(Worcester) Whitinsville Christian scored the first ten points of the game as well as the last seven points of the game and defeated undefeated Maynard (25-1), 58-44, to win the Central Mass D3 title on Saturday afternoon at WPI.
WC (20-4) reached the Central Mass finals last season against undefeated Sutton and lost but with many returnees on its roster, the Crusaders showed poise early. While WC was making shots, Maynard was making turnovers – first five possessions.
One of those turnovers led to a breakaway for 6-8 Hans Miersma (17 points). Hans’ size gave the Tigers problems all game as “big” for them was 6’2”. Hans blocked a number of shots and intimidated other Tiger shooters in close to the basket.
The Tigers finally scored on a Mike Fowler steal that led to an old-fashioned 3-point play after eleven fruitless possessions.
A couple of treys (Brian Viscariello) later the Tigers trailed, 15-9, after a quarter.
Another old-fashioned 3-point play by Mike Fowler had the score at 26-19 with 1 ½ minutes to go in the second period.
WC followed with eight unanswered points in a run that stretched into the third quarter. Colin Richey (13 points), Hans, and Andrew Dykstra (13 points) did the scoring damage during this segment and WC had what looked to be a comfortable 35-19 spread, 1 ½ minutes into the third period.
WC was still in good shape (44-29) late in the quarter before Maynard made its move, getting nine points in a row with a trey by Peter Frank ending the run. Now down only 44-38 with 7 ½ minutes left in the game you had a sense that the undefeated team would close strong and wondered what WC had left.
However, what Maynard didn’t have thereafter was 3-point accuracy. They launched eight and didn’t make any. On the other side, WC free throw shooting was an adventure. The Crusaders missed seven of thirteen in the final quarter.
Jason Silva’s layup put the score at 51-44 with 2 ½ minutes left. The rest of the way the Tigers came up completely empty with a couple of turnovers thrown in. The victorious Crusaders produced points on each of their final five possessions to win 58-44.
The final score hardly reflects the difference between the two teams. Maynard dug itself too deep a hole early. The tourney-savvy Crusaders played well with the lead and had playmakers on offense and defense.
WC now plays New Liberty in Springfield on Tuesday (4:15PM) in the state semifinals.