, Newburyport, MA

February 28, 2013

Wildcats pounce on Indians 59-21

But coach, team happy with chance to play in tourney

By Kelly Burch

---- — HAVERHILL — Before the Amesbury Indians set foot on the court at Whitter Tech last night, they were already looking at a great end to their season, after making the MIAA Division 3 playoffs for the first time in over 10 years.

Unfortunately, the Indians’ playoff run was shortlived as they fell to the Whittier Wildcats, with a final score of 59–21.

Despite the loss, the team was happy with their progress during the season.

“We had a tough start to the season, after losing a lot of our offensive players,” said senior Curran O’Connor. “But we really came together, stepped up and made the tournament, so we can’t complain. We’re proud just to be here.”

Although the 14th-seeded Indians were able to keep pace with the third-seeded Wildcats, they quickly began to fall behind on the scoreboard. The Indians did not score until the very end of the first quarter, when O’Connor put two points on the board. At halftime, the score was 33-7, with the Wildcats in the lead.

“We’re playing well,” head coach Thom Connors said at halftime. “But we’re only shooting around 10 percent, which is a shame because we could be right in this game if we could make our baskets. Besides the freethrows at the end, we only let 29 points to a high-scoring team. I am very happy with the defense.”

Coming out of halftime, the Indians nearly doubled their scoring, racking up six points in the third quarter. Gaurd Jack Fortin was the Indians’ high-scorer, with six points, all scored after halftime.

However, the Indians continued to miss scoring opportunities throughout the second half.

“I was happy that we held them to 59 points,” Connors said after the game, “but we needed 60. We struggled finding the basket. The ball didn’t fall for us, which is too bad, because it could have been a more even game, especially in the first half.”

Despite the loss, Connors was happy with the season.

“I told the kids before the game, regardless of what happens, I’m proud of your effort. Look around and enjoy it.”

Connors speculated that playing in front of a large, enthusiatic Whittier home crowd, combined with general nerves about being in the tournment, may have led to the Indians’ low shooting percentage. However, he hoped that the experience would lead to a more successful team next season.

“I’d like to make it to the tournament and build on the experience,” he said.