GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 22, 2012

Rockport tops ME to remain undefeated

MANCHESTER -- Coming off a 1-19 campaign last season, the Rockport boys basketball team was looking for something to emulate as it entered this season.

The Vikings found that example in the 2009-10 squad, a 13-5 team that reached the state tournament during the current senior class’s freshman season.

That team rode an up-tempo, team-first style to its impressive record, and entering this season, coach Tim St. Laurent saw a lot of similarities between this year’s squad and the one from three seasons ago.

Through three games, St. Laurent’s not the only one seeing the similarities. The Vikings improved to 3-0 on the young season last night with a 78-69 win at Manchester Essex, riding Shaun Aspesi’s 25 points and holding off a late Hornets push to gain their second win in as many nights.

“When these seniors were freshmen, they were there when we went 13-5,” St. Laurent said. “So they know what it takes, and with assistant coach Tommy Burnham (who started for the ‘09 team) on the bench, we make a lot of references to that team. They knew how to win, and we’re starting to see the same thing.”

Of the Vikings’ three wins on the season, none have come easy. They faced a halftime deficit against Georgetown and North Shore Tech, and through the first quarter of last night’s game, it again seemed that the game might be slipping away from Rockport.

The Vikings were jittery, and Manchester Essex took advantage. Guard Liam Aldrich, who led the team with 17 points, and center Sean Gutierrez each notched seven first-quarter points as the Hornets built an early 18-12 lead.

The second quarter, however, was an entirely different story. As the Vikings’ full-court trap started working and their shots started falling, the Hornets’ game fell apart.

Rockport converted a slew of second quarter Manchester Essex turnovers into points, and behind Aspesi’s first-half barrage from the floor, the Vikings outscored their hosts by 14 points in the second quarter to build a 38-28 halftime lead.

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