AMESBURY – Ten players stepped on the court for the Sachems boys basketball team last night, and nine contributed on the scoreboard as Pentucket outlasted a late Indians run to win 56-49.
Two things were learned from this game in which Pentucket never trailed.
First, Pentucket exhibited its ability to relentlessly control the tempo of a basketball game, due in large part to its great depth and speed off of the bench. Utilizing fresh legs late in the fourth quarter, the Sachems have the ability to outrun teams.
“I don’t know if we have any superstars, but we are a team that can play 10 kids and each kid is capable of chipping in in a variety of different ways,” Pentucket head coach Ed Hickey said.
While getting heavy contributions from his bench, Pentucket enjoyed strong play from two of its seniors. Ryan Kuchar scored 13 points and pulled in six rebounds while Adam Chory tallied 13 points (3 three-pointers) and two rebounds.
“(Chory) is a senior and a captain for us,” Hickey said. “He’s one of the guys who can score for us either inside or outside. He’s a kid we have relied on all year.”
Pentucket also benefited on the scoreboard from Jeff Porter (2 points), Michael Aiduk (6), Will Sullivan (6), Pat Beaton (3), Ryan Beaton (5), Connor Beaton (2) and Pat Freiermuth (5).
An 18-9 lead after the first quarter grew through the second. Pentucket enjoyed a 16-point half time lead at half and an 18-point lead after three quarters.
The second thing we learned is that no lead is safe when playing the Indians.
Lone team captain Pat Halloran’s enthusiasm and never-wavering commitment to playing his game contributed to his team chipping away at a 22-point deficit with just six minutes remaining.
“We know that we are a talented team and can always come back and today proved that,” Halloran said.
Driving to the rim and drawing fouls, Halloran hit 8 of 9 foul shots to compensate for an off-shooting night from his team. He would finish with his first 20-point game of the season, and five rebounds.
“(Halloran) is the best captain and the best leader of any team I have ever been associated with,” Amesbury head coach Tom Comeau said. “It’s as simple as that.”
The lead at six minutes was cut in half and stood at 11 with 3:35 remaining in the game, at which point Hickey called a time out to regroup his team. An 11-point game became an eight-point contest with 1:33 remaining. From there, Pentucket’s lead with just 50 seconds remaining sat at five.
“I have to give them a lot of credit,” Hickey said. “They kept battling and working hard and they almost got it done tonight.”
Time would eventually run out on the game and Amesbury’s comeback, though valiant. Nevertheless, the leadership displayed by his captain and the will shown by his team is something a head coach can feel good about.
“It shows what kind of heart our kids have,” Comeau said. “They don’t give up and they play tough no matter what the situation is. They don’t give in and that’s what I love about this team.”