LUNENBURG — Points in the paint is a vital statistic in any basketball game, and it proved to be the key as North Middlesex rolled past Groton-Dunstable 54-41 in Wallis Park Summer Basketball action on Wednesday evening.
Scoring most of those points in the paint for the winners was Ben Ingerson, who finished with 29 points and ten rebounds. Groton-Dunstable simply couldn’t cope with his size and his relentless energy. He used the spin-move to advantage throughout the game and carried North Middlesex to the victory.
“Ben is big and strong and was very active tonight,” said North Middlesex coach Mark Dellasanta. “We were more aggressive tonight and played a lot better defense. We used a full-court press in the second half and it created the tempo we wanted to play at.”
“We had trouble matching up with the size of Ingerson,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Pat Romich. “He hit almost every shot he took. For us, Dan Powell played the best game I’ve ever seen him play, and he did everything he could to keep us in it. Steve Carroll’s shot wasn’t falling, but he worked really hard in the game.”
Ingerson made his presence felt quickly, scoring the first eight points of the game, including a pair of baskets after grabbing offensive rebounds. North Middlesex dominated off the boards in the contest, outrebounding Groton-Dunstable 39-24.
Groton-Dunstable struggled at the offensive end in the early going, failing to score over the first three minutes, but drew to within 10-6 when Mike Silinonte connected on a lay-up.
North Middlesex bounced back to score six of the next eight points as Ryan Woodward sandwiched a pair of drives around a lay-up by Ingerson to re-build the lead to eight at 16-8.
Groton-Dunstable tightened up their defense and started to force some turnovers, and got a strong offensive spurt from Dan Powell as they put together a 16-7 half-closing run. Powell scored six of the points on a hook and a pair of drives to lead the way while Ricky Akins chipped in with a fast break lay-up and a 15-footer as Groton-Dunstable grabbed a 24-23 lead at intermission.
The first six baskets of the second half resulted in lead changes, and Powell put Groton-Dunstable on top 30-29 with a drive after two minutes of play.
After North Middlesex tied things up with a free throw, Ingerson put them on top by slicing through the Groton-Dunstable defense and finishing off a drive for a 32-30 lead.
Sean Edmonds answered with a pair of free throws to tie the game, but Phil Aiello finished off a darting drive to give North Middlesex a 34-32 edge. Ingerson added a drive for a basket, and Aiello swished a pair of free throws to put North Middlesex in charge 38-32. Twice Groton-Dunstable drew to within four points, the final time at 40-36 when Powell drained a 15-footer, but North Middlesex iced the game with a 14-3 spurt to move in front 54-39.
“Phil Aiello ran the show and played really well for us,” said Dellasanta. “Nate Moore and Tyler Kimbar really stepped up for us tonight, and Ryan Woodward also played really well.”
Kimbar scored six points and hauled down six rebounds for North Middlesex, while Aiello (five rebounds) and Moore (four rebounds) each chipped in with five points.
Powell paced Groton-Dunstable with 19 points while Akins added six points and four rebounds. Ryan Barrett did a solid job of running the offense and played aggressive defense.
“When we made our first half run, we used a diamond press and were able to slow the pace of the game down and create turnovers,” said Romich. “When North Middlesex broke the game open in the second half, they were able to break the press and get some easy baskets.”