Boys’ hoop team prevails 49-46 in Div. 2 North preliminary round thriller
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
LYNN — Two years ago against Lynn Classical in the Div. 2 North Tournament, senior guard Chris Calnan tipped in a shot at the buzzer as the Wakefield Memorial High boys’ basketball team edged the Rams, 64-63, at the Charbonneau Field House.
Last night in a preliminary round contest at Lynn Classical High School, it was Calnan’s backcourt teammate, senior guard Brian Dickey, who was the difference maker with his clutch free throw shooting.
As a result, the Warriors advanced in the Div. 2 North Tournament with a 49-46 triumph over Lynn Classical in a thriller.
Wakefield (10-9) will now face top-ranked Danvers (21-0) on Friday night in a first round contest at 7 p.m. at Danvers High School. Lynn Classical wrapped up the 2014-15 season with a 10-11 record.
Dickey netted 12 points total, but it was his 5-for-6 shooting from the free throw line in the final 1:07 of regulation which sent Wakefield home with the triumph.
While Dickey was clutch down the stretch, junior forwards Tighe Beck and Andrew Auld had big games inside. Beck was the game high scorer with 18 points while Auld chipped in seven points. Both Beck and Auld were immense on the boards on both ends of the court which gave the Warriors many second shots and prevented the Rams from getting too many second and third chances.
“That is what tournament basketball is all about. If you don’t win, you go home,” said Coach Brad Simpson. “I told the kids before the start of the tournament that unless you win a state title your season ends with a loss. Now, we play Danvers which isn’t much of a reward. They’re a very good team. But the kids would rather be playing them than watching them play.”
The score was tied at 44-44 with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter. After each team turned the ball over, Lynn Classical’s junior guard Jaleel Brown (five points) attempted a three-point shot and missed. Down the other end of the court, Dickey took the ball to the basket and was fouled with 1:07 left. Dickey made both free throws to give Wakefield a 46-44 lead.
The Rams then took a timeout to set up a shot and junior forward CJ Lights hit his only basket of the game with a shot that rolled around the rim and fell through the cylinder to tie the game at 46-46 with 44.6 seconds left.
After a Wakefield timeout, Dickey was fouled once again and made one of two foul shots with 26.6 seconds left to put the Warriors up by one, 47-46.
On the other end of the court, senior guard Peter Mafo (14 points) drove to the basket for a layup attempt. But his shot didn’t fall and Beck got the rebound and dished off the ball to Dickey who was immediately fouled. Dickey made both free throws with 12.8 seconds left to give Wakefield a 49-46 lead.
The Rams then took a time out to set up one last shot. Lights attempted a three-point shot which would’ve tied the game and most likely sent the contest into overtime. The shot missed and Dickey came away with the loose ball as time ran out and the Warriors celebrated a hard fought postseason victory.
“Number 12 (Lights) is a pretty good player and we ran a box-and-one and zone against him. We also had someone assigned to him,” said Simpson. “It was just a great high school game.”
The Warriors also made 10 of 12 free throws (83 percent) they attempted which was quite a contrast to the 6-for-21 debacle against Melrose last week. Meanwhile, Lynn Classical made just 1-for-5 free throws for 20 percent. In a close game, that may have been the difference for the Rams.
Mafo recorded a layup and senior forward Eli McConney (11 points) banked a shot off the glass to give Lynn Classical a 4-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
But junior forward Jon Miller (eight points) sank a jumper to get the Warriors on the scoreboard with 5:27 left in the first.
McConney made a layup before Beck sank a baseline shot to cut the lead to 6-4 with 4:52 left.
McConney and Mafo recorded back-to-back three-point shots to give the host Rams a 12-4 advantage with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
But Wakefield’s game plan was to work the ball to the low post and Beck was huge offensively as he scored six straight points. The first basket came on a nice feed from Dickey, the second came on a put back of a missed shot, and the third one was a hook shot from inside the paint which cut the lead to 12-10 with 1:13 left in the opening period.
McConney hit a basket from the low post with 36.4 showing on the clock as the Rams led 14-10 after one quarter.
Auld made one of two free throws to begin the second quarter. After a layup by senior Carlos Ocasio, Wakefield used its inside game to rally to take a one point lead, 17-16. Miller drove to the basket for a layup, Auld made a nice spin move in the paint for a basket and Beck took a Dickey pass and converted from inside the paint to give the Warriors a one point lead with 4:12 left in the first half.
Freshman Calvin Johnson (10 points) and Miller traded baskets before Lynn Classical closed out the second quarter with an 8-0 run. The Rams’ full court pressure gave Wakefield some difficulty as it turned the ball over on a number of occasions which led to some fast break baskets for the Rams.
Mafo pulled up and sank a mid-range jump shot. Mafo then recorded a field goal in transition and was fouled. He missed the free throw, however. Brown then hustled and followed through on a missed shot, making the field goal and being fouled in the process. He also missed the foul shot and a chance to make a three-point play. Johnson then made a hook shot with 34.5 seconds left as Lynn Classical opened up a 26-19 lead at halftime.
“We were down seven at halftime,” said Simpson. “I have to give my assistant coaches — Bryan Sweeney, John Amentola, and Ryan Rexford — credit. They each helped with one of the adjustments we made at halftime. One of those adjustments was shortening our passes against their press. We didn’t necessarily make the baskets but we didn’t turn the ball over as much.”
Calnan, who had quiet offensive night in the scoring department with four points, recorded his first basket of the game with a layup to begin the third quarter.
After a basket from Mafo along the baseline and McConney basket after a rebound gave the Rams their biggest lead of the contest at 30-21 with 5:39 left in the third.
The Warriors then made their move with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 30-30 with 3:31 left in the third period.
Beck tipped in a missed shot and then Dickey sank a trey. Beck made a nice spin move for a basket and then Auld scored from inside to tie the game at 30.
After several misses by both teams, Ocasio scored a fast break basket and then Beck sank a shot inside the paint with 29.3 seconds remaining to tie the game at 32-32. But Brown netted a three-point shot with 12.3 seconds left to give Lynn Classical a 35-32 advantage after three quarters.
The game was tight and the fourth quarter was no different which provided an exciting finish.
Dickey drove the baseline for a layup, Calnan sank two free throws and Dickey recorded another layup with 6:14 left to give the Warriors a 38-35 lead.
Johnson recorded a three-point play with a basket and free throw to tie the game at 38-38 and then sank one from beyond the arc to give Lynn Classical a 41-38 lead with 4:52 left.
The Rams missed a chance to extend their lead after Mafo missed a pair of free throws with 4:28 left.
Auld then sank two foul shots with 4:20 left to cut the lead to one, 41-40. Calnan then showed good floor leadership and dished off passes to Beck and Miller inside as the Warriors took a 44-41 lead with 3:00 showing on the clock.
Mafo then canned a trey to knot the game at 44-44 before Dickey made some some pressure free throws down the stretch to lift the Warriors to a win.
“Another adjustment in the second half is we looked to move the ball around more,” said Simpson. “We looked to the low post with Auld and Beck. We also looked to the high post. Brian Dickey is one our senior captains and he came up big over the last four minutes with the free throws. He also hit a three which helped spark our run in the third quarter.”
MIAA Div. 2 North
Boys’ Basketball Tournament
At Lynn Classical
WAKEFIELD 49, Lynn Classical 46
WAKEFIELD (49) — Beck 9 0 18; Miller 4 0 8; Auld 2 3 7; Dickey 3 5 12; Calnan 1 2 4; Urbano 0 0 0; Price 0 0 0; Fitzgerald 0 0 0; Imbriano 0 0 0; McKenna 0 0 0; Nadeau 0 0 0. Totals 19 10 49.
Lynn Classical (46) — Lights 1 0 2; McConney 5 0 14; Sarenteas 0 0 0; Brown 2 0 5; Mafo 6 0 14; C.Johnson 4 1 10; Ocasio 2 0 4; Galvez. Totals 20 1 46.
Score by Quarters — WAKEFIELD 10-9-13-17 — 49. Lynn Classical 14-12-9-11 — 46.
Three-point FGs — Wak, Dickey 1. LC, Mafo 2, McConney 1, Brown 1, C.Johnson 1.