By Tim Lima
---- — AMESBURY — The Indians came out flat and lacked intensity last night, losing on the hardwood to Lynnfield 63-44.
“We just didn’t come out with intensity,” said Amesbury senior captain Pat Halloran. “Mentally we just weren’t prepared for this game. Usually we come out with fire and if we go down, we go down hard, but today we were lacking that early. We just couldn’t get into it.”
Just 79 seconds into the game, play was briefly stopped when it was discovered that the ball was flat. That proved to be a theme of the night for the Indians, who lacked emotion from the get-go.
“We lacked intensity tonight,” Amesbury head coach Tom Comeau said.
While the Indians (3-13) hung around early, it was the Traverse Briana show in the second quarter. After seeing his team trail by one point after the first quarter, Lynnfield’s Briana came out firing in the second and rarely missed. He would finish with 16 points and one rebound for Lynnfield (9-9) in the first half and helped his team secure a solid 30-21 lead heading into the locker room.
“He was the only one beating us in the first half,” said Comeau.
The second half was a different story for Briana, due in large part to adjustments that Amesbury made on the stellar junior captain. He would score just two points in the second half.
“He caught fire quickly and we weren’t expecting that at first,” Halloran said. “Coach made a nice decision and he had us focus on (Briana) and make sure that he didn’t get any shots up and we did a nice job. We didn’t let him shoot and made him drive to the basket where help from defense came and it worked out pretty well.”
What wasn’t working for Lynnfield from the perimeter in the second half was working for them on the interior.
Six-foot-two sophomore Adam Buchanan was a force in the paint, scoring 15 points and collecting six boards on the night.
The lead was 10 after three quarters, but after that the Indians ran out of gas.
Lynnfield, who is still fighting for a state tournament berth, outscored Amesbury 23-14 in the game’s final eight minutes to put the game away and leave town with the win.
Halloran finished with 10 points and four rebounds, while Amesbury’s Ryan Foley had seven points and five rebounds.
Jack Fortin led the Indians in scoring with 17 points and two rebounds.
With no chance of a state tournament bid in their future this year, Amesbury is left working toward next season while sending its seniors off on a positive note.
“It’s very important for me to finish this season strong,” Halloran said.
“We fell short of the tournament this year, so we have nothing to lose. I’m telling the guys that we have three games left and have to come out strong.”
Amesbury’s youth was on display on the night as well, as Comeau utilized a great portion of his bench. Patrick Scanlon’s 3 points and 5 rebounds led the way, but several other Indians made the most of their playing time. Daniel Welch, Casey Surgent, Fred Halloran, Sam Burnham, Benjamin Vincent and Riley O’Connor also contributed toward the effort.
“We have a good core of young kids, so it’s very important for us to finish strong and set the tone for next season,” Comeau said.