Stack Clutch for Billerica
LOWELL -- Lowell Catholic’s Mickey Sullivan Court at Keith Gymnasium was the place to be on Thursday as the IAABO Board 95 Holiday Tournament began.
The boys basketball tournament featured four games and will continue through the weekend.
Perhaps the tightest contest featured Billerica knocking off Westford Academy, 48-45.
Michael Stack came up big when his team needed it most. The Billerica (2-3) sophomore put in what would be the eventual game-winning floater and also hit a late free throw to help guide the Indians to victory.
With the game tied at 45 and time running out, Billerica was able to deflect a pass by Westford. Four different players for Billerica, including Stack, hit the floor in an effort to corral the loose ball. Their hustle was rewarded as the mad scramble ended with Billerica getting the ball and it eventually found its way back to Stack for the floater to give the Indians a 47-45 lead.
“That’s just Michael Stack being Michael Stack,” said Billerica head coach Mike Mastrullo of the sophomore’s effort and shot. “He’s a hard worker and he just gets after it. He’ll run through a wall, that’s just enshrined in him, he’s just tough.”
Billerica was able to get the win despite trailing for most of the game. It led 10-7 early, but forward Ryan Murphy (15 points) missed the entire first quarter of play after sustaining a cut above his eye.
Billerica was able to find other options to score when Murphy was out. Upon his return he provided plenty of points and rebounds, but it was the grit, hustle, and effort plays that carried Billerica to the late victory.
“What are the little things to get back in the game, because you’re not going to make every shot, but you can box out, you can rebound, you can scrap for these steals, you can get on the floor. Those type of things are what’s going to lead us to get back in a game when we are down,” Mastrullo said.
During the fourth quarter, Westford went on an 7-0 run to grab a 41-34 lead. Billerica fought back to tie the game, but then a Declan Morse baseline fadeaway jumper late in the shot clock made it 45-43 Westford.
Despite the best efforts of Morse (nine points) and Adam Scaramuzzo (nine points), the Indians withstood Westford’s punches and landed a knockout blow of their own.
LOWELL 74, HAVERHILL 43
This game was never in doubt as unbeaten Lowell came out aggressive and flying all over the court from the opening tip.
The Red Raiders pressed Haverhill full-court and took total advantage of the Hillies’ turnovers.
Rashawn Settles (17 points) was solid all night long and Nate Siow (nine points) turned defense into offense numerous times for his side. Siow shined in the fastbreak and Settles was able to get a bucket in the half-court every time the Raiders needed one.
Carlos Nunez also chipped in 17 points and had three 3-pointers for Lowell.
DRACUT 55, PINKERTON 51
The Middies (1-3) were able to earn the first coaching win for Brian Myers at Dracut.
Jaeden Hylton (11 points), J.C. Santiago (11 points) and Farai Zuvaradoka (10 points) combined for over half of the Middies’ points in the victory. Dracut put together a big second quarter, scoring 18 points to go ahead 30-24 at the half.
Dracut held off Pinkerton’s rally, which was led by Jay Reynolds (21 points), to pick up the victory. Will Peters and Cam McCullough also both chipped in eight points for the Middies in the game.
PELHAM 51, CHELMSFORD 42
Chelmsford rallied late in the fourth quarter to make things interesting, but Pelham was able to hold on.
Pelham used stifling defense to hold the Lions to only 11 points in the entire first half. Derek Crowley had 10 first-half points to pace the Pythons to a 22-11 halftime lead.
In the second half, the scoring opened up a bit more. Suubi Nkugwa threw in all 19 of his points in the second half (including 16 in the fourth quarter) in an attempt to rally the Lions. Jack Beauchesne was the next highest scoring Lion with six points.
For Pelham, Crowley finished with 22 points and Devyn Tucci was the next leading scorer with eight in the game.
Lowell will play Billerica on Saturday (7 p.m.) in a semifinal matchup, followed by Dracut against Pelham. The winners of those games will then face one another in the championship on Sunday (7 p.m.).