Red Devils defeat Masconomet, 53-52; face Salem Thursday
The Chelsea High boys basketball team overcame a sluggish start and played tough defense in the final minutes to earn a heart-pounding, 53-52 triumph over Masconomet Regional in a preliminary round contest of the MIAA Division 2 North Sectional of the state basketball tournament Monday evening at the CHS gym.
The triumph earns the Red Devils the right to take on the number one seed in the D-2 North, Salem, which enters the tourney with an 18-2 record and is ranked fifth in the state. That contest is set for Thursday evening at 7:00 in the Salem gym.
“It was a great game,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal of his team’s victory over Masco. “I could tell that we came out a bit nervous, but we settled down after the first few minutes and played our game.”
The Red Devils found themselves down, 15-4, in the opening minutes, but closed the gap to 15-7 by the end of the first period. Chelsea then took control in the second frame, outscoring Masco 19-4 to take a 26-19 lead into the locker room at the half.
However, tourney games never are easy and Masco rebounded after the intermission to pull even at 36-36 after three quarters, setting the stage for a frantic battle over the final eight minutes that came down to the final seconds.
Neither team could make a run, with the lead see-sawing until with about 1:30 to go, Chelsea moved out to a 53-52 edge. Both teams had scoring opportunities over the final 90 seconds, with Chelsea having a chance at the free throw line with three seconds to play. However, neither team could put the ball in the hoop, and a Masco shot at the buzzer from the corner fell short.
The jubilant Chelsea fandom in attendance poured onto the floor at the final buzzer to provide their heroes with an appropriate victory celebration.
Chelsea received a balanced scoring effort as four Red Devils reached double figures: Chris Torrez led the way with 14 points, Angel Alvarez struck for 13, Steve Lacey hit for 12, and Jahro Marshall added 11. Balmeiro Daveiga chipped in three points.
Marshall turned in a powerful double-double as he pulled down 11 rebounds to go with his 11 points. Torrez, who suffered a broken nose in the last game of the season, had tried wearing a face-guard during practice sessions, but opted not to wear it in the game. After a tentative start, Chris poured in 12 of his 14 points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds.
Guillermo Zelata also did a nice job on the boards for Chelsea with six rebounds and Lacey nabbed five caroms.
“Our guards did a nice job neutralizing their guards and our forwards played very well,” said Seigal. “It was a total team effort.
“A win in the tourney always is a great accomplishment,” added Seigal. “We’ll savor this one for a couple days and then get ready for Salem. We know Salem will be a challenge, but we’ll be ready to give it our best.”
Bruins Beat by Bob Morello
Bruins need to get hungry now!
With a total of 18 games left to play, the playoff race has tightened up immensely, and with the trade deadline now in the rear-view mirror, what you see as the team roster is what you get. This is the makeup of the Bruins 2015-16 team that will either take them to the playoff round, or to the end of another disappointing season. A pair of trade deadline transactions brought some veteran experience in forward Lee Stempniak (33) from New Jersey Devils, and defenseman John-Michael Liles (35) from Carolina Hurricanes. Those moves, in addition to Boston waiving Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot, have trimmed the team roster for the final push to the playoffs.
Thanks to Patrice Bergeron’s power-play goal (#24) late in the third period on Tuesday, the Bruins were able to pick up two much needed points with a 2-1 win. At press time (Wednesday), the Bruins were in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 76 points and not much breathing room, with four points the difference between fifth and the final eighth playoff position. Currently in eighth place, Pittsburgh has 72 points and two games in hand over Boston. Nipping at the Bruins’ tail with 75 points and three games in hand are the New York Islanders, and the Detroit Red Wings at 75 points and a single game in hand. On the upside, Boston is two points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning (78) in conference standings for fourth spot, and four points behind both the New York Rangers (80) and the Florida Panthers (80) for second place, with both teams holding a single game in hand over Boston.
The Bruins are chipping away at a chance to improve their poor home record, with Tuesday’s win putting them at 14-16-3, just two games under .500. A nagging statistic shows that from February 6th thru March 1st, Boston has had a tough time in posting back-to-back wins, only doing it twice during that span. The need for a stretch of consistency is right now, despite a schedule that has them hosting the likes of Chicago Blackhawks tonight (Thursday at 7:00pm), and the NHL league leading Washington Capitals (Saturday at 7:00pm). It won’t get any easier as they hit the road for a pair of games against two teams they are presently chasing in the standings – Florida (Monday, 3/7 at 7:30pm), and right back the next day to face Tampa (Tuesday, 3/8 at 7:30pm), before returning to Garden ice to take on Carolina (Thursday, 3/10 at 7:00pm).
Plusses and minuses from Tuesday’s win over Calgary: Coach Claude Julien said, “I think tonight was one of those games where we needed to come up big, especially after what we said before that last one, we had to make a play at some point. It was late in the game and it was an important goal (Bergeron) obviously and yeah I think we had a few good looks and chances but you know at the end of the day you got to bear down and put the puck in the back of the net. It’s big points that we need. We know how hard the schedule is coming up and how important and how tight the standings are.”
Tuukka Rask chimed in with: “Every game is very important from here on in. And obviously we want to play well and keep improving and get the wins because it’s definitely not going to get any easier. So it was a good win today (Tuesday). And you know real tough games coming up this week and hopefully we can keep things tight and get some points.”
This was Dougie Hamilton’s first visit back to the Garden since ‘unhappiness’ led him out of Boston, to Calgary in a trade. Following Tuesday’s game he was asked about his feelings (if any) in leaving Boston, and he responded with, “I enjoyed my time here and thankful for all the opportunities and stuff. I developed a lot as a player in I guess the three years I was here, I learned a lot and everything, so I’m just thankful for them and the opportunities they game me and everything. You’ve just got to think of that stuff and move on, it’s a… I think I’m happy being a Flame now and it feels so far removed already.” They say time heals all wounds, but for Hamilton it sounds like there really wasn’t much of a wound, and he has no regrets whatsoever with his decision (request) to leave this town!
CASINO NIGHT: Don’t miss the chance to hit the blackjack tables with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and your other favorite Bruins players? Join the Boston Bruins Foundation as it hosts its annual “Casino Night” featuring the current Bruins roster and Bruins alumni on Saturday, March 12 from 5:00pm – 9:00pm at the Westin Boston Waterfront (425 Summer Street, Boston, MA). Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.bostonbruins.com/casinonight.