By Eli Hearne (Boys Basketball Reporter).
Stretching into passing lanes and closing out on shooters, the Eagles’ variety of zone defenses disrupted and confused the hesitant “Big Red” guards all game.
On Tuesday night, the Sharon Eagles traveled to North Attleboro looking to get their season back on track after a horrible loss to Foxboro. Although the Eagles lost 54-52, they revived themselves against North as they played with the intensity they previously lacked.
“We weren’t really matching team’s intensity so it was definitely a focus (this week), to right out of the gate bring our intensity, and I think we did that,” senior captain Ricardo Ripley told The Talon.
With 4:22 to go in the game, the score was all squared up 46-46. North Attleboro went down the court and converted on an and-1, but was unable to finish the conventional three point play. Off the missed free throw, North big-man Jonny Friberg corralled the offensive board, ultimately leading to an uncontested layup by North Attleboro’s Brent Dougherty, putting the Rocketeers up 50-46. Yet the Eagles answered back with a three pointer from junior Jimmy Fitzhenry putting the Eagles down 1. The Rocketeers responded with a free throw line jumper from Peterson, extending their lead to 3. Yet with a hand in his face, Fitzhenry buried another three from the corner, tieing up the game at 52 with 1:47 to go.
After both North and Sharon were unable to convert on their pursuing possessions, the Rocketeers held the ball with a little over 30 seconds left in regulation, practically giving them the last possession.
After two timeouts by North, the Rocketeers swung the ball around, eventually ending up with a ball in the hands of Friberg. Following a missed first-layup, Friberg was able to corral his miss and finish on his next attempt, giving North the 54-52 lead with 2.5 seconds left. Sharon’s Ricardo Ripley clanked the half-court attempt off of the backboard, securing the win for North, and loss for Sharon, 54-52.
North Attleboro took the lead early in the game with two threes from Brent Doherty (13) and layups from Jonny Friberg (14). At the end of the first, North lead the Eagles 19-12.
The second quarter was all Eagles. The Eagles came out soaring on a 11-0 run with threes from both Ricardo Ripley (17) and Alex Kaufmann followed by a floater from Ripley, and a three from Jimmy Fitzhenry, putting the Eagles ahead 23-19.
After exchanging layups, the Eagles head into the locker room at half with a two-point lead, 27-25.
“We challenged them all week in practice because the second quarter is where the wheels came off last week against Foxboro,” Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson told Hockomock Sports. “We had a good group defensively and we used our defense to push our offense,” he added.
The third quarter was back and forth with Sharon’s big-man Malik Lorquet (15) and guard Ricardo Ripley carrying the load for the Eagles. It was all tied up at 34-34 with 4:06 left in the quarter when North went on a short run. Yet the Eagles battled back, heading into the fourth quarter down three, 45-42.
Overall, according to Ripley, Sharon “got back on track on what our goal is as a team.”
The Eagles (2-5) will head to Canton (3-4) in what can be officially labeled a must-win game.