Both teams brought their game for Tuesday's Cape Ann League boys basketball match-up of the Generals and the North Reading High School Hornets.
The reigning CAL (Div. 2) champion Generals clinched another league title by beating the Hornets, 60-51. But there was a big hole in the Generals' line up without senior Pat Hendrickson, whose season ended Monday night with a torn ACL.
Hendrickson suffered a knee injury during Monday's over Masconomet, and will have an MRI on Thursday to determine the extent of the damage, but the player said his doctor is "85 percent sure" the ACL was torn.
Meanwhile, the Hornets were looking to erase the memory of a early in the season to the Generals, a game in which Hendrickson scored 19 points.
Without him, the Generals were facing a "dog fight," Generals Head Coach Doug Hoak said.
"I told the kids tonight was going to be a character statement, because of all the emotions of last night," Hoak said.
The Hornets (8-10) had to contain Generals point guard Stephen Tam (18 points), a duty that fell to Hornets captain Nick Rosano (nine points).
Tam got really hot in the second quarter, stroking three consecutive three pointers to push the Generals to a nine point lead and a half-time edge of 31-25.
"Tam absolutely killed us, said Hornets Head Coach Joe Casey. "He's the real deal."
The Hornets got 15 points from center Kyle Lentini and 11 from sophomore Carl Lipani (11) to keep it a game in the fourth quarter.
That was when the Generals' greater experience showed, as Jake Prince (14 points) and Jake Lindland (10 points) were joined by Colin Kenny (six) and Chris Hamilton (12) in scoring fourth-quarter baskets to put the game away.
The Hornets will need to win their final two games of the season to qualify for the tournament.