Friday, January 26, 2018

Marlboro Uses Big Third Quarter to Pull Away from Westboro

By Jason Siegel (@jasiegel1821)

Marlborough, Mass. - For the first two-and-a-half quarters of Friday night’s Mid-Wach B battle between the Westborough Rangers and the Marlborough Panthers, it appeared that the game would come down to the wire, as Westborough kept fighting its way back and preventing the Panthers from pulling away.

The previous meeting between these two teams also came down to the wire before Westborough pulled out a 6-point win in a game that was not played by Marlborough star center, and Notre Dame commit, Chris Doherty.

Doherty proved to be the difference on Friday night in Marlborough, as he scored 7 of his game-high 19 points during Marlborough’s 18-4 run over the final 5:15 of the third quarter, handing the Rangers a deficit they could not come back from, en route to a 76-58 victory for the Panthers.

With the win, Westborough (7-4, 4-2 Mid-Wach B) and Marlborough (11-2, 4-2 Mid-Wach B) are tied now for first place in Mid-Wach B.

Doherty began the 18-4 run with a rebound and putback and ended the run with a rebound and putback.

Doherty was a beast on the boards all night, as he pulled down 24 rebounds. No one else on either team had more than 5 rebounds.

Marlborough head coach Scott Bauman said that Chris Doherty is a focal point for the Panthers, but was pleased with the play of some of the reserves, including Michael Villodas, who had 9 points off the bench.

Captain Alex Santos also played a big role in the Panther’s victory, scoring 16 points, including 6 during Marlborough’s 18-4 run in the third quarter.

Westborough captain Jake Hughes (8 points, 5 rebounds) ended Marlborough’s run with a jumper, cutting the Ranger’s deficit to 55-41 entering the fourth quarter.

A basket by Jack Lentine cut the Panther’s advantage to 55-43 ten seconds into the fourth quarter.

Throughout the season, Marlborough has had a tendency to build big leads in the third quarter and allow other teams to climb back in it, which has led to close games and tense finishes.

Coach Bauman has wanted to see his team sustain big leads, and the Panthers did that on Friday night, extending their lead to 70-50 midway through the fourth quarter following a rebound and putback by Doherty and a driving layup by Doherty.

Coach Bauman said that sustaining leads has been a point of emphasis in the past few weeks, and he was happy with the way the Panthers finished the game on Friday night.

“We’ve talked about (sustaining leads),” Coach Bauman said after the victory. “We’ve been able to put leads together, but it’s a different story as far as sustaining it. In order to sustain it, we’ve got to maintain what got us that lead.”

Doherty said that Marlborough’s ability to sustain big leads is a sign of growth for the Panthers.

“We’re definitely growing. We’re learning how to close games out,” Doherty said after the game. “We’re definitely coming together as a group.”

Earlier in the night, the Panthers were not able to maintain leads.

Both teams started off slowly and struggled to score against the opposing team’s stout defense. The first field goal of the game was a layup by Doherty off a pass from Kevin Short (9 points, 7 assists) with 4:49 remaining in the first quarter.

A pair of three-pointers by Santos, both set up by passes from Short, opened up a 14-7 lead for Marlborough.

Westborough closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run, headlined by a three-pointer from Matthew Doherty (team-high 18 points, 2 steals) and a rebound and putback at the first-quarter buzzer by senior Declan Donovan that tied the game at 14.

A couple of buckets and a free throw from Domenic Casparriello (16 points, 5 boards) opened up a 22-19 advantage for the Rangers.

The Panthers then went on a 10-0 run, headlined by a layup and a corner 3-pointer by Jonah Hintz (7 points, 3 rebounds). After Marlborough took a 34-24 lead, Hughes hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first half to cut Marlborough’s halftime lead to 34-27.

Westborough opened the second half with a three-pointer by Michael Doherty (9 points) and a pair of free throws by Matthew Doherty to make Marlborough’s advantage 34-32.

The Panthers extended their lead to 37-32 on a free throw by Stephen Digregorio (8 points) and a rebound and putback by Santos.

A jumper by Casparriello and a three-pointer from Matthew Doherty tied the contest at 37, but the Panthers responded with their 18-4 run to close the third quarter and would not look back after that.

Friday’s win was a big one for Marlborough, as it ties it with Westborough atop the league standings, and showed it could sustain a double-digit lead for 32 minutes.

The Panthers also demonstrated that they have depth and multiple 3-point shooters. Short, who is known more for his scoring, showed that he can be a facilitator as well and set up his teammates with open looks from beyond the arc.

Westborough showed that they have multiple scorers and moved the ball well on offense. However, they did not have the personnel to match up with Chris Doherty and could not recover from being held to 4 points over the final 5:29 of the third quarter.

Marlborough will be vying for their eighth straight win on Tuesday when they host Fitchburg in a Mid-Wach B matchup.

Westborough will have the chance to bounce back and end their 3-game losing streak against a Mid-Wach B opponent on Tuesday when they host Groton-Dunstable.

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