GEORGETOWN — All good things have to come to an end eventually.
Such was the case last night for the Georgetown boys basketball team, who after going 12-7 and beating Tyngsboro in the first round of the Division 4 North tournament, finally succumbed to the North Cambridge Catholic Panthers, 85-50.
The Panthers were exactly that. A team stacked with versatile swingmen and athletic shot-blockers who voraciously swarmed and pounced on every rebound and loose ball.
Royals coach Mike Rowinski admits that the Panthers seem to be in a class all their own.
"Sometimes you lose and sometimes you get beat," explained Rowinski. "Tonight we just got beat. It wasn't that we played bad, they just played phenomenal. That was the best I've seen anyone play this year.
"They were very athletic. They're a very Jekyll and Hyde type of team, but when they play together, they're as good as Charlestown," stated Rowinski. "Tonight, they would have beat anybody in our league. They just beat us in every aspect of the game. They were on the boards, they were quick jumpers and honestly, I don't think we had as many shots blocked tonight as we did all year."
The first quarter saw both teams playing even. Freshmen guard Jaymie Spears (9 points, 4 steals, 5 assists, and 2 rebounds) got the game started with a three-pointer, but the Panthers answered back thanks to the all-around genius of senior/captain Allen St. Surin (10 points, 8 blocks, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) who seemed to swipe everything out of the air. The first ended with the Panthers scratching and clawing to a 17-13 advantage.
The second was still close, but the Panthers were beginning to hit full-stride. Senior/captain Paul Rose (14 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds and 3 assists) brought his game and defense, giving anyone bringing up the ball all types of trouble. Before anyone knew it, the running and trapping game of the Panthers was starting to break open, and as the half-time buzzer sounded, NCC had a 36-26 lead.
After the half, an energized crowd were still behind their Royals, but the Panthers of North Cambridge were beginning to frenzy like sharks rather than felines. Thanks to a barrage of offensive rebounds, swooping rejections and transition baskets, the Panthers broke the game wide open. With the Panther's advantage in the rebounding department, 37 to 23, the Royals had zero opportunity to sneak back in the game. The Panthers out-scored the Royals 22-8 in the quarter and found themselves comfortably ahead with a quarter left, 58-34.
Like all good teams, there was no quit in the Royals, and equally, there was no pity for them either. The Panthers found open shots, continued their dominance on the boards and buried threes. In the end, the better team had won, and the Royals could only tip their hats.
The Royals, led by senior/captains Brandon Wade (2 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds) and Tim Holland (18 points, 6 rebounds, a block and a steal) knew they were beaten by a squad that looked destined for championship hardware.
"They played amazing," explained Wade. "They're a great team and you have to hand it to them."
Despite the tough loss, the season was something neither captain will forget.
"The season was great, it was just a ton of fun, and next year these young guys will be that much better," said Wade, a tri-sport athlete who is currently holding a GPA of 4.98 and is awaiting acceptance letters from schools like Stanford and UCLA.
His fellow captain, Holland, who has a full-scholarship to Lake City Community College in Florida, is content with his basketball career.
"This season was unbelievable," said Holland. "The guys were all great, we had more than a few memorable practices, and I'm just glad to be on a winning team."
Coach Rowinski couldn't say enough about his seniors.
"Brandon and Tim are probably the two most athletic kids on our team," stated Rowinski, "and the effort and leadership they bring has helped make this team what it is."