WEST NEWBURY — It was the Matt Gott and Pat Bjork Show at Pentucket last night, as Georgetown earned a hard-fought 54-51 win and clinched its first post-season tournament bid in four years.
Gott’s 20 points and 10 rebounds carried Georgetown (10-4) in a game where every fragment of contribution was critical. The Royals trailed Pentucket (6-8) by nine after the first quarter, but by just three at the half, with 13 of the team’s 22 points coming from Gott.
“Coming up big meant a lot to me today, especially because we had nine wins before this game, and we need 10 to make the tournament,” Gott said. “Getting this win will hopefully give us some energy and spark the rest of our season for us.”
As good as Gott was in the first half, Bjork, a senior, matched him in the second half. With all 17 points coming in the game’s final two quarters, Bjork also had five rebounds and was critical in both scoring and maintaining offensive possession.
“Gott came up huge and Bjork came up big in the second half,” said Georgetown head coach Barry Spears. “Gott has come up big for us like that all year, and I expect him to do exactly what he did.”
Georgetown would rally early in the second half, beginning the third quarter on a 6-0 run and earning its first lead of the game. A hot Pentucket team early had been replaced with a team struggling to score points.
“All year long we have gone into scoring droughts,” said Pentucket coach Ed Hickey. “We had some breakdowns defensively and just haven’t played consistent enough throughout games.”
Despite falling behind, the Sachems clawed their way back. With 3:21 remaining in the game, the score was tied at 47. Pentucket regained the lead with a Ryan Kuchar layup, but was met on the other end with a 3-pointer by Georgetown freshman Jim Sherman. Pentucket’s Jeff Porter’s layup with just over two minutes left had the Sachems back on top, leading 51-50. Three missed free throws from Porter would prove costly as Sherman’s jump shot with 1:33 remaining gave the Royals a 52-51 lead, before eventually securing the win.
“We competed hard,” Hickey said. “Georgetown did a tremendous job and had some big buckets down the stretch. We just didn’t finish. We had some missed layups and free throws down the stretch, and we didn’t finish the plays. We played hard, though, and I am pleased with their effort.”
Georgetown’s tournament bid comes in a season saturated with emotion, as the Royals continue to mourn the loss of their former coach, Mike Rowinski.
“I haven’t been on a team that made the tournament since I made the team as a sophomore,” Gott said. “This is a big deal for me and my team as well.”
For Spears’ seniors, it’s an achievement they will experience for the first time, making an already large feat that much larger.
“It is the first time in the last four years that we made the tournament and that’s huge, especially for the seniors,” Spears said. “They don’t have another chance.”
For Pentucket, a tournament bid is still a possibility, though it would require wins in four of their final six games.
“The kids’ goal this year is to make the tournament,” Hickey said. “And we still can — we just have more of an uphill battle now.”