BOSTON -– In the final 30 seconds of No. 5 North Quincy’s win over No. 2 Newton North, 51-47, at UMass-Boston's Clark Athletic Center in the Div. 1 South Sectional Semifinals on Tuesday night, Red Raiders’ senior guard Dan Gould stepped to the free throw line four times.
All four times, he knocked down his foul shots, sealing a win for North Quincy in a game they never trailed in.
“I shoot free throws all the time –- it was pretty much just like shooting free throws in the driveway, or at practice, or wherever,” said Gould. “I just felt ‘I gotta hit those free throws. Those are big time. I’m a senior and it’s my time to shine right now.”
Gould was 5-for-6 from the stripe on the day, and was arguably the biggest reason the Red Raiders (20-5) slipped past Newton North.
He recorded seven points during the opening minutes as North Quincy raced out to an 11-0 lead before Newton North got on the board.
The 5-foot-9 guard knocked down four threes and finished with a game-high 23 points in the win.
Even with his offensive showing, it was his defense that put North Quincy in position to advance to the title game on Saturday against Mansfield at this very same venue.
After Newton North (20-3) forced a backcourt violation with 34 seconds to go and NQ up, 47-45, a timeout was called to allowed them to set up their final play.
They never got a chance to run the play, though, as Gould stepped in front of the Newton North target on the inbounds pass and picked it off near midcourt, setting up his late game free throws.
“That was huge,” said Red Raiders coach Kevin Barrett. “He’s been doing that for three years now, making big plays. It’s usually when people are counting us out, he steps up and makes big plays. Over the course of the three years, he’s just taken to a different level every time we’ve needed him.”
The play ensured that Newton North –- which has appeared in the South semifinals eight years straight, and advanced to the sectional finals four times in nine years -– would never lead in this contest.
“That was just miscommunication,” said Newton North coach Paul Connolly. “Just some miscommunication, that happens. Gould was just there to make a play. What can you do?”
It might have been the nail in the coffin for the Tigers, but they dealt with a strong defensive presence all night.
The Red Raiders held stand-out guard Korey Mui to just eight points –- and one field goal.
“That’s Marquis McClendon,” said Bennett. “You look over the course of his career, and not just tonight, and his M.O. with us has been to lock down their leading scorer. He tries to make everything difficult for them and that’s why he’s so valuable to us. He did that tonight when we needed it most. Equally as impressive was Pat’s (Gould) job on Mobley.”
Sophomore Tom Mobley finished with 21 points but had to hit three 3’s to do so, and none of his points came uncontested last night.
Pat Gould chipped in six points and five rebounds in the win, McClendon added six points and three rebounds, Efthin Butka had eight points and eight rebounds and Anthony Green scored five points to go with eight rebounds and eight blocks for North Quincy.
On the other side, Jack Boucher added 12 points while Liam Bruno chipped in with 10 points for the Tigers.