North Quincy senior guard Daniel Gould said it was like he was standing in his driveway shooting the basketball.
Except he wasn’t.
He was standing on the free throw line in front of a jam-packed Clark Athletic Center at UMass-Boston in the Division 1 South semifinals. Trailing by 2 with under a minute left in the game, Newton North turned the ball over on an inbound pass, which led to a quick foul, putting Gould on the line as he drilled both to give North Quincy a 4-point lead.
On the next possession Newton North’s Seamus Bruno tipped home a put-back to cut the deficit to 2. In desperation mode with 7.4 seconds on the clock, the Tigers immediately fouled Gould who made another pair and secured the 51-47 victory, and the Red Raiders advanced to the title game on Saturday at UMass- Boston against Mansfield, which beat Brookline, 68-50.
“I was just keeping my mind straight, making sure I’m just looking at the hoop and finishing my follow through,” said Gould.
Gould was 5 for 6 from the line and finished with 23 points.
From the opening tipoff, North Quincy’s confidence showed, as it forced two turnovers and started the game on a 15-3 run. Junior center Efthim Butka scored 6 points in the first half and Gould added 11 to give the Red Raiders a 30-22 lead at halftime.
North Quincy never trailed, but it wasn’t easy as Newton North held the Red Raiders scoreless for about five minutes in the third quarter, allowing the Tigers to get within 4 points.
“We just wanted to keep our composure, we know we could play with these guys,” Gould said. “We just tried to make sure we played our game.”
The game plan for the Red Raiders, as it has been all season, involved a lot of Gould. The 5-foot-9-inch guard helped keep his team ahead with two 3-pointers in the third. His brother, Patrick, also played a crucial role for North Quincy on the defensive end, holding Tigers’ leading scorer Tommy Mobley to 21 points.
Mobley opened the fourth quarter with a crucial 3-pointer and then was fouled when shooting another one, hitting all three free throws to tie the game at 39. That, however, was as close as Newton North would get. Senior forward Marquis McClendon and Butka combined for 6 points before Gould scored the Red Raiders’ final 6 to punch their ticket to the final.
Mansfield 68, Brookline 50 — Ryan Boulter hit four 3-pointers and scored all of his 14 points in the first quarter to help the Hornets jump out to an early lead in their rout of the Warriors.
Division 1 North
Central Catholic 61, Andover 48 — Junior guard Tyler Nelson led the Raiders with a 31-point performance, and junior Aaron Hall contributed 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The Raiders defense held the Golden Warriors to just 10 points in the first half.
Division 3 North
Danvers 69, Whittier 51 — Senior Nick Bates paced the Falcons with 19 points and eight rebounds and sophomore guard Vinny Clifford added 14 points.