The Winthrop Vikings have never been an easy matchup for the Big Blue. Since the 2007-08 basketball season, the Vikings have defeated Swampscott nine out of the ten times the two played, and have won the last eight meetings against Swampscott. However, the Big Blue’s fast start in the first quarter propelled them to a 66-53 victory over Winthrop, throwing the Vikings’ winning streak against the Blue out the window.
Swampscott went on a 17-5 run in the first eight minutes of action, and did not stop until the final buzzer sounded. Thanks to a great performance by John King, Stephen Bowers, and Val Temin on offense, Swampscott dominated on the offensive side. When King wasn’t open for a midrange jump shot, he found Bowers crashing inside. When Bowers wasn’t able to drive inside for a layup, he found an open Temin behind the three-point line. And when Temin was unable to fire away, he found King waiting above the paint. The three players combined for a total of 42 points, and set the tone early in the first quarter.
On defense, Swampscott’s 2-3 zone was unbreakable. Seldom did a ball approach the paint, and when it did, Chad Nelson, Sam Walker, and Temin were all over it. Although the 2-3 zone did create many open opportunities for Winthrop guards Josh Babb and Jeff Laguerre, it limited the Vikings’ ability to drive in the paint. The deadly combination of Swampscott’s execution on offense and strategy on defense was too much for the inexperienced Vikings to handle.
Swampscott captain Danny Trentsch was cold from the perimeter, minus a no-look, behind-the-back, underhand shot that did not count thanks to the shot clock. However, Trentsch’s leadership translated into open opportunities for his teammates. Instead of taking shots, Trentsch made the extra pass to a teammate for a wide-open jumper. Trentsch hit every free throw he took, and ended with eight points that were all scored in the second half.
Near the end of the game, Winthrop came back strong and almost surprised Swampscott. With just over a minute left to go in regulation, an open three-pointer made by the Vikings put the game within nine points. The Big Blue quickly put the breaks on Winthrop’s upset chances following the three-pointer with free throws made by King and open layups off Viking turnovers hit by Bowers and Trentsch. Swampscott improved to (1-1) on the season, with the lone loss against East Boston.
Next Tuesday, the Big Blue will take on the defending Division 3 state champions: the Danvers Falcons. Although the Falcons lost key seniors, they retained Eric Martin, Nick Mckenna, and Nick Bates, three key players in the Danvers’ starting five. The Falcons are currently ranked as the seventh-best team in the state by ESPNBoston.com. The game will be played at Danvers High School at 7 p.m.