Friday, December 22, 2017

Marlboro Tops St. John's (Shrewsbury) for Central Mass Statement Win

By Jason Siegel (@jasiegel1821)

Ed. Note- Check out some awesome photos from the game here.

SHREWSBURY, Mass. - Without a doubt, Marlborough senior Chris Doherty, who will play at Notre Dame next year, is the most well-known player on Marlboro's boys' basketball team.

But on Friday night in Shrewsbury, the Panthers proved they are more than a one-man team, as guards Stephen Digregorio (10 points), Jordan Oliveira (10 points, 4 rebounds), and captain Kevin Short (team-high 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) all scored in double figures to lead Marlboro (3-1) past CMass rival St. John’s (Shrewsbury), 52-47.

Marlborough head coach Scott Bauman came away from Thursday's game thrilled with Marlboro's guard play.

“I’ve got so much faith in my guards,” Bauman said following the win. “If we’re going to be successful, then it’s got to be team, plus Chris Doherty. It can’t be, (Doherty) goes out there every night and gives us 40 (points) and 20 (rebounds).”

Short said that the ball movement was key to Marlborough’s ability to have success with Doherty on the bench.

“The guards came together, and we moved the ball well,” Short said following the victory. “We got some transition buckets, and our defense came together.”

Doherty did not stuff the stat sheet, and spent stretches of the second and third quarters on the bench with foul trouble, but he finished with 7 points, 9 boards, 2 steals, and a key block in the final minute of the game.
Three-point shooting was also key for Marlborough, as the Panthers knocked down eight shots from downtown.

Coach Bauman said that he had no problem with his team shooting threes, as long as they were open looks.

Three-pointers by Alex Santos (7 points) and Oliveira, as well as an offensive rebound and putback by Doherty, gave Marlborough a 14-11 lead after the first quarter.

The Panthers began the second frame on an 11-4 run, with Oliveira and Short combining for 9 points over that span.

With the Pioneers (2-3) down 25-15, senior captain Sean Burke, who finished with a game-high 26 points, to go along with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks, scored the next five points to cut Marlborough’s advantage to 25-20.

Coach Bauman was very complimentary of Burke’s play after the game.

“(Burke) is just a gamer,” Bauman said following the victory. “He goes out there and he competes.”

Short countered with another three-pointer to put the Panthers up by eight, but another basket by Burke and a pair of free throws by captain Steven Bucciaglia (9 points, 9 boards) made the halftime score 29-24.

The Panthers began the second half on a 9-2 run, headlined by three-pointers from Digregorio and Short. However, Doherty picked up his third foul with 5:21 remaining, and with Doherty out for the rest of the quarter, Burke and Bucciaglia scored eight of the game’s next nine points, cutting Marlborough’s advantage to 38-34 going into the fourth frame.

St. John’s cut its deficit to 38-36 on the first possession of the fourth quarter on a baseline jumper by freshman guard Lucas SanFratello (4 points, 3 rebounds), and seemed to gain the momentum when Burke blocked a Panther layup attempt on the ensuing possession.

However, a three-pointer by Santos opened up a 41-36 lead for the Panthers.

After another baseline jumper by SanFratello and a pair of free throws by Doherty, Burke hit a driving layup over the 6’9” Doherty to cut St. John’s deficit to 43-40.

Oliveira hit a floater to give Marlborough a 5-point advantage, and Doherty blocked a Burke layup attempt with 5:05 remaining in the fourth period.

Burke scored five of the game’s next six points on a three-pointer and a layup off a pass from Bucciaglia to trim Marlborough’s lead to 46-45.

A corner three by Digregorio and a turnover by St. John’s allowed Marlborough to take a 49-45 lead with two minutes remaining.

With Marlborough maintaining a 50-47 lead, Doherty blocked a Burke shot attempt with 17 seconds left, and Short knocked down two free throws with six ticks remaining to seal the win for Marlborough.

As a captain, Short said he wanted to put the game away with his free throws at the end.

“(The free throws) were big, and we needed those badly, so I wanted to go and get them for our team,” Short said after the game.

St. John’s showed a lot of grit in this game, as they continued battling back and never gave up. However, they could not find another consistent go-to scorer to complement Burke.

For Marlborough, a signature win gives their young team a lot of confidence heading into the holiday break, and they showed that they can have success, even when Doherty is on the bench.

The schedule does not get any easier for Marlborough, as they host undefeated Algonquin on Thursday.

St. John’s will look to return to its winning ways on Tuesday, January 2nd when the Pioneers travel to rival St. Peter-Marian.

No comments :