Magicians can’t find makeup game magic

Finn Baron hustles back against Anthony Forte of the Tanners. Photo by Emma Fringuelli

The roof was patched up at Marblehead High on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to stitch together a comeback attempt for its Magicians.

Peabody and Marblehead resumed their game that was postponed due to a leak in Marblehead’s roof on January 8. The Tanners, who led narrowly before the postponement, went home with a 58-51 win in a tightly-contested game. 

“It was a weird game in the sense that we were picking it up from where we left off from the last time we played,” said Peabody coach Thad Broughton.

Peabody’s guards, Raphel Laurent (25 points) and Anthony Forte (17 points), are two reasons why the Tanners are 16-2, but on a night in which they were face-guarded nearly the entire game, they needed help from others – and that’s what they got tonight. 

The Tanners led, 27-24, going into halftime with Laurent scoring 11 and Forte adding eight. Going into the game, Marblehead coach Mike Giardi knew his team was going to need to find a way to slow down the dynamic backcourt. 

“Our kids worked really hard defensively. Christian Weston and Adrian Baron really made Forte and Laurent work really hard for every point they had, but great players are going to find a way to get to the rim and get points,” Giardi said.

For Broughton, he knew the focus would be on Forte and Laurent, so he was pleased to see others step up.

“Any time [teams] put so much focus on Anthony or Raphel, you’re going to need other guys to step up,” Broughton said. “I thought Cam Connolly (8 points) and Johnny Lucas (6 points) hit a couple of jumpers and we got some backdoor cuts.” 

In the third quarter, both sides were finding ways to score. Whether it was those backdoor cuts from Peabody, or Marblehead getting offensive rebounds and layups from both Ryan Commoss (13 points) and Scott Campbell (14 points), each team was utilizing its strengths. 

“We recognized that it was going to be hard for Anthony and Raphel to get shots without the other guys helping them with screens and handoffs,” Broughton said. “They moved the ball really well and did not force. They trusted their teammates and we made enough hoops to pull it out.” 

Peabody held a 45-40 lead going into the final quarter. Then, both offenses went cold. 

“We went cold a couple of times in big stretches during the game, which really hurt us,” Giardi said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump. We tried to do too much. We didn’t take advantage of getting the ball into our bigs. If we can go inside-outside, then we’re really effective.” 

One Magician who tried to snap Marblehead out of its cold streak was Nick Lemmond, who scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half. 

Unfortunately for his Magicians, when Peabody needed a basket, it turned to Laurent and Forte, who didn’t let the visitors down. 

“When it came down to crunch time, Anthony and Raphel hit some big buckets for us,” Broughton said. “Those guys have been stepping up all year. I’m just happy with their performances.”

The Tanners made their free throws and sealed the game, earning them a tough 16th win.

“There was a lot of pressure in this game – in terms of them making a lot of runs at us. It was a back-and-forth game. It was a grind,” Broughton said. “I was just happy to come out of here with a victory. It’s good to get wins on the road, especially against good teams like Marblehead.” 

Peabody’s next game is Friday when it hosts Triton at 7 p.m., while Marblehead will look to bounce back against Masconomet on Thursday, also at 7 p.m.