It took a wake-up call from the Gloucester Fishermen offense for Swampscott’s true intensity to arrive. After trailing by 12 in the second quarter, the Big Blue executed on offense in the second half and defeated the Fishermen, 70-65, thanks to stellar offensive play from co-captains Danny Trentsch and Stephen Bowers and ferocity down low from Chad Nelson.
The Big Blue fell behind 24-12 with 7:20 left in the second quarter after leading for the first five minutes of the game. But, Gloucester’s lead would only diminish from that point. A Val Temin basket-and-foul made it a 24-17 game with five minutes before halftime, and a Steven Scaglione jumper brought the game within one point for Swampscott with 1:15 left in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the captains and Nelson took over. A Nelson basket-and-foul tied the game at 29 with 6:35 in the third quarter, while an immediate Trentsch putback off the missed free throw by Nelson gave Swampscott its first lead since the first quarter. The Big Blue never gave up the lead again.
Swampscott’s defense stepped up big in the second half. Big men Nelson and Sam Walker had a challenge in the paint: Gloucester Junior Drew Shairs, who was able to maintain position inside throughout the game. However, Swampscott’s 2-3 zone adjusted to deny Shairs the ball, resulting in multiple errant shots from the Fishermen beyond the three-point line.
The Big Blue took care of business in the fourth quarter, mainly thanks to the shooting of Bowers and Trentsch. Bowers hit two threes, with one coming with 1:37 left to go that sealed the victory. Trentsch scored a game and season-high 20 points, and hit a majority of his free throws in the final stretch to aid the cause. Nelson ended with 12 points, while senior Val Temin finished with 10 points and a myriad of rebounds.
Swampscott does not play until January 4, when it will travel to Saugus to take on former Big Blue coach Paul Moran and the Sachems. The Sachems destroyed Swampscott’s chances last year of playoff contention with a victory over the Big Blue in late February.