The Marblehead boys basketball team was in a tight game Friday night against fellow rival Swampscott at home. In a game where the biggest lead for either team was seven, the Magicians’ clutch shooting down the stretch was the difference in their 61-60 victory.
Marblehead held a 51-48 lead with 3:50 remaining after Ty Countymon finished a right-handed floater, plus the foul. Swampott responded with a 9-3 run, keyed by Connor Chaiarello scoring seven of the nine points.
The Big Blue led 57-54 with 1:10 remaining, but Countrymon found Marblehead’s Nick Lemmond for an open three-pointer that tied the game 57-57.
Chiarello had the answer for the Big Blue when he drilled a turnaround jumper at the free throw line and gave Swampscott the lead back (59-57). Marblehead responded when Countrymon found Lemmond again, this time in the right corner, and Lemmond swished the three-pointer to give his team a 60-59 lead.
Swampscott had one last chance with possession of the ball, 5.1 seconds left and down two (61-59). Chiarello drove the length of the court and was fouled after driving to the paint with 0.4 seconds remaining. Chiarello made the first free throw, but the second free throw bounced off the back rim. Countrymon corralled the rebound to secure the win.
Marblehead head coach Mike Giardi was impressed by his team’s effort.
“It was not a pretty game tonight, but it was a great win,” Giardi said. “Give Swampscott a lot of credit, they were able to match our energy and were the better team at certain times tonight. I felt we got a little tired late in the third, but it was great to see how the boys responded, especially in the fourth. We really slowed them down in the last four minutes of the game, which I felt was the difference.”
The Magicians were missing two starters on Friday, and three players in total. Giardi liked how his guys stepped up despite being undermanned.
“We have a little bug going through the team right now, and we were missing three key guys tonight – all of them are bigs as well,” Giardi said. “The guys really rose to the occasion. Isaiah Makor was great on the boards tonight, and Nick (Lemmond) and Magnus (McCarthy) made big time shots.”
In the loss, Swampsott had strong performances from Chiarello as he scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. Andrew Templeton scored a team-high 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Leading the way for Marblehead was Lemmond, as he finished with a game-high 23 points along with six three pointers. Makor controlled the paint, finishing with a game-high 16 rebounds and adding nine points for the Magicians. McCarthy moved into the starting lineup and had a big performance as he finished the game with 16 points (four three-pointers).