NECC Observer

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

Knights Basketball first five game winning streak since 2012-13 season

On Sunday, Jan. 23, the NECC Knights tried to do something last achieved by the 2012-2013 team – win five straight games.

The Knights also was looking to pick up there first win against Bunker Hill Community College since Jan. 25, 2018.

The Knights defeated Bunker Hill 70 to 56 for a conference division game. The Knights were 5-2 on conference division game and 8-6 overall during the season heading into Sunday contest at noon.

The Knights if they want to win this game they need to control Angel Price Espada of Bunker Hill as he is averaging 36.5 points per game.

Stratton explained how they would incorporate a screen-and-roll technique which involves a teammate putting their body in front of the defender who is guarding the player who has the ball. This technique helps create easier opportunities to score.

“The plan heading to today’s game [is]  we going to start Cristian Kinsley on him. We feel he give us the best match up. Cristian is obviously our best defender that we have in the basketball team the coaching staff feels like. So we’re going to match with Cristian early. We going totally try to deny him the basketball trying to limit his touches and limit his clean looks at the basket what we will tried to do with him coming off of a screen and roll action, we are going blitz the screen and  roll action we will double him off the screen and roll. We’ll play 3 on 4 behind them hoping he gives up the basketball and then adjust off of that,” Stratton said.

This is a big test for Knights as CCRI it is similar to Bunker Hill a team that the Knights got blown out back on Dec 4 . This game this afternoon in my opinion it can be the turning point of the season for the Knights if they get this win.

“I think this game well be a test Nkrumah Jones (Bunker Hill head coach)  is been a veteran coach throughout this region similar to Rick Harris (CCRI head coach) two excellent coaches they been through the region they know what it takes to win in this region as far as CCRI and Bunker Hill goes I think CCRI has a little bit more depth then Bunker Hill but very comparable… so it is a good test for us to feel where we at in the region in this game…” Stratton said.

Stratton also mentioned to me that the four players that have academic issues can practice with the team but coach Stratton and his staff told those players practice with the team when they can to worried more about boosting this grade up. “They have to understand without the academics Basketball can only take you so far most of them the majority of them has been practicing when they can but with winter section ending next Friday we have a good feel what we got coming back for next year. I want to make a point of this to these four kids better not think that they just coming in to play they going to earn there way cause obviously this basketball team is playing very well without them…”Stratton said.

Just before tipoff they were issue with the shot clock a two minute delay. Knights win tip off against Bunker Hill. Knights had one travel in the first period and Bunker hill had two. Kinsley of Lawrence and Mehmet Asik of Ankara Turkey each receive two fouls while Phillip Cunningham of Haverhill receive one during the first period.

Matt D’Amato off the bench in the first period made 13 points including three three pointer’s. D’Amato finished the game with 18 points, which it was a career high after the game he told me “I finally feel good hit a few shots first game hitting a couple like that so definitely a good confident boast and hopefully I can carry it on to the end of the season,” D’Amato said.

Photo by Jose Rodriguez, Sports Editor

Knights Daniel Almarante shooting his two free throw shots against Bunker Hill Community College.

The Knights were leading 43 to 34 at the half a nine-point lead and never blow the lead ever since.

Daniel Almarente of Lawrence who scored 14 points against Bunker Hill told me “To be honest that was a really tough team they were playing really aggressive and both side we were really weren’t getting to many calls so it was a greedy game today,” Almarante said.

In between the second period Knights was not playing as aggressive as they were coach Stratton told me “We very sloppy very sloppy we were missing good shots opportunity I mean Kevin (Monteiro) missed a couple bunny underneath he usually makes I mean R2 (Mehmet) missed three or four wide open shots that Philip and Metin give them excellent passes off of that.. it comes from mental focus also I am going to give Bunker Hill a ton of credit I think their length and their size coast problem for us tonight…” Stratton said.

Mehmet and Phillip each receive a foul in a span of 26 second to begin the second period. Knights had 8 fouls in the second half while Bunker Hill had 9. Overall the Knights had 13 fouls in the entire game and Bunker Hill 10.

During the game in the second period with 5:55 remaining to end the game Marvel Vilmont of Bunker Hill got injured and did not return to the game Knights were up 60 to 54 at that time and hold on to defeat Bunker Hill 70 to 56.

Knights improve 6-2 in conference game and 9-7 overall.

Knights are looking to make it six in a row as they welcome University of Connecticut of Avery Point on Thu. Jan. 27,  for a conference division game tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

On Nov. 20 at Connecticut the Knights defeated University of Avery Point 62 to 59 early in the season.