Acton-Boxborough Colonials vs. Somerville Highlanders on Sunday, February 17th
The AB Colonials played against Somerville for the first round of the Roche Bros Roundball Classic. It was senior night for the 2013 Colonials basketball team. In accordance, Coach Rick Kilpatrick put in an all senior lineup to start the game against Somerville. The lineup featured Billy Jackman, Andrew Bartow, Tyler Billings, Andrew Sweet, Joe Euele. Fellow senior Ben Danzig was the first player off the bench.
The lack of chemistry showed with the lineup as Somerville came out to a 10-0 start. AB’s offense really struggled to get the ball inside and defensively gave up transition hoops.
The game tightened up more when the sophomores Ryan Graziano and Reid Larsen came in; the team went on an 8-8 run to end the first quarter at 18-8. The second quarter the Colonials fought valiantly but Somerville held its own charge led by #10. The half ended with a score of 34 – 19.
The start of the second half Coach Kilpatrick went to the starting lineup of players playing well that game: Jackman, Larsen, Graziano, Sweet and Euele. The team ran a press and zone defense which really rattled Somerville. The Colonials went on a 6-0 run to bring the led down to nine. At one point, the lead was down to 36-30 in Somerville’s favor. Coach K went away from the zone that was working well towards the end of the third quarter and Somerville increased its lead up to eight at 40-32.
The fourth quarter was again a contentious battle but AB failed to convert on opportunities. Four straight free throws were missed and Coach Kilpatrick was called for a technical foul. Ultimately, Somerville was able to hold off AB for the 55-44 win.
The Colonials also lost in the consolation against Needham to finish out the Roundball Classic.
The team made the tournament and will probably end up playing a 14th or 15th seed (seedings come out Friday) in the preliminary round. Although it was a rough end to the regular season, prior to the Roundball Classic the Colonials were playing very good basketball. The team had won two of its last three games and that is always a good sign for a team. Teams want to play their best basketball late in the season and the Colonials demonstrated that good quality.
As the tournament nears, the Colonials should come with confidence and a sense of being ready to prove themselves and be on the winning side of some good upsets. Despite what the team’s record shows, this is a team that nobody really wants to play in the playoffs because of its ability to make miraculous comebacks, up-tempo style of playing, its ability to press and most of all for its dangerous three point shooting.
The seniors know that for them, it will be their last competitive basketball at the highest level for most of them; that, in itself should be motivation to perform well. The tournament will also provide some valuable experience for the younger members of the team going into next year.