Playoff basketball means many different things to many different people: postseason regulars or playoff newcomers; first-year coaches or school legends; inexperienced athletes and seniors making their last stand. Some teams have enjoyed their tournament ticket for weeks now while others are still vying for their opportunity.
One such team is the Pentucket boys basketball team. A season of inconsistency has come down to this: two more games of must-win basketball. Pentucket’s senior captain Ryan Kuchar will look to lead his team to wins against Newburyport tonight and Saugus on Thursday.
“It would mean the world to me to be in the playoffs,” Kuchar said. “I have always loved playing in the playoff atmosphere. There is nothing better than that.”
If Newburyport has its way, though, Pentucket’s season will come to an abrupt halt tonight. Newburyport has two games remaining and must win one in order to qualify. With tonight’s game at Pentucket just hours away, Newburyport senior Caleb Stott hopes that the bus ride home after the game is a celebration.
“This is my senior year, so I would love to go as far as I could in the playoffs,” Stott said. “It would mean a lot to our whole team because this is what we have been going for since day one.”
If Newburyport is able to win another game this season, they will head to the playoffs along with the team who shares their court: the Newburyport girls varsity team.
Getting off to a scorching 8-1 beginning, Newburyport qualified for the tournament what seems like months ago. While the Clippers have slipped of late, the mindset has largely turned to the postseason and what may await.
“It’s what we look forward to all season and what we work for,” said coach Gregg Dollas. “We have been looking at the standings in terms of the teams that are in the playoffs and seeing who we might match up against. But we still have two games left and a lot can change in that time.”