Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Westboro Outlasts Marlboro in Early Mid-Wach B Clash

By Jason Siegel (@jasiegel821)

Westborough, Mass. - The Westborough Rangers, using a balanced scoring attack and a stout defense, defeated the Marlborough Panthers, 54-48, on Tuesday night in Westborough.

The Rangers (3-1, 2-0 Mid-Wach B) had four players score in double figures.

Marlborough (4-2, 0-2 Mid-Wach B) was playing without the services of star big man Chris Doherty, who was present in street clothes. Doherty had been ejected after a receiving two technicals in Marlborough’s thrilling victory over Algonquin last week.

Without Doherty, the Panthers took more outside shots in the early going. Three-pointers by Jonah Hintz (6 points, 9 rebounds) and Stephen Digregorio (5 points, 3 rebounds) gave Marlborough a 6-0 lead.

Captain Matthew Doherty (15 points, 5 steals) put the Rangers on the board with a three-pointer with 6:16 remaining in the first period.

The teams traded baskets until a three-pointer by Domenic Casparriello (10 points) sparked an 11-0 run by Westborough to finish off the first quarter.

Captain Jake Hughes (game-high 16 points, 6 rebounds) and Matthew Doherty also hit three-pointers over that span.

Hughes said that having a balanced offense that moves the ball was key to his team’s success in the first half.

“We’ve got five guys that can shoot the ball,” Hughes said after the game. “We were just knocking down shots.”

While Westborough found a rhythm on offense in the first half, their defense was preventing the Panthers from doing the same.

Westborough collected 13 steals over the course of the contest and held the Panthers to 12 first-quarter points, 11 points in the second period, and 9 points in the third frame.

Westborough head coach Brian Willar said that the competitiveness of his players allows them to play shut-down defense.

“They love to play defense,” Willar said of his team after the game. "They want to make the steal so they can make the pass. They don’t even care if they steal and score.”

The Rangers had another strong finish in the second quarter, ending the period on a 9-2 run to give them a 40-23 lead at halftime.

A pair of baskets by captain Michael Doherty (11 points, 3 rebounds) opened up a 44-23 lead for Westborough to start the second half, but the Panthers closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run, headlined by a three-pointer from captain Kevin Short (13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals).

The Rangers led 46-32 after three quarters.

Coach Willar said he liked the way the Rangers were moving the ball, but thought that they got tired in the second half.

“(The shots) were good, they just weren’t falling,” Coach Willar said of his team’s offense in the second half.

Marlborough scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, headlined by a driving layup by Short and a basket by Angel Strange (team-high 14 points, 3 rebounds).

After a basket by Michael Villodas that cut Marlborough’s deficit to eight, Hughes hit a three-pointer from the corner to open up an 11-point Ranger advantage.

The Panthers then went on an 8-1 run, headlined by a three-pointer by Short at the top of the key. A free throw from Hintz cut Westborough’s lead to 49-46, but the Rangers hit four free throws to keep it a two-possession game.

A rebound and putback by Michael Doherty in the final minute sealed the victory for Westborough.

Coach Willar was happy with the way his team played down the stretch and with their ability to close out the game.

“My guys showed some poise late in the game,” Coach Willar said following the win.

For Marlborough, they have to be happy with the way they fought back in the fourth quarter without Doherty, but they have less of a margin for error now that they are 0-2 in Mid-Wach B.

This is a big win for Westborough, moving to 2-0 in Mid-Wach B play and leading wire-to-wire. They showed that they can be a dominant defensive team and move the ball well on offense.

The Panthers will look to pick up their first league win on Friday when they travel to Fitchburg.

The schedule does not get any easier for the Rangers, as they travel to Groton-Dunstable on Friday.

No comments :