It was Senior Night at Marblehead High School, but the night belonged to the Marblehead underclassmen. Matt Millet, a junior, and Spenser Craig, a sophomore, accounted for 37 of the Magicians’ points, leading their team to a 55-50 victory in a close victory over Swampscott.
Although Swampscott took a seven-point lead into halftime, Marblehead was able to even the score at 36 at the conclusion of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the game belonged to Millet, whose two three-pointers led a 12-3 run that lasted until the 3:13 mark in the fourth quarter.
Swampscott responded with a 9-2 run, led by a three-pointer by Dan Trentsch, a three-point-play by Val Temin, and a John King three-pointer that reduced Marblehead’s lead to 50-48 with 46 seconds remaining in regulation.
However, the Big Blue were unable to execute on offense in the final seconds, throwing up difficult three-pointers that did not fall. Swampscott was forced to foul in order to extend the game, while Marblehead went 5-for-6 from the free throw line to seal the victory, with Craig hitting all of his four free throws. Millet finished with 19 points, while Craig scored 18 for Marblehead.
The Big Blue played strong in the first half, mostly thanks to Temin’s execution on offense and defense. Temin barely missed on open opportunities, and held Millet to one basket in the paint in the first half. Millet’s productivity in the second half could be pointed to Swampscott changing from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone, which did not allow Temin to guard Millet as tight as he did earlier. Temin scored 14 points in the first half, leading his team to a 28-21 lead at the break.
Tensions were raised in the second half after a technical foul was assessed to Stephen Scaglione with 6:49 remaining in the third. Scaglione was called for reaching in, a call, based on his body and spoken language, he did not like. The whistle blew constantly in the second half as both teams began attacking the basket, and coincidentally, one another. Ryan January and Will Millet, younger brother of Matt, were both given technical fouls after a loose ball foul midway through the third. These fouls gave extra momentum for Marblehead, who outscored Swampscott in the third quarter by eight points.
The Big Blue unexpectedly found themselves playing for a spot in the postseason tournament against Marblehead. Due to Danvers’ outstanding 15-1 record in conference play, the second seed in the Northeastern Conference South Division would have a losing record. Since Winthrop beat Saugus on Thursday night, and Saugus ended with a 7-9 conference record, Swampscott may have had a shot at a playoff spot if it had won against Marblehead. With the loss, the Big Blue ended 7-13 overall, going 6-10 in the Northeastern Conference.
It was the last game for five Big Blue seniors: Temin (17 points), Trentsch (12 points), Stephen Bowers (10 points), Scaglione (3 points), and Josh Joseph. Coach Fucile has repeatedly praised his most experienced group, who played strong in their final week as a starting lineup.