GEORGETOWN — Coming into the game, you would have expected Friday night’s battle between Georgetown and Amesbury would be a 3-point shooting bonanza.
Instead, fans were treated to an old school rock fight.
For three and a half quarters, neither team was able to hit from deep, and the two sides were forced to play a grueling, grind it out battle nearly all the way through. Finally, after trailing most of the game, Amesbury rallied in the fourth to take the lead, and while Georgetown finally caught fire in the closing moments to force overtime, the Indians were able to hang on for the thrilling 53-51 overtime victory in the first round of the Rowinski Holiday Tournament.
“They’re resilient,” said Amesbury coach Thomas Comeau. “They’ve played a lot of basketball together, they trust each other and they trust that if they stay in the game and continue to work, good things will happen.”
Normally reliant on the hot-shooting Keliher Brothers, Amesbury had to dig deep and find another way to win after sophomore Cam Keliher spent a significant amount of time on the bench due to foul trouble.
The Indians found their answer in big man Kyle Donovan, who had a season-best 16 points and seven rebounds to control the paint and help keep the Royals from ever getting too far ahead. Jaden Keliher wound up grinding out 10 points and 8 rebounds as well, and Rocco Kokinacis proved to be the unsung hero, making a series a huge defensive plays and baskets down the stretch.
“They were tremendous,” Comeau said of Donovan and Kokinacis. “We expect that from them to be honest with you, Kyle did a tremendous job inside on the block, and at halftime we talked about making sure that we got him more touches in there, and Rocco came in and just played phenomenal, he took care of the basketball, helped settle us down when we got scrambled, so it was really good stuff.”
Leading 20-18 at halftime, Georgetown largely controlled the third and stretched its lead to seven after taking a 35-28 lead just after the third quarter break. But from that point on, Amesbury rallied with a 16-2 run, pulling ahead 44-37 with under two minutes to play.
Finally, right when Amesbury was about to put the game away, Georgetown started heating up from deep.
Jack Lucido started with a 3-pointer with 1:14 left to cut the deficit to four, and then Harrison Lien — making his debut for Georgetown after transferring from Central Catholic — knocked down his second three of the night. Lucido followed that up with another in quick succession, tying the game at 46-46.
Jason Bellefueille blocked Amesbury’s potential game-winner at the buzzer, but the Indians bounced back and managed to hold off one last Georgetown push in the extra frame to finish the win.
Amesbury (2-1) will now face Newburyport in the Rowinski Holiday Tournament championship Saturday at 7 p.m. at Georgetown High. Georgetown (0-4) will face Triton in the consolation game.
Amesbury 53, Georgetown 51
Rowinski Holiday Tournament First Round
Amesbury (53): C. Keliher 2-1-5, Donovan 7-2-16, Catania 1-0-2, Gjikopulli 5-0-10, J. Keliher 5-0-10, Kokinacis 3-0-6, K. Heidt 2-0-4, Welch 0-0-0, M. Heidt 0-0-0. Totals: 25-3-53
Georgetown (51): Lein 5-1-13, Bellefueille 3-2-8, MacDonald 0-0-0, Lucido 4-2-12, Murphy 6-2-15, Torgerson 0-0-0, Guyer 1-1-3. Totals: 19-8-51
3-pointers: A — None; G — Lien 2, Lucido 2, Murphy
Amesbury (2-1): 8 10 10 18 7 — 53
Georgetown (0-4): 8 12 13 13 5 — 51