ZAC FEDERICO (in white) had 14 points in Melrose’s barn-blazing 62-58 loss to Wakefield on Tuesday. (Dan Pawlowski photo)

 


Melrose battles back to a 62-58 loss

By JENNIFER GENTILE

MELROSE—It wasn’t the outcome they were looking for, but the Melrose boy’s basketball team fought a hard and admirable comeback effort that led to a narrow 62-58 loss at the buzzer against rival Wakefield on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at the Melrose Middle School gym.

It was the second meeting between the Warriors and Red Raiders, with Melrose beating Wakefield in December, 62-51. But the well attended game on Tuesday seemed to be in Wakefield’s favor as they took early leads, including a 28-22 advantage at the half.

Melrose junior Cam Lippie led in scoring among both teams with a whopping 25 points. Melrose senior captain Zac Federico also had a solid night with 14 points, much of that in Melrose’s super-charged second half when Red Raiders charged back to pull within 2 points with a minute left.

The Red Raiders started off fairly slow, down 19-10 after the first, despite solid baskets from Lippie. Melrose’s Owen Dewey, Rob Colozzo and Zac Federico would help narrow the gap despite Wakefield going on a 6 point run, and Melrose’s Lippie had several baskets down low that drew fouls to aid the Red Raider cause.

In the third, Lippie would again find the net and draw fouls for an and-one to help Melrose stay within 8 points, while both he and Federico had quality defensive blocks to give Melrose momentum. Ellis Davis joined the scoring action and Melrose was down 47-37 as the third closed.

Federico was on fire in the fourth with 8 points in the opening minutes and Max Kirby had Melrose fans on their feet with a well-timed three. Federico’s trey and a follow up basket put Melrose back in it, 56-50. Another Kirby basket had Melrose down just three at 57-54 and Cam Lippy scored on a Melrose rebound to make it 58-56. Melrose’s Sage Jones had his own clutch basket to narrow the gap 60-58 with just twelve seconds left. Melrose was in the perfect position to tie things up or take a lead with a key possession.

The Red Raiders called a time out with just over ten seconds left. When the whistle blew, Melrose’s sideline inbound pass from half court landed in the hands of the Warriors, picked off by De’Ari Burton and soon fed to Warrior Mike Wilkenson who had a buzzer beating final bucket that sealed the win.

A heartbreaker for sure, but enjoyable for fans of a good local rivalry. The Red Raiders hope to rebound when they travel to Lynnfield on Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. game against the Pioneers.