Sensing fatigue in teammate Thomas Shaughnessy late in Tuesday night’s fourth quarter, Needham senior forward Michael Klemm assertively told the Rockets star he would be taking over the lead defensive duties for the duration.
Klemm made good on his word, tracking Newton North captain Ethan Wright as if bound by rope to his opponent’s waist. With 45 seconds remaining and the Rockets ahead, 60-55, Klemm made the game’s decisive play, coolly swiping the ball from Wright (14 points) at the top of the key before slamming it home on the other end, setting in motion a jubilant display from the packed Needham High bleachers.
Aided by a scorching offensive first quarter and 28 points from Shaughnessy, fourth-ranked Needham knocked off No. 1 Newton North, 64-57, in a definitive Bay State Conference victory. The Rocket victory was recompense for Newton North’s win in January, the two teams’ only other meeting this season.
The victory came in the midst of a tragic and somber period for the Needham High community. Two students, 16-year old Talia Newfield and 17-year old Adrienne Garrido, died after being struck by a vehicle on Saturday evening.
“Today was a really tough day and over the weekend was just tragic,” said Shaughnessy. “This is a really good opportunity to come together [and] unify as a school. We had something to play for.
“We played inspired and we played like we wanted something. It’s a good feeling to come out here and give the community something they deserve.”
Shaughnessy was his usual vocal self, scoring or assisting on 14 of 16 points over a furious 16-3 second-quarter run. Though Wright (14 points) did his part to slow Shaughnessy in the second half, Shaughnessy wouldn’t be deterred.
Following a Wright 3-pointer that cut the Needham (14-2) lead to 4 with under two minutes remaining, Shaughnessy answered, canning a trey from the top of the key.
“He had a tremendous practice yesterday and was so locked in,” said Needham coach Paul Liner of his senior. ““He’s such a great leader. He] led us in the huddle, was next play all night, and he hit some really big shots for us.”
Newton North (15-4) clawed for the entirety of the fourth quarter, and a putback from sophomore Aaron Cooley (18 points, eight rebounds) trimmed Needham’s lead to 5 following Shaughnessy’s three. From there, Klemm took over.
“The last few [possessions], I was on Ethan and I’m getting tired and Michael was like, ‘Let me take him.’ He came out tonight and did his thing. He was locked in.”
Melrose 61, Wakefield 48 — Senior guard Joe Stanton had 22 points with six 3-pointers for the Red Raiders (9-7).
Franklin 59, Attleboro 44 — Junior Jalen Samuels powered the No. 8 Panthers (16-2) with 18 points and senior captain Paul Mahon added 12.
Central Catholic 57, Andover 50 — Sophomore guard George Smith led all scorers with 16 points for the Raiders (14-5).
Sharon 81, Stoughton 76 — Senior forward Malik Lorquet led the Eagles (4-15) with 22 points.
Southeastern 62, Tri-County 35 — Isiah Fontes paced the Hawks (9-6) with 15 points.
Marshfield 69, Barnstable 51 — Senior guard AJ Conn exploded for 19 of his 32 points in the third quarter for the visiting Rams (12-2).
Tech Boston 76, East Boston 39 — Shamar Browder had 18 points to propel the visiting Bears (17-0) to victory.
Arlington Catholic 63, Shawsheen 54 — Junior forward Jack Connaughton finished with 19 points for the Cougars (7-10).
Winchester 57, Arlington 55 — Senior captain Liam Fitzpatrick scored 17 points as the Sachems (13-6) ended the Spy Ponders’ 32-game unbeaten streak in the Middlesex League. Arlington drops to 15-3, 13-1.
Whitman-Hanson 69, Duxbury 48 — Senior captain Sean Leahy paced the Panthers (14-4, 12-2) with 27 points and 13 rebounds in the Patriot League matchup. Jacob Hanson-Bartlett added 13 points.
Dighton-Rehoboth 59, Bishop Connolly 53 — Aaron Andrade led the Falcons (6-11) with 23 points.
O'Bryant 68, Latin Academy 37 — Junior captain Rivaldo Soares led the Tigers (12-8) with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Scituate 66, Hanover 36 — Freshman Kyrell Luc led the Sailors (12-5) with 24 points.
Quincy 62, Plymouth North 52 — Sophomore guard Franco Calabro scored 18 points for the Presidents (13-5).
Taunton 71, Oliver Ames 44 — Sophomore Dante Law recorded 22 points for the Tigers (12-8).
Danvers 44, Swampscott 36 — Senior captain Sarah Unczur (12 points) led the visiting Falcons (14-3) to the Northeastern Conference South title.
Bridgewater-Raynham 47, East Bridgewater 41 — Seniors Shannon Lynch and Brooke Reagan combined for 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Trojans (14-4) used a deciding 12-6 run over the final five-plus minutes to extend their winning streak to 12.
Westford 61, Acton-Boxborough 35 — Senior guards Elizabeth Arnold and Emily Bramanti each scored a team-high 11 points for the Grey Ghosts (14-3).
Fenway 54, New Mission 45 — Me'ara Carter paced the Panthers (10-2) with 11 points and 10 rebounds. New Mission sophomore Ashlee Serrette led all scorers with 16 points.
Oliver Ames 63, Taunton 34 — Senior captain Kayla Raymond poured in 16 points and had nine rebounds for the Tigers (13-4). Sophomore Tate Hadges added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Newton South 76, Lincoln-Sudbury 30 — Senior guard Shannon Laughlin led the Lions (17-0) with a career-high 20 points on Senior Night.
Belmont 68, Reading 47 — Senior Carly Christofori led the Marauders (15-2) with 13 points. Junior Haley Lightbody had 22 points for Reading.
Saint Joseph Prep 41, Maimonides 37 — Sophomore Katelynn O'Connor scored 13 points for Prep (11-8).
Latin Academy 78, O'Bryant 39 — Sophomore forward Fiona Mannion scored 27 points for the Dragons (11-7).
Franklin 46, Attleboro 39 — Sophomore forward Ali Brigham (27 points, 28 rebounds) was immense in the paint for the Panthers (12-7).
Lynn Classical 50, Lynn English 27 — Senior forward Paris Wilkey had 14 points for the Rams (18-1), who clinched the Northeastern Conference title for just the second time in school history.
Braintree 62, Weymouth 42 — Senior guard Jenna Roche paced the fourth-ranked Wamps (15-2) with 11 points.
Mansfield 51, King Philip 32 — Junior Maggie Danehy’s double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds) lifted the Hornets (16-4).
Westwood 55, Bellingham 21 — Freshman Elizabeth Gill led the Wolverines (6-9) with 15 points.
Malden 48, Marblehead 32 — Senior Tiffany Tortora recorded 18 points for the host Golden Tornadoes (9-10) and senior Xue Zhou added 15.
North Reading 50, Ipswich 26 — Freshman Julia Howes scored 25 points for the visiting Hornets (13-5).
Durfee 54, Somerset Berkley 45 — Senior center Shaelyn Carreiro scored 19 points for the Hilltoppers (7-10), raising her career total to exactly 1,000.
Billerica 52, Tewksbury 35 — Freshman Madison Watford paced the Indians (13-5) with 20 points.
Foxborough 81, Canton 32 — Senior Ashley Sampson and freshman Katelyn Mollica each scored 23 points for the Warriors (17-2).
Northeast 43, Chelsea 23 — Freshman guard Sophia Schiavone scored 20 points for the Knights (10-7).
Marianapolis 62, Nobles 52 — Junior Olivia Summiel produced 17 points and 12 rebounds as the host Knights registered the program’s first win over Nobles.
Tyngsborough 55, Lowell Catholic 41 — Sara Anselmo had a game-best 19 points and Amanda Leal added 18 to propel the visiting Tigers (14-4).
Masconomet 5, Beverly 0 — Junior Abby Gendron (2 goals, 3 assists) and senior Sami Kelleher (2 goals, 1 assist) carried the No. 6 Chieftains (12-3-1).
Lincoln-Sudbury 1, Concord-Carlisle 0 — Julia Provvisionato recorded her fifth shutout of the season for the Warriors (12-4).
Cleared in Andover
Andover High principal Philip Conrad said the district has cleared varsity boys’ hockey coach Chris Kuchar and two assistants of allegations that they denied players food or water, concluding an internal investigation into their behavior. Conrad said he plans to reinstate the coaches as soon as he can confirm that the state’s Department of Children and Families, which has also been probing the coaches’ behavior, has reached the same conclusion. Andover (8-4-2) plays at Acton-Boxborough Wednesday night.