The Chelsea High boys basketball team took on three elite opponents this past week and played well in all three contests. However, inconsistent play at crucial junctures proved fatal to the Red Devil cause in all three games.
The most heart wrenching of the trio of shortfalls came Monday in a 74-70 overtime loss at Whittier, one of the teams picked to be at the top of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference this season. The Red Devils shook off a slow start and battled back from an 11-0 deficit to make it a 32-28 affair at the half.
The teams battled up and down after the intermission, with neither team able to establish any separation.. However, with about 20 seconds to play, Red Devil Sean Quiroz sank two free throws to give Chelsea a two point lead. The Red Devils then played staunch defense as Whittier tried to work the ball around for a good last shot. A Whittier player finally threw up the ball in desperation as the clock ticked away the final few seconds. The shot was an airball, but unfortunately for Chelsea, it was one of those airballs that found its way into the hands of a Whittier player, who put it right back up, sinking the ball through the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
Whittier then grabbed the early advantage in the OT and held on for the victory. “Whittier is a good team with a lot of returning players,” said CHS head coach Jay Siegal. “Overall we played very well with a lot of energy and hustle. But we did not execute at times and made too many mistakes, and against a good team, you can’t get away with that.”
Sammy Mojica pumped in 29 points to pace the Red Devils in the scoring column. Quiroz hit for 17 and Kevin DeJesus reached double figures with 12,
Last week the Red Devils stepped out of the CAC to play in the Beverly Christmas tournament. Chelsea opened against the host team, which had defeated powerhouse Lynn English the previous week. The game was a hard fought battle all the way. The Red Devils led 36-32 at the half and held a 62-61 advantage with 50 seconds to play. However, Beverly scored to go ahead. The Red Devils missed on their next possession and were forced to foul. Beverly then made its free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The consolation game with Masconomet saw a similar script. The Red Devils moved out to a 25-20 lead midway through the second period, but inconsistency on offense allowed Masco to turn the tables for a 45-40 advantage after three frames. Chelsea hung close throughout the fourth period and drew within three, 65-62, in the final moments. However, a Red Devil three point attempt with 10 seconds to go fell short and Masco hung on for the win.
Mojica enjoyed a banner day vs. Beverly, pouring in 33 points. DeJesus added 12 and Quiroz hit for 11. Sammy M. and Sean Q. shared scoring honors against Masco with 17 points apiece. Ian Martin made a nice contribution with 11 points and DeJesus added eight in the Masco tilt.
“We knew this would be a tough stretch of games for us,” said Siegal. “It was very encouraging to see us play so well against quality teams and hopefully we learned that we need to be more patient at times and have better clock management.”
The Red Devils will be back in action tomorrow evening (Friday) hosting Lynn Tech at
5:00 and then entertain Whittier in a return match on Tuesday.
Lady Red Devils edged by Mt. Alvernia, 45-44
The combination of 22 turnovers and 8-for-24 shooting from the free throw line spelled doom for the Chelsea High girls basketball team in a 45-44 loss to Mt. Alvernia last week.
“We played a sloppy game,” was how CHS head coach Matt LaBranche described his team’s performance. “It was a game that we should have won handily, but we were too careless and missed too many free throws.”
The Lady Red Devils held a 23-14 lead at the half and clung to a two point advantage with about a minute left to play. However, Mt. Alvernia converted on its final possessions while Chelsea turned the ball over in the waning seconds.
Shuly Sejour turned in a strong all around effort with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Tatiana Fontes reached double figures with 12 points. Barbara Carron hit for six points, Jennifer Medrano and Karolyn Moni chipped in with four apiece, and Madeleine Vielman added two.
“It was a learning experience for us,” said LaBranche. “We’ll regroup and work harder in practice.”
LaBranche and his crew, who now stand at 3-2 on the season, travel to Lynn Tech tomorrow (Friday) evening and will host Mt. Alvernia in a rematch on Monday at 4:45.