Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Marlboro Shuts the Door on Shrewsbury

By Jason Siegel (@jasiegel1821)

Marlborough, Mass. - Tuesday’s game between the Shrewsbury Colonials and Marlborough Panthers was an example of why teams need to play hard for all 32 minutes to earn a win.

Marlborough (6-2, 1-2 Mid-Wach B) did just that on Tuesday night against Shrewsbury (3-3, 1-2 Mid-Wach A) to pick up a 55-49 victory at Marlborough High School.

Marlborough head coach Scott Bauman was happy with his team’s ability to close out the game.

“Shrewsbury is always very competitive,” Coach Bauman said after the game. “For us to be able to finish it off against a good team like that, I’m proud.”

Bauman was also happy with the way his team responded after the second quarter in which Shrewsbury went on 18-2 run to turn a 9-point deficit into a 7-point advantage.

The Colonials capitalized off of Chris Doherty (10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks) being benched for the final 7:01 of the second frame after he picked up his second foul just 59 seconds into the second quarter.

Five different players on Shrewsbury’s side scored over that span, including sophomore John West, who finished with a team-high 15 points to go along with 9 rebounds.

The Colonials demonstrated their scoring depth throughout the game, as 10 of the 14 players on their roster scored at least two points.

Junior guard Phil Smyrnios punctuated the run was a three-pointer from the corner the opened up a 27-20 lead just seconds before halftime.

Marlborough captain Kevin Short cut his team’s halftime deficit to four with a running three-pointer just a few steps beyond half court as the buzzer sounded, making Shrewsbury’s halftime advantage 27-23.

Short has been a catalyst for the Panthers all season long, and this game was no different. He finished with a game-high 20 points on four 3-pointers.

Coach Bauman was very pleased with Short’s leadership in the court this season.

“(Short) is a senior leader, and he’s stepping up and hitting big shots, which is what we need him to do,” Coach Bauman said after the win.

Short credited his teammates for his success on offense.

“I have to thank my teammates, because we moved the ball pretty well tonight,” Short said of his 20-point performance.

Along with Short, guards Stephen Digregorio (12 points on four 3-pointers) and Alex Santos (10 points) played a key role for the Panthers, and their contributions were not lost on Coach Bauman.

“With (Digregorio and Santos) stepping up and hitting big shots, that just makes us more of a versatile offensive team,” Coach Bauman said after the game.

Digregorio hit a 3-pointer 42 seconds into the third quarter to cut Marlborough’s deficit to 27-26, and Santos hit a pair of 3-pointers later in the period to open up a 34-29 lead for Marlborough with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.

The Colonials countered with a 6-0 run to take a 35-34, with West scoring four points over that span.

Short hit his second buzzer-beater of the night at the end of the third quarter, knocking down a three to give Marlborough a 37-35 lead heading into the fourth frame.

Short made another triple 16 seconds into the fourth quarter to give Marlborough a five-point advantage. After a free throw by Jordan Oliveira, Shrewsbury went on an 8-0 run on 3-pointers by Cole Fisher, senior captain Sam Mack, and a tip-in by West that gave Shrewsbury a 43-41 lead.

Doherty scored the next four points of the contest on a putback and free throw to complete an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by another free throw with 2:46 remaining that gave Marlborough a 45-43 advantage.

After the Colonials reclaimed a one-point lead on a free throw by West and a coast-to-coast layup from Smyrnios, Digregorio hit a three-pointer to provide the Panthers a 48-46 lead.

On Shrewsbury’s ensuing possession, Doherty came up with a ferocious block, allowing Marlborough to maintain a two-point advantage with 1:19 remaining.

Short then hit a floater from the free throw line as the shot clock expired, and Santos made a free throw with 32 seconds remaining to give Marlborough a 51-46 lead.

The Colonials were not done yet, however, as senior Ryan Hagge hit a corner three, cutting Marlborough’s lead to 51-59 with 10 seconds remaining.

But Short and Doherty made two free throws apiece over the final 10 seconds to seal the victory for the Panthers.

Although they could not pull out a win, Shrewsbury looked impressive at times on Tuesday night. They are an up-and-coming team with a lot of players who can score, and they play hard for all 32 minutes.

Marlborough showed the ability to close out games, and found a way to hang in the game as Shrewsbury took advantage of Doherty’s foul trouble.

Shrewsbury is off until next Tuesday when they travel to Burncoat. Marlborough will be back in action on Friday night when they host Mid-Wach B rival Nashoba.

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