The Marblehead boys basketball team finished the regular season 13-4, good enough for the No. 10 seed in the Division II state tournament. The Magicians also won the Larry McIntire Tournament to conclude the regular season.
“Your first goal is to make the tournament,” head coach Mike Giardi said. “You want to be above .500 to get in there, so we did that.”
Giardi believes the Magicians’ tough schedule helped prepare them for the tournament.
“Our division with Salem, Beverly, Masco, and Peabody is tough,” Giardi said. “With four losses, we are behind some of those teams. It just shows how tough our side is.”
As the No. 10 seed, the Magicians will host the first game of the tournament when they face No. 23 Pembroke Thursday. Despite their higher rank, Giardi knows it will be a tough game.
“We have a tough opponent. They’re playing very good basketball right now and they just won a big tournament to close out their season,” Giardi said. “Whether you’re the No. 1 seed or the 32nd seed, any team can beat anyone.”
With schools being canceled due to Tuesday’s weather, Giardi and his team weren’t allowed to practice. Giardi was initially going to give his team Monday off, but had a feeling schools would cancel Tuesday – so he had them practice Monday instead.
That said, Giardi acknowledged that “players aren’t going to get any faster” between Monday and Thursday, and you can only improve so much shooting-wise. So, Giardi’s focus was on his players’ mental aspects.
“[It’s about] being focused and knowing what the important keys are to your offense and your defense,” Giardi said. “What you are looking to stop, what you’re looking to attack, and go through it.”
Giardi said his group couldn’t fully scout Pembroke. They did what they could with “Twitter videos and highlights.”
However, Giardi believes it’s (sometimes) good to not fully understand your opponent.
“Sometimes not knowing is kind of a blessing in disguise,” Giardi said. “You don’t take things for granted and you focus on what you need to do as a team.”
The Magicians will host Pembroke on Thursday with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.