"We had good intensity and a strong defensive effort tonight, that was the difference," said Medfield High head coach Herb Grace. "Things got a little hairy there in the third quarter, we were kind of struggling but we still kept our composure on the defensive end."
Medfield led at the end of all four quarter and only trailed the Lancers once – 40-39 midway through the fourth quarter – but regained the lead for good on the next offensive possession when Johnny McCarthy hit a jumper from the wing for 2 of his team-high 16 points in his first start of the year.
"Johnny did great," said Grace. "He's going to play a lot whether he starts or not."
Grace's decision to start McCarthy over regular Ben Coutinho Wednesday was because the senior guard missed a practice earlier in the week.
"Ben missed practice the other day because of an appointment or something so we just went with Johnny because we put some new things in at practice and I wanted Ben to sit and watch what we were doing," Grace said.
Medfield's aggressive play on defense coupled with its ability to draw fouls and get to the line (16-of-19 from the free throw line) were the difference in the game, according to Norton head coach Marc Liberatore.
"I think that's how Medfield wins a lot of games," said Liberatore. "That's the difference and that's how they win. They get to the line and they don't foul you because they play zone and they make you hit shots."
Norton did go on runs in the third quarter and fourth quarters to close the gap but ultimately could not get to the line or keep from Medfield from going to the line down the stretch. The Lancers went to the line just six times (5-of-6).
"We had our little run and we caught up and took the lead by one," said Liberatore. "But down on the other end, we put them to the line and they don't miss."
Medfield led 11-9 after the first quarter, 25-18 at halftime and 35-32 after three quarters. The Warriors got key contributions from McCarthy, Drew Shea (eight points) and Jake Bankert (eight points). Norton's Malik Little netted a team-high 15 points and Joey Wilkes added 12.
The Warriors will look to stretch its current win streak to seven games when they travel to TVL power Hopkinton Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Hillers defeated Medfield, 64-57, in both team's season opener on Dec. 14.