Red Devils Top N.S.Tech, 61-57

The Chelsea High boys basketball team got back on the winning track with a 61-57 triumph over North Shore Tech Tuesday evening. The contest was not as close as the final score might indicate. Chelsea led all the way, 11-9 after the first period, 28-19 at the half, and 44-37 after three frames. The Red Devils widened their advantage to as much as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but could not quite entirely shake a North Shore quintet who hit some baskets at the end to keep matters interesting.

Carlos Vazquez led Chelsea in the scoring column with 18 points, 14 of which Carlos pumped in in the second half when the Devils put the game away. Oscar Sabillon hit for nine points and the freshman duo of Nelson Vega and Guillermo Zelata contributed eight points apiece. Victor Corrales, up from the JV to play for the varsity, sank a pair of treys for six points. Jorge Ramos added five, Daquan Starwood chipped in four, and Faisal Nasimi had three.

“It was a nice win for us,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal, whose squad was playing without two of their senior starters.

On Friday the Red Devils trekked to Whittier in Haverhill for a rematch with the top team in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference whose only defeat this season came at the hands of the Red Devils two weeks ago.

“Whittier will have one of the top seeds in the Division 3 tournament and very well may have had an undefeated season except for us,” said Seigal. “So we knew they’d be ready for us on their home floor.”

However,  another upset was not to be in the cards for the Devils, who came out on the short end of a 68-37 decision. Sabillon led the Red Devils with eight points. Other scorers for Chelsea were Zelata and Nelson Vega with six each; Nasimi and Eddie Irizarry with four apiece; Hector Sarmiento, Montel Johnson, Carlos Vega, and Starwood with two each; and Brendan Horn with a free throw.

Last Wednesday’s encounter with their ancient foe from the other end of Broadway, Revere, with whom Chelsea has redeveloped  a fierce rivalry in recent years, could have been written by Charles Dickens: It was the best  of times, it was the worst of times in A Tale of  Two Halves.

The opening two periods saw the Red Devils execute as poorly as they have all season as they scored but 11 points in the 16 minutes to go into the locker room trailing 31-11.

However, the contest after the intermission proved to be a nearly-complete reversal of fortunes, as the Red Devils sliced the 20 point deficit in half by the end of the third quarter and then came within two points with 10 seconds to play. Chelsea trailed by six in the final minute, but scored two buckets and received assistance in the form of poor Revere free throw shooting  to have a chance at either winning the game (with a three pointer) or sending it into OT.

The Red Devils executed the play they wanted with a back door cut to the basket and a nice bounce pass, but the potential game-tying shot fell short, allowing Revere (8-6 on the year), which is aiming for its first post-season berth in a while, to escape with the narrow win.

“We had the momentum and had Revere on their heels,” said Seigal. “If we had forced the game into overtime, there is no doubt we would have won,” a sentiment echoed by RHS head coach Rick Hayes.

Irizarry was the big gun for Chelsea, tingling the twine for 19 points, 17 of them in the second half that keyed the Devils’ furious comeback effort. Carlos Vazquez hit for double figures with 10 points, followed by Sabillon with seven, Nasimi and Sarmiento with three, and Ramos with two.

Seigal and his crew, who now stand at 5-9 on the season, were set to travel to Lexington last night (Wednesday) and to Greater Lawrence tomorrow (Friday).

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