Malden Catholic ends Scituate High boys’ basketball team in semifinals
TAUNTON — There was no getting around it for the Scituate High Boys basketball team.
Like the three teams that came before it, the No. 13 Sailors came up against the buzzsaw that is top seed Malden Catholic on Wednesday night.
The Sailors were outplayed by a Lancers squad chock-full of top talent as Malden Catholic cruised to an 86-49 victory in the Division 2 semi-final at Rabouin Field House in Taunton High. Malden Catholic, who won all four of their playoff games by averaging 42.8 points, advances to the national final against Norwood.
For Scituate (18-6), getting to this point – the furthest the Sailors have come since 2013 – is a feat in itself as it was the second-lowest seed to qualify for the Final. Four in the five divisions.
“We exceeded expectations in some respects. We really did it,” Scituate coach Matt Poirier said. “We just played hard and played together. It’s not a trick. That’s what we did and that’s why we ended up here.
“But that team over there is better than us. It’s like that. They move on and we don’t.
With five straight points, senior Sam Benning (12 points) gave Scituate their only lead in the competition at 7-4 midway through the first quarter before Malden Catholic (21-2) went on a 22-2 tear to take full control.
The Lancers put five players in double figures in the score led by Quincy’s Tony Felder, who scored a team-high 15 points, as Malden Catholic went into overdrive with the game sometimes played at hyper-fast speed with each team trying to push the pace.
Even though this style of play usually leads to good results for Sailors, Malden Catholic had other gear with its host of talented stars, including Jahmari James Hamilton Brown, who holds an offer from Providence College, to open a 50- 22 at halftime. .
“I’m not going to change what we do,” Poirier said of the blistering pace. “We’re (not) going to stop trying to be aggressive. We’ve tried to spread them. We’re scoring throughout our transition and we have to pick up the pace. That’s how we play.”
Even with Malden Catholic’s height advantage, which included 6-foot-6 Hamilton Brown and 6-foot-8 KC Ugwuakazi, over a Scituate team that has no starters more than 6-2, it was the long ranged shot that proved even more consequential.
Malden Catholic knocked down 8 of 19 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 12 treys for the game while Scituate made just one of 20 attempts from beyond the arc over three quarters.
“We tried to make it a perimeter game and they got their shots,” Poirier said. “(We) looked good too. I thought if we shot even less than we normally would, I thought we would be somewhere in the game. But we didn’t make those shots.
Scituate was not full, with seniors Christian Pitten and Will Kimball unable to make the trip due to illness unrelated to COVID.
Poirier said he could feel the sting from the team of Pitten and Kimball not being able to join them and that it was a similar feeling after the contest along with eight other Scituate seniors who finished their high school careers.
“It’s a tight-knit group,” Poirier said. “They’re feeling it right now.”
Star lead point guard Keegan Sullivan had arguably the biggest impact of any player in his four years and had 10 points in his last game.
Sullivan, who led the Scituate football team to a Super Bowl title this fall, certainly left an indelible mark on the school with his shrewd, intractable, and above all winning game.
“Stubborn competitor. Winner. It is what it is,” Poirier said as Sullivan plays football next year at Trinity College. “Just a winner. He’s contagious. You get around him, you get better. That’s really what makes him special.
While Felder is the drink-stirring straw for Malden Catholic on the offensive end, the Lancers’ star point guard, who has scholarship offers from UMass and Georgetown, has also been tasked with defending Sullivan.
Motivated to be more of a lockdown defender, Felder said he’s been preparing for that responsibility by improving his conditioning since a season-ending loss to BC High and killing himself 10 after every practice.
“Now that I feel like I’m fit, I can keep anyone,” Felder said.
“Tony is a great defender of the ball,” said Malden Catholic coach John Walsh. “He makes things difficult for everyone. When he can contain the other team’s playmaker, it helps us a lot.
As well as his defence, Felder also had six assists and having a major impact all over the floor, Ugwuakazi, who transferred to Malden Catholic this year after being a Hockomock League star at Stoughton, said how he feels about Felder. stellar contributions.
“MIAA’s Top Playmaker,” Ugwuakazi Said
Felder has been part of Malden Catholic’s rapid rise over the past four years. The Lancers posted a record under .500 in Felder’s first season and now Felder, who said he knew nothing about the school until he went, is one of the main reasons Malden Catholic is on the precipice of his first state title on the program. the story.
“It’s crazy,” Felder said. “Going out in the second round every year (and) finally getting to one, that’s what I dreamed of. That’s what I wanted. That was our goal since the start of the season.