Lowell Red Raiders come into the tournament with a 17-3 record (2nd seed in the North) while the Acton-Boxborough Colonials come into the tournament with a 9-12 record (15th seed in the North). Though it may seem like a huge mismatch, upsets in the North Tournament happen each year and the Colonials are in prime ready position. Both teams enter the playoffs with a 0-0 record.
Gametime: Tuesday night at Lowell High School. Tipoff at 7:00 P.M.
Lowell has a senior center named Drew Healy; Healy stands at six foot seven and leads the team in the paint. Alexander Boyd and Eustaquio Carvalhro for AB will have all their hands full. Containing Healy offensively and not allowing him to get off to a good start is certainly the key to this game. Rounding off the starting lineup is a four guard lineup: senior Jonathan Perez (G), sophomore Kareem Davis (PG, facilitator), senior Kevin Brito (SG, shooter), and senior Zaryn Green (G). Matchup wise, this helps AB a lot. While the team will need to focus on defensive rebounding against Healy, the rest of the players on Lowell’s starting lineup are all guards so if the team rebounds together, grabbing rebounds should not be a problem.
Sometimes, Lowell will go to a full man to man pressure defense. AB needs to make sure not to turn the ball over and make smart passes to beat the press. For the most part, Lowell runs a proud 2-3 zone defense against teams. It is somewhat similar to Westford’s style defense – there are two guards slightly pressing and then the team goes back into the zone once the ball is brought over the half-court line. This is probably where for AB to win this game, the team needs to take advantage of this. AB needs to move the ball, penetrate in the middle of the zone and kick the ball outside for wide open three pointers. A 2-3 zone inevitably allows for shots at the perimeter (especially three pointers). With several different good shooters (Ryan Graziano, Reid Larsen, Joe Euele) on the team, AB really needs to take advantage of the zone.
Lowell is coming off a big win over Central Catholic and the team is probably a little bit more relaxed and careless. AB is coming off two straight losses, and the players are motivated to prove themselves. If AB comes out with more focus and more drive, this game could certainly swing over in AB’s favor.
The game will be held at Lowell. However, with such a great Colonial Crazies turnout to away games this year, crowd support should not be a problem. Look for the Crowds to have great Chant Battles.
Keys to the Game for AB:
1) Transition Hoops
If we see AB on fast breaks, it means the team is playing well defensively. This also means Lowell won’t be set up on defense and AB can take advantage.
Rebounding has been a problem all season for this club. But all season doesn’t matter in the playoffs. Only the playoff game matters. So, the team really needs to focus on boxing out and grabbing rebounds. If second chance opportunities for Lowell are limited, AB has a real chance at an upset.
Another problem for this team has been giving the ball over too many times to the other team. Turnovers lead to easy points for the other team so AB really has to limit turnovers.
For the seniors, this is could be their last game. That motivation along with the talent of the youngsters on this team who have been unphased by the pressure of varsity basketball can propel them to the win. Though Lowell has played terrific all year long, matchup wise AB can compete well against a four guard lineup. AB’s three point shooting ability could also pull the team to a miraculous win.