Watertown’s bid for shocking upset falls short

Raiders almost eliminate top-seeded North Reading from MIAA Division 3 North boys' basketball tournament

Amin Touri, Raider Times staff

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Despite taking a 37-21 lead into halftime, the Watertown High boys’ basketball team couldn’t pull off a shocking upset of top-seeded North Reading on Saturday night. The host Hornets (19-2) put together a big second half for a 61-53 win in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Division 3 North state tournament. Watertown High North Reading boys' basketball Division 3 North Grace DuguayRaider Times photo / Grace Duguay

The Raiders got 17 points from senior center Derek Dipietrantonio, but they weren’t enough. The eighth-seeded Raiders (11-11) could only muster 16 points in the second half after dominating the first 16 minutes of play.

Led by 14 first-half points from Dipietrantonio, the Raiders came out firing against the Hornets. Sophomore forward John Korte had his name all over the scoresheet, with 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 blocks in the first half alone. Senior Nathan Nebiye added an extra spark off the bench, putting up 8 points in the second quarter. Watertown High North Reading MIAA Division 3 North boys' basketball Melissa RoseRaider Times photo / Melissa Rose

Up 37-21 at the half, the Raiders were feeling confident, until it all came crashing down.

The host Hornets, with a wild white-out crowd behind them, came out of the intermission swinging, ripping off a 30-4 run in the third and early fourth quarters. The Raiders’ 16-point lead was cut to just 1 after three quarters (41-40). Minutes later, North Reading was up double-digits themselves, with a 51-41 lead.Watertown High North Reading boys' basketball Division 3 North Grace DuguayRaider Times photo / Grace Duguay

The Hornets made some defensive adjustments at halftime, switching from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man set, completely stagnating the Watertown offense, which only put up 4 points in the entire third quarter.

North Reading did an excellent job of clogging the lane where Dipietrantonio had dominated the first half. When the Raiders had to settle for outside jumpers, shots they were knocking down in the first half just wouldn’t fall come crunch time.Watertown High North Reading MIAA Division 3 North boys' basketball Melissa RoseRaider Times photo / Melissa Rose

Though reeling, the Raiders weren’t quitting, and nearly mounted a comeback of their own in the final minutes.

Sophomore Julio Fulcar knocked down a huge 3-pointer to cut the lead to 55-51 with 1:30 to go, but the Raiders never got any closer, as the Hornets knocked down free throw after free throw throughout the fourth quarter, sealing the game from the charity stripe.

As the Raiders walked off in disbelief, the North Reading fan section stormed the court after their team completed a huge comeback, avoiding the upset, and moving on in the state tournament to play No. 5 Bedford (15-7).

Watertown High North Reading boys' basketball Division 3 North Grace DuguayRaider Times photo / Grace Duguay

 

Fulcar finished with 10 points on the night, and freshman Vondre Chase added another 10.

Korte, despite only finishing with 4 points, nearly had himself a double-double with rebounds and blocks, grabbing 10 boards and turning away nine shots.

Watertown High North Reading MIAA Division 3 North boys' basketball Melissa RoseRaider Times photo / Melissa Rose

–March 5, 2016–

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