ETHAN MARGOLIS dives for a loose ball during a win over Burlington on Friday night. The senior captain had 14 points and 16 rebounds. (Brian Cusack Photo)
By TYM BROWN
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield boys’ basketball team picked up their biggest win of the year against the Burlington Red Devils on Friday night, taking down their rivals by a 14-point margin at the Charbonneau Field House (56-42). This win gave the Warriors a 9-1 record on the season and improved their home record to 6-0. The win gave Wakefield the lead in the Middlesex League midway through the season
Once again it was the trio of Mike Wilkinson, Ethan Margolis and De’Ari Burton leading the way to victory for the Warriors.
“They’re phenomenal, great leaders,” said Warrior forward Jackson McDermott regarding his teammates. “I love playing next to those guys.”
Wilkinson (20 points), Margolis (14 points), and Burton (12 points) scored 46 points together, over 80 percent of the team’s total points.
Along with his 14 points, Margolis stuffed the stat sheet with 16 rebounds throughout the game as well as collecting five assists and three steals to go with his first double-double of the year.
The Warriors started off with a pair of free throws and a tough fall-away shot from Wilkinson. Then a near 5-minute scoring drought fell upon Wakefield. Burlington took full advantage, going on a 9-0 run led by guard Ben Poehler and senior captain Eric Sekyaya.
Margolis was able to get the team back on the board with a pair of free throws and Connor Mauriot hit a corner triple on the next possession to get the offense back in rhythm.
The Warriors struggled severely from the field in the first, hitting only two of their 15-shot attempts in the quarter, but started the second quarter down only a pair. The second quarter began with free throws from Margolis off of a foul from Sekyaya and subsequently a drawn charge by Margolis that gave Sekyaya his third foul of the game just one minute into the second quarter. This forced the Red Devils to sub their senior captain out of the game.
The two teams traded buckets until Wakefield was finally able to come up with a stop by way of another drawn charge from Margolis. Wilkinson hit a layup to tie the game, followed by a Burton steal-and-score to put the Warriors up 19-17, their first lead since two minutes into the 1st quarter. The Warriors ended the first half up only four points but had momentum on their side going into the final two quarters.
Wilkinson started the second half with a floater and Sekyaya answered with a layup of his own.
Burton then went on a tear, ripping through the Burlington defense for an off-hand finish and hitting a corner 3 on a fastbreak to fire up the Wakefield crowd. Wakefield went on to take a 10-point lead with a free throw from McDermott, but Burlington fought back to within five after an and-1 from Poehler that gave Wilkinson his fourth foul. Just when the Warriors seemed to be letting their guard down, Burton hit another three-ball to make the score 38-30 in the home team’s favor.
The 4th quarter opened up with a deep, mid-range shot from Wilkinson and a 3 from the right wing by Margolis which forced a Burlington timeout. Out of the break, the Red Devils turned the ball over and McDermott took it straight to the rack for a tough finish to give the Warriors their biggest lead of the game at 15. Margolis hit Wilkinson with a full-court dime just two possessions later and made it clear that the Warriors would not give up this lead.
Margolis and Wilkinson played a two-man game as they ran the clock out in the fourth with the final score standing at 56-42.
Wakefield’s stifling defense held their opponent to their lowest scoring mark of the season as well as 4-for-12 shooting in the final quarter of play. Most notably, though, the Warriors’ dominance on the boards gave them multiple second-chance opportunities that helped to push them past this tough opponent.
This game was by far the best showing the boys’ team has put on all year. To face such a tough opponent holding onto a seven-game win streak and beat them by double-digits is an impressive feat, to say the least.
With the Warriors now holding a seven-game winning streak of their own, they’ll go on a three-game road trip starting in Reading tonight at 6 p.m.