NECC Observer

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

Knights Basketball made it 10 straight win and clinch a playoff spot

On Tuesday Feb. 8, NECC Knights defeated Springfield Technical Community College 75 to 58 to clinch a playoff spot it was a 6 p.m. tipoff at the Sport and Fitness Center in the Haverhill Campus. It was a makeup game from January 11.

Eight-nine fans turned out to see the game.

The Knights were looking to win their 10 straight on Tuesday night and clinched a playoff spot. After winning nine straight at Gateway Community College on the road 65 to 48 on Saturday February 5.

Kevin Monteiro did not have a minute restriction against Springfield Technical Community College, said Stratton.

 Knights basketball looking to win 10 straight against Springfield Technology Community College Photo by Jose Rodriguez, Sports Editor

Knights basketball looking to win 10 straight against Springfield Technology Community College

“Kevin actually we were very fortunate off the bench against Gateway and he was a key to us defensively he picked up five or six offensive charges that were momentum changes for us and he continued to do that, Stratton said. He also mentioned “Kevin does a lot of the dirty work that doesn’t show up in the box score that I like about me. Every possession that he is competing every possession he is getting after it and he sacrifice his body more than anyone in this basketball team and we are very fortunate to have Kevin on this team,” he said.

I asked if the league canceled the game originally because of COVID concern? “I am not to sure I think everyone was battling with covid early that’s when it spike up right after Christmas everyone was coming down with it, everyone was juggling it, everyone was rescheduling games. This game just happened to be one of these games to be a reschedule which I am fine with I been in this league a long time and I know there is so much adversity, weather is academic, weather is covid weather is injuries. I always felt that I rather play their team at the best then at the worst. That’s the way I look at it and I hope a lot of coaches feels the same way about my self that giving the opportunity if we become withier is covid or not having enough player that they will be realistic and give us an opportunity to move the game as well,” Stratton said.

Stratton had a game plan strategy to control Jeremiah Barbosa he is a forward that lead Region 21 with 62.1 field goals percentage.

“We are doing a couple of things we are not going to do anything special or ordinary tonight, I really don’t have much film on Springfield Tech. The one thing that I do know is this is Springfield Tech’s third game in four nights, so we probably going to test their legs early on. We might pick up their point guard a little bit full court trying to see what they can do trying to ware them down. Every team we face it becomes unpredictable. I know the scouting report last game we had on Gateway, which there is playing everyone in the league was two three zone, man to man so I think coaches are trying to come up with something to try to throw us off a little bit and I told my kids the other night after Gateway that you have to expect everyone best game. Everyone is coming for you it is not a secret that these kids ripped of nine wins in a row… I think if we just concentrate in ourselves  and worry what we do everything gets care of itself,” he said.

Knights won the tipoff against Springfield. The Knights begin the game with 10-2 run.

Daniel Almarante of Lawrence had 4 points,  Phillip Cunningham of Haverhill had 4 and Metin Yavuz of Istanbul, Turkey had 2 points during that run. The Knights had Almarante also pick up a steal.

Cunningham he was on foul trouble early on picking up two fouls in a span of a minute to begin the game. “Losing Philip early to foul trouble really hurt us we are a different basketball team with Philip on the basketball court then what he is off the basketball court,”  Stratton said. “For some reason Phillip doesn’t give up play he just aggressive. He is one of the key members of this basketball team and as you saw tonight with Philip off the court we struggle a little bet more than what is on the court and it showed tonight so hopefully he can stay away of foul trouble and keep us going in the right direction,” Stratton said.

NECC Knights Mascot with Sports Editor, Jose Rodriguez Photo by Jose Rodriguez, Sports Editor

NECC Knights Mascot with Sports Editor, Jose Rodriguez

During the first period a NECC Mascot showed up  and stayed through out the game.

The Mascot was sitting down and interacted with fans. During half time he came and talk to me and was taking pictures. When the Knights comeback from the locker room into the court the Mascot was high five and giving fist bump to the Knights players.

The Knights was struggling in the middle of the first period Springfield was on a 15 to 3 run.

“Yeah I didn’t know what happened I think our defense kind of lack we weren’t sliding our feet we let them go by us and stuff and we end up figuring it out at the end and we were able to score, Matt D’Amato of Peabody  said. Then I told him how in the middle of the period they completely collapse for a few minutes “That is true we do that I think it is lack of focus just not focusing on defense not being were we supposed to be we attend to figure it out and the last 10 games we had so and we going to continue to do that,” he said.

D’amati just scored 2 points in 20 minutes.

The Knights were throwing the ball more than a few time out of bounds.

“Oh 100% our turnovers was attritions we talked about it at half time we made a lot of error passes that we shouldn’t made that we looked like our first semester basketball team like we really didn’t look like what we are doing what we were capable off I mean we just made some horrendous passes we made some horrendous decisions we talked about that at half-time…” Stratton said.

The Knights had six fouls and Springfield had eight during the first half. The Knights had 5 point lead versus Springfield the Knights were up 31 to 26.

The second period began with Metin Yavuz of Istanbul Turkey missing the first 2 free throw shot to open the second period.

It was a key turning point for the Knights when Springfield removed Chris Ortiz after he pick up his third or four foul during the game “We were forced to do stuff to take Ortiz away we were fall of denial on him and let someone else beat us we played defense behind him and I think them losing him early in the second half like in that eight minute it was only a five point game when they went to the bench he went to the bench we were in a 6-0 run increase that lead to 11 and know it’s a different basketball game you moved up to double digits…” Stratton said.

Knights had six fouls and Springfield had nine in the second half. Overall during the game the Knights had 12 fouls and Springfield had 17.

Coach Stratton told me that they left a lot of position and points in the table “we gave up a lot of position I think we left probably 20 to 30 points in the basketball court we missed layups, we turned the ball over, we hadn’t had any charges, we didn’t step in to the lane we were doing a lot of stuff that uncharacteristic of us and we need to improve. I am going to be honest with you like I told this guy it can be one and done in the tournament if we don’t improve like we want to play our best basketball heading into the tournament and this last couple of games have exposed us a little bit that we better start getting refocused and it has to start tomorrow at practice,” he said.

Almarante pass the ball to Asik who was in mid air and he just dunked you can see that dunk on NECC Knights Instagram page.

Asik who scored 25 points in 26 minutes with 16 rebounds and 6 assists talk to me how it feels to clinch a playoff spot “Thank you we actually feel really good because we earned and we been working hard and we going to continue working harder and we made the playoff right know… this is just the beginning, Asik said.

Knights will try to make it 11 straight on Thursday Feb. 10 when the Knights go on the road and faced Quinsigamond Community College tipoff is scheduled to be at 7 p.m.