Boys’ basketball takes over second half to advance to championship game


Anderson Free

Boys’ basketball defeated Needham 65-55 Saturday, March 12, at home in the MIAA Basketball Tournament, with a masterclass performance on both sides of the ball in the second half. 

Junior Jose Padilla, a captain along with seniors Marat Belhouchet and Holland Hargens, said that trust played a major role in the team’s victory. “We played with shared confidence and connected as a team which helped us close a good one out,” he said.

The first half started out back and forth. There were multiple lead changes as Needham kept the Tigers on their toes. Fortunately, a strong six point first half by Padilla allowed North to take more control in the second half, jumping out to a 22-18 lead at the end of the half. 

In the second half, the Tigers started to come alive. The team played strong defense, barring Needham from scoring points. Several players managed to put up double digits in the second half alone. Needham tried to close the gap, but Padilla drained an and-one three-pointer to seal the game.

According to Padilla, the Tigers greatly valued the time to regather at halftime. He said, “We really got on each other, trying to point out things we think we could do better within the players perspective while also acknowledging the coaching staff and what they have to say.”

Padilla added that the spirit from the crowd enabled the team to gain momentum. “The energy in the Reggie was absolutely nuts,” said Padilla, “Most of us haven’t gotten the chance to play in that big of an environment yet, which made it very fun. We definitely fed off the fans’ energy, which helped us in the long run.”

Padilla and junior Will Davis end the game with team highs of 17 points. 

The Tigers defeated Andover 55-49 Wednesday, March 16, in the final four match and will advance to the state finals against Boston College High School this evening. They look forward to an exciting championship match. 

“It is certainly hard to win at this point of the season,” said Padilla. “But, we’ve done it before and we’re confident and trust each other through the ups and downs of it.”