(Hamilton MA) I heard him say it in the huddle before the game even started. “Get up on them. They can shoot.”
Those were the words of Pingree coach Steve Gibbs referring to visiting Middlesex, and were they ever true!
Middlesex (10-2) defeated Pingree, 69-59, finding and hitting open shots with regularity on Friday night at Pingree in a non-league game.
Austin Dorsey, making only his second start for the Zebras, killed the Highlanders from the outside (six 3’s) on his way to a game high twenty-three points.
By the time the 6-6 Middlesex sophomore had canned his 4th trey in the first half, Coach Gibbs had burned three timeouts trying to find defensive answers. The Highlanders trailed, 27-10, at the time with nearly four minutes left in the first half.
Pingree (10-5) was very keen on defending Middlesex point guard Aaron Swenson. And for good reason, the 5-7 senior netted forty-one points on Wednesday against Roxbury Latin. The problem for Pingree was that speedy defender Johnny Spears was unavailable to guard Aaron. Without Johnny, Coach Gibbs gave just about everyone a chance to limit the damage Aaron might do.
After Aaron’s three on the first shot of the game, Pingree did keep him from hurting them long-range. However, close guarding outside led to cuts to the basket. Aaron finished with twenty-one points including thirteen in the second half.
Middlesex was missing starters Jon Siu and Ben Cherington but on this day Austin Dorsey filled in remarkably well.
The visitors from Concord (MA) had an 8-0 lead before Kyle Lentini (13 points) broke the ice with a 3-pointer.
The Highlanders were within six (16-10) until Middlesex ran eleven unanswered points over the next five minutes to build up a 27-10 spread. Pingree had six turnovers during that five minute dry spell. (Another place where having Johnny Spears available might have made a difference.)
Middlesex led by twelve (33-21) at the half.
Pingree showed some life early in the second half cutting their deficit to nine (40-31). They were still close enough (44-33) to make things interesting with 11:20 left.
But in the next 3+ minutes, Middlesex put ten straight points together (3’s by Austin Dorsey and Hamza Usman, plus layups by Aaron Swenson and Hamza Usman) and grew their lead to 54-33 with 8 1/2 minutes left.
Pingree was able to make the final score a little more respectable by swishing three 3-pointers (Reese Fullmer, Tom Lennon, and Kyle Lentini) in the last minute.
Pingree’s Alonzo Jackson (12 points) was very effective in close. The Highlanders did not give the tall sophomore enough touches.
Senior Peter Beatty picked up twelve points for Middlesex.
The Zebras had a number of assisted layups on passes from Aaron Swenson or Austin Perry.
Would it be fair to say that Pingree without Johnny Spears is like the Celtics without Rajon Rondo?
Aaron Swenson will be attending Connecticut College.
Next game for Middlesex will be home against Brooks School on Wednesday (4PM).
Pingree visits Landmark tomorrow.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)