NEW HAVEN – NHC play has been kind to New Haven. It hasn’t been to Norwell.
That trend continued as the Bulldogs held off the Knights 77-72 Saturday.
New Haven (6-4) improved to 3-1 in the conference, while Norwell (9-3) fell to 1-3 in league play.
We have lost four games, but we have been battling teams, and we have been playing teams as good as we are, and that’s the way you want it, New Haven coach Al Gooden said. Everybody is going to be as good as you are when you play them, so we will find out what we are made of.
V.J. Beachem led the Bulldogs with 27 points, Jabar Ray added 20 and Jordan Hogue chipped in 14.
We have some good role players, and do what they are supposed to do, Gooden said.
Beachem, a Notre Dame recruit, had 11 points in the fourth.
He understands that he doesn’t have to get all the points, but he does have to be the best player out on the floor, Gooden said. V.J. is growing up. When your best player is doing that and leading by example, everybody sees that.
Josh VanMeter had 19 points for Norwell, and David Vogel and Austin Hayden each had 14 and Drew Shively 13.
Despite the loss, the 2012 Class 3A state runner-up Knights might be finding a groove.
Coming into the game it was not winning or losing, it was going to be about coming together or if we were going to come together, Norwell coach Randy Hawkins said. I think we took a huge leap tonight.
New Haven got the lead in the fourth quarter and never gave it up. The closest Norwell got was 71-69 with 40 seconds left.
That’s a time for a team to grow up, Gooden said. We are learning how to play. Teams are going to make runs at you. They made runs, but we just made runs right back and did what we had to do.
VanMeter came out hot with 12 points in the first quarter, but he was scoreless in the second, had five in the third and only two in the fourth.
Norwell led 19-13 after the first and extended its lead to 29-20 midway through the second on a 7-0 run. But New Haven clawed back on the strength of a 12-3 run to end the first half and the teams were tied at 32 at the break.
In the third, New Haven opened up a 43-35 lead early before Norwell countered with a 12-2 run to take a 47-45 advantage. The Bulldogs led 54-52 entering the fourth.