Red Devils win three of four to reach tourney
The Chelsea High boys basketball team came to know the meaning of the fabled phrase, “The ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat,” that was uttered weekly by Jim McKay, the long-time host of ABC’s The Wide World of Sports, in the course of their four games this past week.
The Red Devils won three of those contests, including a 59-56 overtime triumph at Commonwealth Athletic Conference rival Shawsheen and a 61-57 victory over Division 1 non-league foe Lexington, but dropped a 56-55 decision to CAC Large opponent Lynn Tech that eliminated Chelsea from contention for the CAC Large title.
Last Friday the Red Devils traveled to Shawsheen and engaged in contest that was a hard-fought battle every minute of the game through regulation (48-48) and the overtime session, with the Red Devils finally prevailing at the sound of the final buzzer.
“It was a tough battle all the way,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal. “It was back and forth for the entire game with neither team able to make a run to open up a lead.”
Oscar Sabillon, who was Chelsea’s most consistent performer in the four game stretch, led the Devils with 19 points. Eric Flores, Faisal Nasimi, and Victor Corrales all hit for nine points each, with Eric Fernandez scoring six and Albert Alicea chipping in four.
Lexington came to town Saturday for a rematch of the teams’ earlier meeting in which Lexington handily defeated the Red Devils. However, Chelsea turned the tables this time around, taking an 18-16 lead after the first quarter, 33-27 at the half, and 44-35 after three frames before withstanding a late Lexington rally to hold on for the 61-57 victory.
Two Red Devils reached double figures, led by Sabillon with 19 points and Corrales with 12. Fernandez, Alicea, and Nasimi all struck for six points, with Nelson Vega hitting for five, Flores for three, and Jorge Ramos for four.
“This was a really great victory for us,” said Seigal. “Lexington is a quality Division 1 school and is headed for the state tourney. We stayed close through the first half the first time we played them, but then they pulled away. I was really proud of the way our team came back at them the second time around.”
However, two days later the Red Devils had the tables turned on them with a 56-55 loss to a Lynn Tech team whom Chelsea had handled fairly easily in their first encounter this season.
“We came out flat,” said Seigal of his team’s 24-9 deficit in the first quarter. “We came back in the second half, but we had dug ourselves into a hole that proved too deep to get out of.”
Sabillon once again was high scorer for the Red and Black with 21 points, with Nasimi adding nine and Corrales chipping in eight. Other point-scorers for Chelsea were Flores with six, Fernandez with four, Ramos with three, Eric Martinez with two, and Vega with two.
A victory would have provided Chelsea with an opportunity to create a three-way tie for the CAC Large title with a victory over Greater Lowell, which comes to town Friday for the season finale (5:15 tip-off). Chelsea now will have to settle for playing the spoiler role — a victory will deprive Gr. Lowell of an outright CAC Large title and force Gr. Lowell to share the crown with Greater Lawrence.
However, the Red Devils returned to form the next night with a 76-59 runaway win over Whittier that clinched a post-season playoff berth in the state tournament for Seigal and his crew, who now are 10-9 on the year.
Ramos poured in 23 points and Sabillon struck for 20. Martinez scored six, followed by Fernandez, Vega, and Flores with four apiece, Nasimi with three, Corrales with two, and Freddy Ortiz with two.