Guards key first round win for smaller North Andover

BEVERLY, Mass. – North Andover visited Beverly for a first round game on Tuesday night, and the game had plenty of drama. The game swung back and forth several times, and in the end North Andover came away with 68-57 win as the tougher team that made the last run.

In the second quarter, it looked like the game could get away from Nick Cross (Sr. SG) and Beverly. North Andover ran out to a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, then ran the lead to 24-10 just over two minutes into the second. Beverly rallied to within six at the half, then scored ten unanswered points a few minutes into the third to take the lead.

The game went back and forth in the last quarter until, ironically, North Andover looked to be in trouble. The Scarlet Knights had regained the lead, but Spencer Reeve (6’3″ Jr. PF) fouled out with 3:17 left. That hurt given their lack of size to begin with, but it didn’t seem to hurt them as they took the game over and won going away.

North Andover did a nice job of slowing down Cross, who often had a man right on him. The leading scorer in the Northeastern Conference had just ten points on the evening, and while some of those struggles aren’t entirely on him as he didn’t get a lot of good scoring chances, he shares some responsibility. He is a slightly above-average athlete who can shoot, but he didn’t show those tools much on the evening and now looks ahead to his college choice.

Reeve is perhaps the “potential” player for North Andover. He has grown physically over the last year and also improved nicely, and he may not be done growing. His body looks to still have some to go and he has some length, and he’s quite baby-faced as well. Although he has a slight frame, he showed some potential offensively with a nice left-handed finish while fouled and he seems to have a nice stroke for his size. The big question is whether or not he’ll grow more for an inside spot in college or will have to play on the perimeter.

Wabissa Bede (So. PG-SG) was a key at both ends of the floor as he scored 13 points and was a big part of the defensive effort for the Scarlet Knights. A willing defender, he gets after it at that end while possessing decent ball skills and athleticism. He didn’t shoot well on the night, and that doesn’t look to be his forte, but as head coach Paul Tanglis notes, Bede does a lot for this team and he has some potential. He’s not a baby physically, which means growth will likely have to come primarily from developing his skill package.

The leading scorer on the night for the Scarlet Knights was John Enright (Sr. PG-SG), who scored 18 points. Enright showed some speed with the ball and along with Bede keyed the backcourt’s energetic play that helped them run out to the early lead, then make the big run in the fourth quarter. As the Scarlet Knights are a smaller team, the play of the guards was going to be a key, and Enright and Bede were active at both ends of the floor.

North Andover will know their next opponent by Wednesday night, as they will play the winner of Marblehead-Danvers played on that evening.

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