The Marblehead boys’ basketball team had its home opener against rival Salem on Friday. It was a tight game early on, but the Magicians used a big run in the second half to seize control and snag a 56-50 victory.
The Witches jumped out in front early as they scored the first five points. Marblehead answered and finished the final five minutes of the quarter on a 13-4 run.
The Magicians opened the second quarter with a layup from Miles O’Neill to extend their lead 15-9. It looked as though Marblehead was going to take control of the game, but Salem had different plans. The Witches went on a 6-0 run and tied the game 15-15 with just over four minutes remaining in the quarter. The rest of the second remained tight, but Marblehead held a 23-19 lead at the end of the first half.
The Magicians came out of halftime on fire. Marblehead went on a 14-2 run in just over three minutes and saw its lead balloon to 15 (37-22). One key play during the run was when Marblehead’s Nick Lemmond found O’Neill off a nice slip screen, which made the score 25-21. On the ensuing possession, Ty Countryman found Lemmond for a corner three that he swished to make the score 28-21. The Magicians then created a steal and Countryman scored on a nifty right-handed finish, which made the score 30-21.
Salem finished the final four minutes of the third on a 9-2 run, but Marblehead held a 39-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Witches scored the first bucket of the fourth, but Countryman answered for the Magicians, as he drilled a straight away three-pointer to give his team a 42-33 lead. Both teams traded baskets, but Salem crept to within five (45-40) with just over three minutes left. Marblehead responded as Countryman found Makor open at the right block, and Makor finished the layup to extend their lead to seven (47-40).
The score was 47-42 Magicians with 47 seconds left and they were inbounding the ball after a Witches timeout. Giardi drew up a great play out of the timeout that his team executed perfectly. Ryan Commoss found O’Neill open all the way down the other side on a baseball pass and Commoss finished the play making a wide-open layup and giving his team a 51-42 lead.
Coach Giardi was impressed that his team was able to find a way to get the job done.
“Even though we got a little stagnant and complacent in the second half for a little while, it was great we were able to find a way to win,” Giardi said. “It was much different than last game but not every game is going to be the same. Salem is also a very good team, and they were part of the reason for our struggles, but I am just glad we came out on top against a strong opponent.”
Leading the way for the Magicians was Countryman (seven points, 9 assists and four rebounds). Giardi was impressed with Countryman’s performance.
“I know usually Ty is leading the way in scoring, but he did a wonderful job facilitating tonight,” Giardi said. “I think he even over-passed on a few occasions, but this just shows Ty can affect the game even if he is not scoring.”
Also showing well for Marblehead was the Makor (13 points and six rebounds), O’Neill (12 points and 13 rebounds), Commoss (12 points and nine rebounds) and Lemmond (eight points, nine rebounds and six assists).