(West Newbury MA) You thought the Super Bowl had an exciting finish? You should have been at Pentucket tonight!
Masconomet was the opponent and the game came down to two clutch free throws and a missed layup just before the buzzer.
When it was over the Chieftains had a 74-73 win and qualified for the MIAA tournament.
“It was two good teams going at it,” said a relieved Coach Bryan Duplissie of Masco afterwards. “Just a great game.”
The team from Boxford trailed by a point with twenty seconds left after missing a shot, but Pentucket turned the ball over giving the Chieftains time to organize with seventeen seconds left.
“We wanted the ball in his (Will Schena) hands,” said Coach Duplessie. “We ran a play for him and he got fouled.”
Will drained both pressure-packed free throws with six seconds left giving the visitors a one-point lead. “He’s the guy we wanted in the clutch,” said Coach Duplessie. “He hit a three against Peabody to force overtime.”
Plenty of time for Pentucket. Masco opted to double-team Nate McGrail to keep him from getting the inbounds pass. That left Spencer Pacy with the ball.
“They took away Nate but Spencer is usually a good finisher,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey. “We had the opportunity but just didn’t finish.”
Spencer dribbled the length of the court and into the lane with three defenders. He got off a shot that missed before the buzzer sounded.
The combination of the clock running down, and the lack of any shot-block attempt by the Chieftains’ defenders probably influenced Spencer’s shot.
“We got lucky,” said Coach Duplessie. “We told our players that when they go to the rim we have to step in and take a charge. They went all the way to the rim and we were fortunate that the shot didn’t fall.”
So you can see that the end was pretty exciting. The rest of the game wasn’t too shabby either.
Pentucket put a 9-point run together in the first quarter to get ahead, 17-10. In the final quarter, Masco used an 8-2 segment to create a, 62-54, margin.
Other than that this game was very tight. In a 32-minute game there were EIGHTEEN lead changes and six ties. There were six lead changes in the last three minutes of the game!
Both teams had players who could score and neither team was shy about taking the ball to the rim.
Both teams changed defenses frequently.
The Chieftains were better on the boards and had four second-chance baskets. “It was a physical game,” said Coach Hickey. “We needed to do a better job rebounding. We have them too many extra opportunities.”
The Sachems had fourteen turnovers while Masco had twelve. Two of the Pentucket miscues were in the final ninety seconds.
Division 2 Masconomet (10-4) has now won six of their last seven games. The Chieftains were 6-14 last season.
Division 3 Pentucket (10-5) had beaten Masco three straight times before tonight’s loss.
Masco and Pentucket will meet again in eleven days at Masco. I suspect that it will be another close one.
It certainly didn’t help Pentucket’s chances of winning to miss six free throws in the final quarter including the front end of a one-and-one.
The Sachems have lost twice to another D3 team (Lynnfield) that is also in the playoffs.
David Hunter (16), Will Schena (15) and Daniel Monagle (14) led the Masco scorers.
Nate McGrail and Gus Flaherty had fifteen points to pace the Sachems and Spencer Pacy added thirteen points.
(My stats disagree with the official scorebook but being old and stubborn I choose to think that my unofficial stats are right…..although I could be wrong.)
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)