THE ‘GREEN’ SEA showed up to Scituate in full force to support their Warriors in the state quarterfinals on Friday night. (Brian Cusack Photo)



SCITUATE — The Wakefield High boys’ basketball team’s magical run through the Div. 2 statewide tournament came to an end in the quarterfinals on Friday night at Scituate High as the home team Sailors outlasted the Warriors 61-53.

Wakefield showed plenty of their patented fight that got them to the South Shore for the second time in four days (they beat Pembroke in the Sweet 16 on March 8), including an 18-10 first quarter lead and a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to one point with just over two minutes remaining, but the Sailors closed on a 9-2 run to cement the victory.

The Warriors were led by juniors Mike Wilkinson (19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals) and Ethan Margolis (13 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast). In the end, Scituate’s Keegan Sullivan (game-high 23 pts, 9 assists) was too much to handle down the homestretch.

“Give credit to Scituate,” said Wakefield’s first year head coach Colin Halpin. “They are a scrappy bunch. Sullivan plays hard and they surround him with some guys that can really shoot it.”

It was Wakefield who was really shooting it well in the first quarter, thanks in large part to an aggressive Wilkinson, who was not hesitant about getting to the rim which he did with ease in an 8 point, 4 rebound, 2 assist quarter. Wilkinson’s second chance bucket gave Wakefield an early lead and Margolis followed with nasty right to left crossover for an and-one that allowed Wakefield to work a 9-5 advantage. Wilkinson had his own tough two through contact and later backed his man down and dropped-stepped for an easy bucket and a 13-5 lead.

Senior Matt Sellers (5 pts, 7 reb, 3 ast) hit a corner 3 and Wilkinson finished strong at the hoop again to create the 8-point lead after one, much to the delight of a dedicated group of Warrior fans including a loud Red Sea student section, decked out in green and giving the home team’s student section a run for their money.


MIKE WILKINSON drives to the hoop against Scituate in the Div. 2 State Elite 8. The junior finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. (Brian Cusack Photo)


“To go on the road almost 90 minutes from Wakefield for our last two games and look into the stands and see the Red Sea, parents, teachers, students, Alum… that is special,” said Halpin. “I think it speaks to the character of this team. We got all out effort all year. As a coach, that is all you can ask for.”

Sullivan and Scituate, who will move on to the state semifinals where they will play No. 1 seed Malden Catholic, tonight, 6:30 p.m. at Taunton High, woke up their home gym in a major way to start the second frame, going on a 7-0 run in the first 45 seconds. The quarter featured three lead changes with Wilkinson adding another 7 points for 15 in the first half. The small forward stepped into a right wing triple confidently for a 23-20 advantage after Scituate had tied it on a 3 of their own.

Margolis had one of his three blocked shots on a perfect closeout and Sellers hit Wilkinson on a no-look dish to reclaim the lead at 25-24. The Warriors, who have no problem playing fast, found themselves a worthy adversary as the Sailors let loose a full beam reach in transition where they took quick shots confidently and hit most of them. Efficiency and a fast pace is a great recipe for success.

Leading 29-25 at the half, Scituate continued this pace into the third, an almost dead even quarter which they won 15-14.

Senior captain Andrew Quinn (4 pts, 4 reb) hit an elbow jumper when the Warriors needed it to make it 31-27 and fellow senior Sean Russell (5 pts) connected on a corner 3 in front of the Wakefield bench after a give and go with Margolis.

The third featured multiple momentum plays and responses by each team, all in an environment that you can only get in the state tournament. For Wakefield, those plays included a Margolis layup on a spin move which he followed with another block of a 3-point attempt; Quinn drawing a charge; an and-one after an offensive rebound by Russell and a hustle play off a miss by Sellers to knock it out of bounds off a Sailor.

Still, Scituate led 44-39 going into the fourth, a lead they would push to what felt like an insurmountable 52-41 advantage.

The Warriors weren’t done quite yet.

Giving their traveling fan base plenty to cheer about, Wakefield’s 10-0 run made it 52-51 with 2:22 left.

Wilkinson had 4 points in the run. Additional scoring came on two 3-pointers, one from Margolis at the top of the key and one from senior captain Jeff DiFazio (5 pts) who drilled a long ball from the right wing in front of a howling “Green Sea” to force a Scituate timeout.

Wakefield had a couple looks at triples to take the lead that agonizingly bounced out and Scituate’s John Kinsley (14 points) hit a clutch 3 to make it 56-51. Margolis found Sellers down low to make it 56-53 but Scituate connected on a home run pass to Sullivan down the court which resulted in a 58-53 lead with 45 seconds left, an advantage that the resilient Warriors finally couldn’t overcome.

“There is really no way to prepare for the season to end so abruptly,” said Halpin. “That was an emotional locker room. I thought coach (Tom) Leahy put it best when he said, ‘What we accomplished this year was more than just basketball – we became a brotherhood.’”

It certainly takes unity of the brotherhood variety to make the run the 28th-ranked Warriors did. In the end, they went 3-1 in Wakefield’s first foray into the new statewide tournament format, including a preliminary 56-46 home win over Masco and two thrilling road upsets far away from Farm St. – a 67-56 win over No. 5 Pope Francis in Springfield and a 59-50 win over No. 12 Pembroke.

“We will miss our seven seniors next year,” said Halpin of captains DiFazio and Quinn, Russell, Sellers, Donovan Foley, Owen Michaud and Mardin Minasian. “Those guys laid the foundation for years to come. And we will carry their work ethic on moving forward.”