NEWPORT– As the Falcons played host to the Crimson Tide of Spaulding Monday night, they paid tribute to their 5 seniors. Josh Puckett, Matthew Benn, Steven Raboin, Taylor Prue, and Devon Martin are what coach Bonvechio calls, “a good group of young men that show up every day wanting to get better.”
Spaulding took claim to the lead early on with the big bodies of Bill Rochford and Marcus Thornton doing damage inside en-route to a 10-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Freshman Matthew Duncan pulled the Falcons back to within 2, with a long 3 ball from the corner. The Tide would respond however, with Nick Wagner knocking down a 3 of his own, to give his team the 15-10 advantage entering the 2nd.
Using nice interior play, Tyler Paxman got the Falcons on the board early in the quarter, but costly turnovers allowed the lead to swell to 21-12 in favor of the visiting team midway through the 2nd. The game would stay at a 10 point spread for the duration of the period. Every time North Country made a run, Spaulding would counter. Tyler Jenne cut the lead to 4 at 21-17 with a long shot from 24 feet, but Thornton and Rochford had their way inside, pushing the lead back to 28-19 at the end of 2.
The old cliché is to give your team a good “talking to” in the locker room and whip them back into shape, now that may not be true for this game, but what coach Bonvechio said at half time changed the whole complexion of the game.
A lay-in from Jason Hating, a mid-court steal by Raboin, and back to back 3’s by Duncan and Martin cut the score to 34-29. A 5-5 showing from the line by Prue and Duncan tied the game at 37 with 12 seconds on the clock, but a lapse in defensive pressure allowed Wagner to go coast-to-coast and put Spaulding on top by 2 with 1 quarter left to play.
While the game was “Senior Night,” freshman Matthew Duncan took over in the 4th. Back-to back 3’s followed by a 5-5 showing from the free throw stripe, blew the game wide open from the Falcons with 5 minutes to play at 48-41.
Prue pushed the lead to double-digits with a full court lob from Hatin. Spaulding would attempt to make a run, but the Falcons hung on to win by a score of 57-50.
“This was a big win for us after the tough loss against South Burlington. It was a solid team effort and everyone contributed all game long,” said Bonvechio following the contest. “[Matthew] Duncan struggled in our last game, but he worked his tale off in practice and showed everyone here tonight what he is capable of.”
Evan Grubb quietly led the Crimson Tide with 13 points with Marcus Thornton adding 9.
Matthew Duncan led the Falcons with a game-high 20 points, including 4 3’s and a perfect 8-8 from the line. Caleb Prue chipped in with 14. As a team the Falcons shot a blistering 74% from the free throw stripe going 14-19.