hit four 3s in the game, with 3 coming in the 4th to help Northampton put the game away. Power was active all over the court, getting steals and offensive rebounds.
The first quarter ended with Northampton up one, 11-10.
The second quarter saw a balanced offensive attack from the Mustangs. Connor Santos scored 7 in the 2nd. 5 Mustangs scored in the 2nd; only two Mustangs scored in the 1st quarter.
Northampton was living in the paint. Finnessey was going at Duggan and converting; he scored on some nice shots in the lane. Northampton’s Guards penetrated the Monson defense effectively. That dribble penetration got the Blue Devils shots in the lane or open shots on the perimeter.
At halftime, Northampton was ahead 30-28. This game was much more tightly contested than the first game. Monson was scoring better than Monday but their defense wasn’t as sharp. Northampton got any shot in the lane they wanted to get on Thursday.
The third quarter was very competitive. Each team was finding their shots on offense but not playing great defense. Monson took the lead in the 3rd, 44-40. Monson scored on multiple back-cuts. Northampton hit a bit of a rut in the 3rd. They couldn’t connect on some of the shots in the 2nd half, they made in the 1st half.
The comeback roles reversed on Thursday. Northampton had to make a comeback. Their comeback wasn’t as nearly as dramatic as Duggan’s 2️⃣4️⃣ in the 4th on Monday but a comeback nonetheless.
The Blue Devils scored 2 baskets to tie the game at 44. Cancel drained 2 3s to put Northampton up 50-46.
Those two 3s put Northampton up for good. Later into the 4th, a player from Northampton got a steal, took it the other way and made a layup through contact. The Monson player who fouled him was called for a foul but the Northampton player decided to reiterate that he scored 😂. He received a technical foul from the referee after a great play 😢🤷🏽♂️.
Monson didn’t have another run in them. The Blue Devils avenged Monday’s loss 62-53.
Scorers for Northampton:
Seth Finnessey - 21 points
Jacob Cancel - 20 points
Jack Power - 9 points
Jasper Coles - 6 points
Justin Rankins & Isaiah Ortiz - 3 points each
Scorers for Monson:
Colby Duggan - 20 points
Scottie Watson - 12 points
Connor Santos - 10 points
Danny Fiester - 7 points
Luke Hedspeth & Richard Ingrassia - 2 points each
After the game, I spoke with Northampton HC Rey Harp, Northampton Senior Guard Jack Power, Monson HC Dennis Vacon and Monson Senior Guard Danny Fiester.
🔵Northampton HC Rey Harp🟡
You avenged the loss from Monday. How did you get the victory tonight?
“I think we played better all year on the second time through. Its a hard year [to do scouting]. We moved the ball better today. We played really good defense and executed down the stretch. Defensively, we were prepared for an outstanding player. Monson has one of the top players around. It was a big win for us”.
Can you talk about what Seth Finnessey gave you tonight?
“I thought we got away from him too much on Monday because he had an outstanding start on Monday. He was able to score inside and outside...today he did a lot of work inside. Having somebody that’s versatile like that is good for us, it gives us a lot of different options to play off of it”.
Can you talk about what Jacob Cancel and Jack Power gave you tonight?
“Those are guys who can split defenses, attack the basket hard. They are the raptors for us that can attack at any time. They are on the wings and they attack the basket hard”.
🔵Northampton Senior Jack Power🟡
How did you feel coming into the game?
“I felt good. This is one we needed to win. As a team, losing a pretty tough game against them last time we needed to come out with a dub this time. And we did just that. We played better than we did last time. That’s what its about, getting better every game”.
What did you work on in practice in between games?
“We just worked on their sets. Stopping 22...Colby is going to score a lot of points, we know that, but we gotta limit his points the best we can and doing that as a team is what we worked on. Getting better, making our free throws...coming together more as a team”.
What has it meant to you to play for the Northampton basketball program?
“Its feels good. Coach Harp has a really good program, he knows what he is doing, he has been doing it for awhile. He instills in the team, as whole, responsibility and commitment...”.
🔵Monson HC Dennis Vacon⚪️
You led for 2 seconds on Monday and won. How did you feel coming into this game?
“Our guys gave their all, we had to go deep in the bench with the back to back games. It showed; you can definitely tell. We didn’t have it tonight”.
Why did your team struggle to defend the paint?
“We went pretty much man to man all 2nd half on Monday. We just didn’t have the legs tonight. They were eating in the paint, scoring at will in the 1st half”.
What message do you give to your team about composure?
“Yea, I mean these things happen. Not only is it hot in here, you know, tempers are running high. You have to create your own energy when there is no fans. Guys get a little too hyped up, that happens at times”.
🔵Monson Senior Guard Danny Fiester⚪️
How did you feel coming into the game today?
“I was a little banged up. I hurt my [upper leg] yesterday against Sabis but I was —excited for this game ‘cause of the last game, the dramatic finish. I wanted to get ‘em again. Little upset with the way it ended. We kinda fell apart in the 4th quarter but it is what it is”.
When did you start playing basketball?
“I started playing in 5th grade. I played JV the first couple of years and I’ve been on Varsity the last 3 years”.
What are plans after high school?
“Go to college; not looking to play any sports”.
Good luck. Thank you.
Fall 2 🍂🍃🍁 🌬