by Jacob Schwartz
“Seasons come and seasons go,” said coach Paul Connolly, trying to depict the bittersweet off-season atmosphere that has recently swept through the halls of this school.
Perhaps the fact that the boys’ basketball season lasted longer than the average high school basketball team only makes it hurt more when it ends. However, Connolly said he was still proud of his team when it lost to Brockton 49-45, at U-Mass Boston Wednesday, at the Division I Sectional Semifinals.
Behind the score, there is a story of persistence. One must note that the game was not as close throughout as the final score indicates.
After an unsuccessful first half, according to Connolly, the Tigers were down 29-14. “We struggled offensively at first. Brockton made us rush, and them getting the big lead early on was why they won.”
In the second half, the teams switched roles, and the Tigers began to dominate, Conolly said. “We were fantastic on defense. They had a couple of three-pointers that we couldn’t control, but we were able to handle them.”
The strong defense led to easier scoring, but it wasn’t enough for the Tigers.
With a minute and a half left, the Tigers had reduced their deficit to two points, trailing 46-44. “We were in fouling mode at that point,” Connolly said. A foul on the Tigers was called after a shot attempt by senior Mike Thorpe was blocked. Brockton senior Jaylen Blakely made both free throws to make a Tiger victory just out of reach.
“I told everyone that we had to keep them in the 50s, and the fact that we kept them in the 40s is remarkable. If the ball had bounced differently, we might have still been in the tournament. That’s the painful pill to swallow,” he said.
During Thursday’s morning announcements, Connolly expressed gratitude to the team’s fans.