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HS boys' basketball: Methuen 61, Haverhill 60

Drew Eason delivers a clutch 3-pointer for Methuen boys’ basketball in Merrimack Valley Conference home win over Haverhill

The Methuen boys’ basketball team led most of the way Friday night against Haverhill. But after the Hillies took a two-point lead on a layup with 10 seconds to go, the Rangers had a choice — a two to tie, or a three to win.

The Rangers went for the win, as junior Drew Eason drained a 3-pointer from the wing with 0.3 seconds remaining to give Methuen a big Merrimack Valley Conference win over Haverhill, 61-60, at Methuen High School.

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Andino (seven points) set up Eason (12 points), driving through the lane and kicking it out to Eason with a jump pass after Eason ran through a double staggered screen to get free. The Rangers (8-4, 5-3 MVC) disrupted Haverhill’s last-ditch attempt, getting a hand on the pass.

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“We weren’t necessarily looking for the three,” said Methuen head coach Anthony Faradie. “If the layup was there for Isaiah, we would’ve taken it. We practice those special situations a lot, and the guys tend to look for the three more.

“I knew the shot was in as soon as it left Drew’s hand.”

The Rangers led Haverhill by seven at the half, but the Hillies (7-5, 5-4 MVC) chipped away at the lead thanks to a huge game from junior Alejandro Delgado, who finished with 30 points.

But for a Methuen team that has battled back from big deficits on multiple occasions this year, the late two-point margin was small enough to overcome.

Faradie said Friday was the most complete game his team has played all year. The Rangers have struggled with turnovers, but they’ve been smarter with the ball over the last two games.

The win nudged the Rangers a half-game ahead of Haverhill at the top of the MVC Small Division.

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“We tend to play games of runs,” Faradie said. “We’ve been battling, we’ve had our ups and our downs. This one tonight was a big one to give us a game up in the league.”

Junior Earl Pemberton Jr. led the Rangers with 14 points.