WEYMOUTH, Mass. -- Against Bay State Carey royalty, Jared Terrell climbed upon a mound of whistles, steals and dunks to assume his thrown. The Weymouth boys' basketball team is making a case for its own.
Amid a rash of Newton North turnovers, Terrell exploded for a series of gymnasium-shaking dunks to rally the Wildcats on Tuesday, before they held on at the free throw line for a crucial 56-51 victory.
The dynamic sophomore scored 16 points, including eight in the span of two minutes in the fourth quarter. In that time, he made four steals, helping turn what was a 37-34 Tigers lead at the beginning of the period into a 47-41 Weymouth advantage with 5:08 to play.
Streaking, flying and dunking amid deafening cheers, Terrell continued to establish himself as one of the state’s most exciting second-year players -- and Weymouth (8-0) as a strong candidate to end Newton North’s streak of eight straight Carey titles.
“Jared’s just a freakish athlete,” Weymouth coach Jim Dolan said. “We needed him to step up, make a couple steals and finish, and he did that.”
It was a rare win for Weymouth, ranked 12th in ESPN Boston’s MIAA poll, over its divisional rivals. Dolan said it was just the second time in his eight years coaching the Wildcats that he’s beaten Newton North (5-2), during which the Tigers, currently ranked 17th by ESPN Boston, found no equal in the Carey division.
But after surviving several scoring bursts by Newton North’s Michael Thorpe (23 points, seven rebounds), the Wildcats switched to an aggressive 1-3-1 half court trap -- dubbed “Rebel” by Dolan -- to force the Tigers into 10 fourth-quarter turnovers and 21 for the game.
It came after a brilliant third quarter in which Thorpe nearly outscored the Wildcats by himself, 10-11, and had Newton North up by as many as five points. Then Terrell hit, changing the game in a flurry of transition baskets.
“Just a couple of those breakouts,” Newton North coach Paul Connolly said. “I mean, Jared Terrell shooting a dunk is a very high percentage shot. When you give up those little runs in a one-possession game, those are huge plays.”
They were ones Weymouth was waiting on. Having broken 70 points four times -- and 80 twice -- already this season, the Wildcats don’t enjoy life in low-scoring affairs. Creating baskets often starts with their defense. Terrell’s making a habit of finishing them.
“The whole game, we’re just trying to push it, fast paced, and they slowed it down a little bit in the third quarter,” Terrell said of Newton North. “But then in the fourth, we picked it up a little bit, started playing our game instead of theirs.”
Terrell, of course, had help. Jon Perez added 10 points, Damian Lugay grabbed 11 boards and Khary Bailey-Smith hit six of his final eight free throws -- all in the final two minutes -- to push his point total to 10.
“We just had to play ‘D’,” Perez said, “and that’s what we did.”
It helped erase big nights from Newton North’s Luke Westman (11 points, eight boards) and freshman Aaron Falzon, who was bloodied by an elbow to his left eye but returned to total 10 points and seven rebounds.
But in the end, the Tigers went as Thorpe did. Weymouth held him to a free throw in the fourth quarter.
“He got a little tired,” Connolly said. “Keep playing, you’re not coming out, I’m sorry. He’s a First Team all-league player, they have some kids in there, trying to get in his head, talking trash to him. But he had none of it and just battled and played. It’s just a tough ending.”
It may be the beginning of change in the Bay State Carey.
“Hey, this is their year to maybe win the league,” Connolly said. “We’ll see. They have a senior-oriented team, they’re good, they’re tough. We’ll keep going, though. My guys will be back.”
ODDS AND ENDS
-- After the game, Connolly raved about Falzon, a promising forward who can shoot from the outside and is learning how to body up in the paint.
“I’ve been on him, I’ve been riding him,” Connolly said. “I know all the prep schools are on him, and they’re feeding him a bunch of [non-sense] about going here, doing this. To be honest with you, I can care less about that. That kid has never worked so hard in his life playing the game of basketball and learning the game of basketball, learning how to play the right way. Once he gets the athletic piece, once he gets a little more bounce, he’s going to be really, really, really good.”
Connolly then referenced Terrell, who’s well-built for his size and has the athleticism to easily thrown down transition dunks.
“And Aaron doesn’t have that bounce yet,” Connolly said. “That’s the separation. That’s why they talk about Jared Terrell as a Division-I athlete. … [But] I think the sky’s the limit for Aaron.”
-- Dolan didn’t want to look too far ahead regarding his team’s chances to win the division despite Tuesday’s win. He instead cautioned that his team needs to stay in the moment.
Unfortunately, that also likely means no practice Wednesday with heavy snow expected to hit the area.
“We want to get better every day,” Dolan said. “It happened to be Newton North tonight. I think we got better, got some defensive stops. It’s a win in the Bay State league. They’re tough to come by.”