The run continues.
The Watertown High boys basketball team advanced to the Division 3 North finals for the second straight year with a 55-33 win over Pentucket Tuesday night at Wakefield High School.
The Raiders will next face the winner of Thursday night’s game between St. Mary’s vs. Bedford in the Division 3 North finals at Tsongas Center in Lowell on Saturday.
So far, no team has challenged the reigning champs in the MIAA playoffs, as they have won their games by margins of 45, 18, and 22 points.
The seventh-seeded Raiders (17-6) were led by senior captain John Korte, who had 25 points and eight rebounds in helping defeat the sixth-seeded Sachems (16-7). Korte has averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs thus far.
He has been the latest Raider to step up in a big way during the playoffs: In the quarterfinals against Lynnfield, senior captain Julio Fulcar scored 32 points, and in the first round versus Essex Tech, senior Wenston Rodriguez scored 19 points.
After Korte, the rest of the team spread the scoring out evenly Tuesday. Fulcar had 8 points and three rebounds, junior Yoseph Hamad had 7 points and three rebounds, Rodriguez had 6 points and eight rebounds, and freshman Gabe Spinelli added 6 points.
However, the real reason why the Raiders have been finding success in the tournament is the same as it has been for years — their strong defense.
“Defense has always been our calling card,” said head coach Stephen Harrington.
Korte echoed his coach’s sentiment.
“Our on-ball pressure [frustrated them],” the senior said. “We do it exceptionally well and they were surprised to see it.”
Watertown’s defensive efforts paid off, as they picked up many points in transition off of steals (six total) and turnovers. Pentucket was never able to gain offensive momentum, not cracking 30 points until late in the fourth quarter.
Harrington was happy with the win, but he was already looking ahead to the next matchup.
“Tonight we just found a way to get to the next game. Now we’re going to prepare for both of those teams.”
–March 8, 2018–