GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 16, 2013

Boys Basketball: Vikings outmuscled by Newburyport, drop fifth straight

ROCKPORT – The Rockport and Newburyport boys basketball teams came into Tuesday night’s Cape Ann League crossover tilt each holding a distinct advantage in one area of play.

The Vikings had an advantage in the jump shooting department while Newburyport was the more physical team.

In the end it was Newburyport’s physicality that shone through as it wore Rockport down in the second en route to a 54-37 win at Rockport High School. Newburyport moves to 6-3 with the win while Rockport drops to 4-5, its fifth straight defeat.

“Our kids are pretty physical, we are in good shape and I thought we played a good physical game tonight,” Clippers head coach Tom L’Italien said. “They can really shoot the three and you can’t overhelp against them. This was a great win for us, we knew it would be a battle and it was.”

The Clippers ran an aggressive 2-3 zone defense that Rockport could not crack all night long. Newburyport was able to both crowd the Rockport shooters and muscle them out of the lane.

The Vikings shot 26% from the field Tuesday (16-61) thanks to the tough defense the Clippers threw at them.

“I’m not sure if it was a lack of execution or we didn’t take good shots but we had a tough night offensively,” Vikings head coach Tim St. Laurent said. “I liked the way we battled all night but Newburyport is a tough team and they played better tonight.”

A back and forth, low scoring two and a half quarters had the look of a game that was going to be decided in the final minutes. But midway through the third quarter the Clippers started draining shots and pulled away.

The first 21 minutes of play saw a pair of ties and six lead changes, the sixth coming when Shaun Asepesi (21 points) nailed a three pointer to complete an 8-0 run and put Rockport up 31-29 with 2:37 to go in the third quarter.

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