NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Knights Basketball first four game winning streak since 2017-18 season

On Thursday, Jan. 20, NECC Knights was in action and defeated Eastern Nazarene JV 84 to 63.  It was there first game back at home in the spring semester.

They host Eastern Nazarene JV for a non-conference division game. Tip off was at 6 p.m.

Fans are not permitted for the next four home games during the month of January as voted by the NJCAA region 21 athletic director due to the high spike of the omicron variant.

The Knights have won three in a row. Heading into Jan. 20 contest they were looking to win there first four game winning streak since 2017.

Mehmet Asik of Ankara, Turkey, said he did not felt weird at all playing without fans.

“To be honest I didn’t felt weird and I don’t think any of us felt weird ,”he said. “Playing with fans is always more fun and push us more but at the end of the day we do what we do and our job is go and play…I think we were okay but if we had fans that will be more fun for sure.”

I asked coach Darren Stratton what kind of preparation the boys were doing during the break.

“They were doing a strength and conditioning program over a drive once we left on break and the other thing is we started up on Jan. 3 as far our regular practice goes…” Stratton said.

I asked Coach Stratton before the game if playing without fans would affect the players.

He explained, “I think we having an advantage towards that for one reason. We were one of  two junior colleges in our region last year that were able to play during a Covid season. So last year Christian Kinsley, Daniel Almarante, Cameron Stratton played through the Covid season where we didn’t had any fans… I think that they can help the kids on our basketball team get them mentally prepared without fans and that’s a good strength,” Stratton said.

Matt Logue, Elijah Hass, Cameron Stratton and Ezekiel Barning was not eligible to play against Eastern Nazarene JV because of academic issues.

The Knights started off aggressive to begin the game 11-3 run in the first 2 minutes and 57 seconds. During that run Phillip Cunningham of Haverhill had 4 points, Daniel Almarante of Lawrence had 5 points and Mehmet Asik of Ankara Turkey had 4 points.

Photo by Jose Rodriguez, Sports Editor

Coach Stratton talking to his player after he called a full time out against Eastern Nazarene JV

Stratton told me during the post game interview “Right now we’re going with a unit that we feel comfortable with for second semester. They really played well, this unit, against Mass Bay and we felt this unit moves the ball very well. They played very well together both offensive and defensively… this unit that we started really seems to play well together and clicked together…” Stratton said.

The Knights had 8 fouls in the first period while Eastern Nazarene JV had 5. Eastern Nazarene JV had 2 turnovers b during the first 6 minutes in the first period. Meanwhile for the Knights Jasjit Banwait of Malton Ontario had a turnover.

Knights were leading 41 to 29 they were up by 12 at the half. Despite the Knights having a 12 points led Stratton told me “I think we left points on the table in the first half and also defensively we gave up some points that I think that we going to give up on the game to comes…” Stratton said.

Daniel Almarante of Lawrence told me “We were moving the ball really well trying to cut, pass work in our fundamentals and like R2 said (nickname for Mehmet) our chemistry got a lot better.” Almarante said.

Daniel Almarante of Lawrence scored 19 points throughout the game 10 in the first half and 9 in the second half.

“I think Daniel is getting better and better every single game I know they is a lot Daniel needs to improve on but he is a kid that always come to work he always puts in the extra time he always listens he always take the criticism positivity…” Stratton said.

Asik of Ankara, Turkey scored 20 points during the game.

Stratton talked to me a little bet about his performance ? “I am going to be honest with you his scoring might have been there but I attribute that to the passes he received from his teammates because Mehmet tonight was struggling defensively that has become a concern for me and we going to talk about…” Stratton said.

In the second period the Knights was struggling in between they started strong when the second period start and when it ended but in the middle it was a problem for them they weren’t as aggressive. The Knights had 9 fouls during the second period overall they finished with 17 fouls during the game.

The performance of Daniel Almarante and Mehmet Asik  combining 39 points together it was enough to defeat Eastern Nazarene JV 84 to 63.

This is the Knights first four game winning streak since 2017.They will host Bunker Hill Community College for a conference division game on Sun. Jan. 23 tip off is scheduled to be at noon.

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