Defending Division 3 championship Pentucket has its work cut out for it today, going against powerhouse Archbishop Williams, which is ranked No. 2 in the EMass poll.
The two schools meet in the Division 3 semifinals at the Boston Garden at 4:30 p.m.
Archies enters with five losses, but that number is deceiving because the Bishops lost to No. 1 Reading and two New Jersey schools as well as a team from Rhode Island.
Archies has a 6-3 sophomore center, Jaylen Williams, who is committed to Penn State. Another sophomore, Alana Gilmer, who is 6 feet tall, has been offered by UMass.
Williams’ father, Brent Williams, 48, played for the New England Patriots (1986-1993), the Seattle Seahawks (1994-95) and New York Jets (1996). He recorded 45.5 career sacks, including 43.5 with New England as a defensive end.
“Talent-wise, they may be the top team in the state,” Pentucket coach John McNamara said about Archies. “They’re like an all-star team of kids who have college scholarship offers. They have a front court of 6-3, 6-2 and a 6-footer.
“And then they have three very talented guards,” McNamara added. “I think all six of those kids have college scholarship offers already.”
It’s imperative that Pentucket’s offense takes care of the basketball.
“Because they put full-court pressure on,” McNamara said. “They go on runs. They have so much offensive talent that they hit with you a 9-0 run and a four-point game is up to 13. We have to control and contain the pace in that sense that we can’t let them go on runs. We have to secure the ball.”
McNamara said trying to control the pace won’t be easy.
Today will be the fourth time Pentucket and Archies will have meet in the state semifinals since 2007. Archies has a 2-1 edge, winning in 2007 and ’08. The Sachems won in 2010.