behind Huberdault’s 7 three-pointers
Photo: Alex Givins-Perry (#3) and Michael Rapoza (#25) fought hard all night
by Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER – Bartlett senior co-captain Matt Huberdault had a career- high 28 points, including 7 three-pointers, to lead the Indians past the Shepherd Hill Rams 69-64 in a real thriller in front of a packed house at Bartlett on Friday night.
The Indians came out shooting early and opened an 18-12 lead after the opening quarter behind a couple of three-pointers by Huberdault and 6 points by sophomore Jacob Mailloux.
Sophomore power forward Chris Lindstrom, making his first varsity start, scored 6 points and the Rams played a strong zone defense to outscore the Indians 15-14 in the second quarter to cut the Indians lead to 32-27 at the half.
The third quarter was an all-out war as at one point the Rams erased a 12-point Indians lead and moved ahead 43-42 on a basket by 6’5” freshman Michael Rapoza, who had a monster 13-point quarter.
However, Huberdault would not be denied, burying 3 three-pointers, and helping the Indians take a 52-47 into the final quarter.
Mailloux and junior Alex Givins-Perry both took control of the boards in the fourth quarter and an incredible pass play from Huberdault to Givins-Perry for a basket drove the home crowd into a frenzy and gave the Indians what seemed like a secure 14-point lead.
The Rams then went on a remarkable 13-point run behind Rapoza’s outstanding play and a couple of enormous three-point shots by Tyler Martin to make it a 65-64 with less than two minutes left.
The final minutes came down to free throws and Huberdault made two big ones while Givins-Perry and Akeem Belnavis each made one to seal the deal for the Indians.
“Their size and physicality posed some problems for us, our big guys are finessed at times,” said Indians coach Tony Paranto. “They did a good job, but we were fortunate that (Matt) Huberdault was red hot for us tonight. It’s his home court, he’s been here for four years, and our guys did a good job finding him.”
“You can throw the records out the door when these two teams play, the crowd was intense, so when you walk out with a win in a game like this, we’ll take it,” said Paranto, who’s Indians are now 5-1.
Rams coach Duane Corriveau wanted the win but was pretty pleased with his team's play. “We had to stop them from running and gunning so we tried to match them with a zone defense and it worked against them except for number 12 (Huberdault). He burned us, that was the only chink in the armor. We came all the way back and got the lead but we couldn’t hold him.”
Corriveau praised his young freshman Rapoza and even threw in some humor. “He’s a freshman who plays like a junior and senior; he’s also a straight A student, smarter than the coach.”
Huberdault led all scorers with 28, while Mailloux (20 points and 11 rebounds) and Givins-Perry (15 points and 11 rebounds) continued to give the Indians a dynamic duo on the inside.
Rapoza had an eye-opening breakthrough game with 20 points for the Rams, while Tyler Martin had 12 points, including those two huge late three-pointers which made it close at the end. Justin Terlizzi also had 11 for the Rams, who are now 2-3.
The Rams take on Quabbin at home on Wednesday, January 2, while the Indians travel to Millbury on Friday, January 4.
The Indians took the prelim 83-69 behind 27 points from freshman Justin “The Machine” Speights and 20 from Jacob Simonis.
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