BURLINGTON >> The Lewis Mills Spartans were able to hold off the Northwestern Highlanders late to hold on and win their 12th game of the season, 64-59.
“That was a good close game,” said Spartans head coach Todd Kozak. “Not too often you win when you give up 14-0 and 12-0 runs.”
With the game tied at 56-56 with 2:40 left in the fourth, Northwestern’s Stephen McGrath hit one free-throw to give them a 57-56 lead.
On the Spartans next trip down the court, Lewis Mills’ senior Danny Kryzanski hit a three-pointer to give the Spartans a 59-57, a lead they wouldn’t give back. Mills would hit five free-throws to ice the game.
“If they (teammates) want me to have the ball I’ll make the shot,” said Kryzanski.
The Highlanders had chances late. McGrath missed an open layup and they threw the ball away down four with nine seconds left.
“They made shots and we didn’t,” said Highlanders head coach, Doug Sebach. “We had opportunities but we didn’t capitalize.”
The Spartans (12-2) came out of the gate firing on all cylinders taking a commanding 17-8 lead after the first quarter, but the Highlanders would storm back in the second.
Trailing 27-12 with four minutes left in the half the Highlanders would go on a 14-3 run to close out the half, capped off by seven straight points by Ricky Persechino.
“We had two more quarters, there was a lot of time left,” said Sebach of his teams late run in the first half.
The Highlanders (8-6) were unable to capitalize, in the third quarter, on the momentum they gained.
Kryzanski hit three three-pointers to open the half up, leading the Spartans to a dominate 21-13 third quarter.
“My teammates always have the confidence in me to pass me the ball when I am open,” said Kryzanski who led all scorers with 19 points.
The fourth quarter was the complete opposite as the Highlanders clawed all the way back to take the lead for the first time in the game at the three minute mark after Zach Tuxbury hit a three-pointer to tie the game and then Teddy Bremer put in a layup to give them the lead.
“They’re a great team, we knew that they would come back,” said Kryzanski. “We had to grind.”
Junior, Nate Cook scored 19 points and senior Alexander Daigle added 13 in the win.
“Whoever has the hot hand,” said Daigle. “We’re all good passers.”
“Any given night anyone of us can score 20 points,” said Kryzanski. “We have a bunch of guys who can step up.”
Northwestern’s Persechino scored 18 points and Zach Tuxbury scored 13 in the loss.
“They’re all tough to swallow,” said Sebach. “It would have been nice to win on their court.
With two losses on the season, Mills controls second place in the Berkshire League. They’ve split with Gilbert this season and lost to Terryville at Terryville.
The Spartans aren’t looking ahead towards the game, at home, against the Kangaroos; they have four more games until then.
“We are where we are and want to just keep knocking them off,” said Kozak.
Lewis Mills 64 Northwestern 59
At Lewis Mills High School
Lewis Mills 17 10 21 16—64
Northwestern 8 18 13 20—59
Lewis Mills (64): Spencer Maloney 3-2-8; Alexander Daigle 6-0-13; Danny Kryzanski 6-3-19; Nate Cook 8 -2-18; Max Wadington 0-0-0; Justin Pease 0-0-0; Danny Wilcox 3-0-6; Ben Lewis 0-0-0. Totals: 26-7-64.
Northwestern (59): Ricky Pereschino 7-2-18; Zach Tuxbury 5-0-13; John Lippincott 1-4-6; Teddy Bremer 3-3-9; Steve McGrath 5-1-11; Devin Warren 1-0-2. Totals 22-10-64.
3—point goals: LM—Daigle; Kryzanski 4. NW—Pereschino 2; Tuxbury 3.
Records: Lewis Mills 11-2 Northwestern 8-6.