LAWRENCE — There is no secret anymore. The Lawrence High School boys’ basketball team proved Friday night exactly why it deserves all the attention in the world from not just the Merrimack Valley Conference, but the entire state.
The Lancers put on a showcase of athleticism and talent in front of their fans from tipofff, running away to defeat previously unbeaten Lowell, 89-65, and take sole possession of the MVC.
“[Our performance] is going to come from our energy, defense, and rebounding, and just making it a track meet,” said Lawrence coach Raymond Nunez. “They are athletic, talented and gifted, and they like to get on the court just to get some dunks and get some open shots on the break.”
Lawrence (10-1) shot out to an 8-0 start. Junior Luis Reynoso (22 points) dominated the paint as Lowell had no answer for him. The guard played more like a big man down low — collecting six of his game-high 10 rebounds in the first quarter to help Lawrence out to a 20-9 advantage.
The key for the Lancers, though, came in their defense of Lowell senior sharpshooter Alex Rivera. The UMass Lowell commit finished with 17 points, but each bucket came on heavily contested shots.
“You win games with the athletic ability, but to win titles, MVC titles, to going deep in the state and hopefully keeping for the state tournament, you need to defend,” said Nunez. “And I think that is the mind-set the guys have been developing along the way.”
Sophomore Daiquan Durham scored all of his 11 points in the first half to keep the Red Raiders (7-1) close at the half, 41-29.
Lowell got within 10 points, 56-46, halfway through the third quarter after a sophomore Carlos Nunez 3-pointer, but Lawrence went on a 12-2 in the final four minutes behind senior Juan Felix Rodriguez (29 points) and junior Chris Ruiz (20 points), who got hot from behind the arc in the second half.
A Rodriguez 3 at the buzzer that followed a fast-break Reynoso dunk put the Lancers in front 68-48.
The Red Raiders didn’t get any closer than that as dunks from Ruiz and Reynoso on back-to-back trips down the court put the Lancers in front, 87-58, with 2:47 left to go and brought in the subs for both teams.Karl Capen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.