Things haven’t gone Stevens’ way when it comes to its boys basketball rivalry with neighboring Newport in recent seasons, but that wasn’t the case Tuesday night when the Cardinals traveled to the Wheeler Gymnasium.
Instead, despite both teams heading into the matchup winless with Stevens at 0-2 and Newport at 0-3, it was the visiting Cardinals who quickly established themselves as the more capable squad after the opening tip. Coach Matt Baird-Torney’s team jumped out to a five-point lead after the opening quarter with help from solid offensive rebounding by Zach O’Brien, and upped its lead to 40-19 by halftime.
And unfortunately for the home Tigers, Stevens continued to pour it on from there, shooting its way to an 80-63 victory and its first win of the season. Junior Parker Smith led the Cardinals’ offensive effort with 24 points to complement his four assists, fellow junior Nick O’Brien added 21 points including an impressive five 3-pointers.
Nick’s brother Zach also finished in double figures for Stevens with 15 points to match the number of rebounds he pulled down. Newport saw some highlights despite suffering a disappointing fourth straight loss, include several nice buckets from Jesse Stiffler, who led the Tigers with 24 points.
Mike Pezone spoke with Zach O’Brien after the game to ask him about the significance of his team’s win.
Stevens will try and win its second straight game Friday night when they travel to Face Fall Mountain, while the Tigers will try and earn win No. 1 Friday as well when they host Gilford.