NASHUA – The first month of the boys basketball season has been like a puzzle for the Nashua High School North team.
The Titans have slowly been putting the pieces together, and after Wednesday’s 62-54 win over Alvirne, they’re one step closer to the big picture.
“We’re slowly getting better and this was another piece to the puzzle,” North coach Steve Lane said. “I thought this was the best we’ve looked through our six contests, including two scrimmages. I can’t be more pleased with the progress we’ve made. We’re still inconsistent, but we’re getting better.”
Ryan Gauthier scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first half and Javon Williams had all but four of his 17 points in the second half to lead the Titans into the championship game of the Chick-fil-A Holiday Tournament. North will take on Nashua South at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at South.
Jake Mellin was also in double figures, adding 10 points for North, which went into halftime tied at 30 with Alvirne. Lane and the coaching staff made some adjustments and the Titans made it work on the floor.
Williams put back an offensive rebound on back-to-back possessions and Anthony Farmer followed with a layup. After Alvirne’s Tony Beaulieu answered, Mellin scored three straight baskets to give the Titans a 44-32 lead.
Alvirne coach Seth Garon was forced to take a timeout, but things didn’t get any better for the Broncos. Mike O’Connor scored on a put back and Liam Burke added a jumper to complete a 16-2 run for North.
“We just didn’t take care of the ball again today,” Garon said. “That’s the bottom line. We took ill-advised shots and didn’t take care of the basketball. You can’t win ball games like that.”
North went up by 14 on a 3 by Gauthier to open the third quarter, but Alvirne started to chip away at the lead, cutting it to six on two free throws by Beaulieu with 4:15 to play.
The Titans answered with an 8-1 run, including a 3 by Williams that drew a grimace from Lane.
“My reaction was not good,” Lane said. “Being a former player, the reaction is usually no, no, no … yes, yes, yes. If it didn’t go in, he might have had to have a chat with me. I’ve had a chat with a lot of the guys and they understand where I’m coming from.”
Alvirne scored a few late baskets to cut into the lead, but it was too late by then.
The Broncos got 19 points from Tyler Livingston, 12 of which came on 3s, and Tony Beaulieu chipped in with 14 points. But no one else had more than six for the Broncos, as they struggled to control the basketball.
Alvirne will take on Thornton Academy in the third-place game Thursday at 6 p.m.