The Chelsea High basketball team clinched an outright Commonwealth Athletic Conference championship with a string of three victories over their principal CAC rivals this past week. The Red Devils stand at a perfect 11-0 in the CAC and with just two league games left, and their nearest rivals all having three losses, the 2011 crown will take its place at Chelsea High.
The Red Devils began their impressive streak Friday at home with a 69-62 triumph over Greater Lawrence. Chelsea held a comfortable lead throughout the game, including a 55-41 advantage at the third quarter juncture.
However, the Red Devils allowed Lawrence to creep back into the contest, making it a closer final score than most of the game had been. “We have to learn how to slow down the tempo and manage the clock when we have leads in the fourth quarter,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal. “We’re at our best when we’re running the floor, but we also need to play at a slower pace when the situation calls for it.”
Joseph Rivera led a balanced Chelsea scoring attack with 17 points. Felix Crespo (15 points) and Sammy Mojica (13) also reached double figures for the Red Devils.
Seigal and his crew journeyed to Greater Lowell Monday night to take on a Lowell squad that had knocked off Lynn Tech and was primed to make the Red Devils its next victim.
The contest was a close affair through the first half with Chelsea holding a 27-22 edge. But the Red Devils exploded out of the blocks after the intermission, outscoring their hosts 29-12 in those eight minutes, to turn the game into a rout, 56-34, after three frames, en route to a 70-48 triumph.
Mojica pumped in 21 points, followed by Rivera with 13, Luis Diaz with 12, and Eli Ortiz and Crespo with eight apiece.
There was no rest for the weary as Chelsea took on perennial archrival Lynn Tech the following night on Tuesday. Although the Red Devils grabbed an 11 point lead at the half, 26-17, and led by nine, 39-30, after three, Tech put on a run that culminated in tying the game at 59-59 with eight seconds to go to send the contest into overtime.
However, resilience has been a key component of the Red Devils’ journey to the top of the CAC this season. Despite having played a hard game and endured a long ride home the night before, they regrouped for the five minute extra session and outscored Tech 15-10 for a 74-69 victory.
“It was a great effort by both teams,” said Seigal. “I was especially proud of our guys for the way they played on back to back nights. It was a nice way to clinch the championship.”
Chelsea’s mettle and endurance will be tested in the coming week with five games in seven days: Seigal and Company will play at North Shore tonight (Thursday), journey to Minuteman tomorrow, travel to Whittier Monday, return home to face Everett Tuesday for Senior Night, and finally play at Revere on Wednesday.