The Chelsea High boys basketball team improved to 4-0 in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference with a 68-53 triumph over Greater Lowell Tuesday evening.
The Red Devils led all the way, grabbing a 16-4 lead after one period and never allowing Greater Lowell to bring the margin under double figures. Chelsea featured a balanced scoring attack as Sammy Mojica led the Red Devils in the scoring column with 16 points, followed by Jordan Virella with 14, Joseph Rivera with 12, and Felix Crespo with nine.
Chelsea head coach Jay Seigal also utilized a pressing defense that kept Greater Lowell off balance and resulted in a large number of turnovers. “We’re at our best when our defense creates offensive opportunities and we can maintain an up-tempo pace,” said Seigal.
The victory snapped a three game losing streak for Chelsea, all of which came against non league rivals. The Red Devils lost both games in their Christmas tournament last week, falling to Masconomet in the preliminary round, 50-38, and then to Triton in the consolation game, 59-57.
The latter contest saw Chelsea almost pull off a miraculous comeback victory as the Red Devils overcame a 14 point deficit with 2:35 to play and knotted matters at 57-57 with 19 seconds on the clock.
Chelsea played excellent defense as Triton tried for a final shot. The game seemed to be headed into overtime, but Triton caught a break when a loose ball was picked up by one if its players, who then threw up a shot at the buzzer which went through the hoop to win the game.
Mojica pumped in 23 points, including 13 in the final frame, as he and Virella led the charge in the final minutes that almost led to a victory.
Virella scored a team high 11 points in the Masco defeat, a loss that did not sit well with Seigal. “We didn’t play well against Masconomet and we didn’t come to play with a lot of energy,” said the veteran coach. “When we play against good teams like Masco, we have to learn that we have to play for a full 32 minutes, not just in spurts.”
Although the Red Devils came out on the short end of a 65-55 decision to Peabody on Monday, Seigal was pleased with his team’s performance. “We picked up where we left off in the final two minutes of the Triton game,” said Seigal. “We lost the Peabody game because we didn’t execute and finish our shots, but not because of a lack of hustle and effort.”
Chelsea held a 28-17 lead midway through the second quarter and had some chances to expand the lead, but couldn’t get the ball to fall. Peabody then rallied for a nine point run before the half to make it a 28-26 affair at the intermission. The teams played nip and tuck through the third frame until Peabody pulled away in the final eight mutes.
Crespo hit for 17 points and Rivera popped in 16 against the Tanners, the Red Devils’ former Greater Boston League rival which now is in the Northeastern Conference.
Seigal and crew now will take on two of their toughest CAC foes when they travel to Greater Lawrence Friday and then journey to Lynn Tech Tuesday.