LOWELL – You could tell things were going poorly for Newburyport when the Clippers’ Eric Meyer bounced a ball off his foot in the first period.
Watertown's Tyler Romanelli had just hit a three to put his team up 9-6 and teammate Marco Coppola had followed that up by grabbing a steal and driving for a basket and foul. He converted the 3-point play to put Watertown up 12-6. Then, Meyer bounced the ball off his foot and Watertown’s Danny Kelly drilled another three. It was one thing after another.
Watertown finished off Newburyport easily 55-31 for the Division 3 North section title at Tsongas Center in Lowell.
The first quarter run was enough to give the Red Raiders a solid lead to maintain for the rest of the game. But that wasn’t enough. The Red Raiders put on a suffocating full court press in the second half, holding Newburyport to only eight points in the third quarter while extending their lead to 22 points at one point. They finished the third quarter up 40-20 and by that time they’d forced 11 turnovers by their opponents.
“We were up 14 at half,” Coppola said. “Coach just told us to put it in on them. Just put the game away in the third quarter. I just tried to step up my defensive intensity. I knew defense — turnovers — would lead to baskets. So that’s what I tried to do.”
Coppola, the state’s leading scorer, scored 21 points, grabbed five boards and recorded seven steals. Danny Kelly chipped in 14 points and six steals while Patrick McHugh added another six – all in the fourth quarter – for the Red Raiders.
Newburyport was led by Chris Jayne, who tallied 11 points in the game and five rebounds. Brett Fontaine chipped in with eight points and eight boards.
Watertown will play in the Division 3 state semifinal Tuesday at the TD Garden.
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- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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