With high school athletic programs throughout the region going in and out of pause unpredictably in the midst of the pandemic, every game on the schedule is written in pencil.
Wellesley, two days removed from returning to practice after an 11-day pause, hosted Newton North in a late audible to the boys’ basketball schedule. North, meanwhile, has dealt with five recent cancellations, resulting in three total games in the past two and a half weeks — all against Braintree.
Behind 19 points and nine rebounds from Florian Kuechen, the Tigers stayed unbeaten with a 61-51 victory.
The game was closer than the final 10-point margin. A few well-timed shots for North dashed the hopes of a late comeback bid for Wellesley, which made it a 5-point game with four minutes to play.
“We made a couple of big shots down at the end and were able to hold them off,” Newton North coach Paul Connolly said.
“Wellesley’s scrappy and well-coached. They haven’t been together and practicing, so credit to them. They look pretty good for a team that’s been off.”
Newton North led, 18-9, at the end of the first quarter. Wellesley came out of the socially-distanced huddle with renewed energy and surged ahead before the teams went to the break tied, 26-all.
The Tigers pulled ahead in the third quarter and then held off Wellesley in the fourth. Wellesley had played one game prior to Thursday, a 57-56 loss to Braintree.
“Our athletic directors and our administrators and all the schools have been doing an unbelievable job trying to figure out a new puzzle piece, every day to put these games together,” Connolly said. “We’re fortunate we got a chance to play tonight.”
The uncertainty of the season, Connolly said, makes the opportunity to play that much more important.
“In terms of these kids getting the chance to participate in sports, it’s been really good for the kids and healthy for themselves.”
Mansfield 66, Attleboro 58 — Senior guard Matty Boen (35 points) recorded his fourth 30-plus point performance of the season as the undefeated Hornets (5-0) erased a fourth quarter deficit to pull out the come-from-behind Hockomock League win on Senior Night.
Plymouth North 55, Marshfield 42 — Senior Julian Llopiz (19 points) and sophomore Josh Campbell (12 points, 7 rebounds) led the visiting Eagles (4-1) in the Patriot League win.
Taunton 55, Franklin 46 — Senior forward Tyler Stewart (11 points, 12 rebounds) and guard Faisal Mass (13 points, 6 rebounds) led the way as the Tigers tipped off their season by presenting coach Charlie Dacey with his 400th career victory in the Hockomock matchup against the previously-unbeaten Panthers (4-1).
Woburn 64, Reading 59 — Senior Dylan McLaughlin and junior Joe Gattusso each netted 17 points for the host Tanners (1-2) in the Middlesex League win.
Andover 67, Haverhill 53 — Two days after pouring in a career-high 38 points against the Hillers, senior guard Tatum Shaw fired in 35 more as the Warriors (2-2) earned the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Attleboro 63, Mansfield 41 — Meghan Gordon recorded a 22-point, 12-rebound performance and Narissa Smith added 14 points on four 3-pointers as the host Bombardiers (3-1) earned the Hockomock League win.
Central Catholic 46, North Andover 29 — Ashley Dinges delivered a 12-point, 10-rebound performance and Adrianna Niles had a team-high 14 points for the Raiders (4-0) in the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Foxborough 53, Stoughton 13 — Katelyn Mollica tossed in 22 points in leading the Warriors to the Hockomock League win.
Franklin 66, Taunton 29 — Junior Olivia Quinn (team-high 12 points) was one of 13 Panthers to net points in the Hockomock League win.
Lowell Catholic 48, Fellowship Christian 16 — Senior captain Antonia Mukiibi led a balanced attack with 8 points as the Crusaders (2-0) won the Commonwealth Athletic Conference matchup at Keith Gymnasium.
Oliver Ames 52, Sharon 15 — Senior captain Caroline Flynn (11 points), Jasmyn Cooper (10 rebounds), and Maddie Homer (6 steals) paced the Tigers (4-0) to the Hockomock win.
Burlington 137.9, Arlington 128.050 — Ava Schenck-Davis won the bars (9.6), the beam (9.1), and was second on the floor exercise (8.9) for the host Red Devils.
Sandwich 3, Barnstable 1 — Rob Cardillo scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and goalie Mitchell Norkevicius made 22 saves in net as the host Blue Knights (3-0-1) earned the Cape & Islands win at Gallo Arena in Bourne, their first over Barnstable since 2010.
Arlington Catholic 5, Bishop Feehan 1 — Senior captain Mary Cate Flynn (2 goals) and junior Maggie Milne (1 goal, 1 assist) paced the visiting Cougars (4-1) in the Catholic Central win.
Algonquin 127, Shrewsbury 43 — In a virtual meet, Algonquin sophomore Jason Wong took first place in both the 200 freestyle and the 100 freestyle, and senior co-captain Will Saulnier took gold in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
. . .
Mike Meagher, who coached cross-country and track for 50 years at Boston Latin, announced his retirement Thursday.