Marblehead took on Peabody Tuesday night in a highly-anticipated matchup between two strong teams. The Magicians emerged victorious, beating the Tanners 63-54. With the win, Marblehead has qualified for the state tournament.
“Getting in [to the tournament] means we have won at least 10 games and that is the first goal of any team,” head coach Mike Giardi said. “Now we have to look to place ourselves as high as possible.”
Peabody isn’t the tallest team, and in its 64-58 victory against Marblehead in January, the Tanners coped with the height difference. Tuesday was a different story.
Behind big men Scott Campbell (17 points) and Miles O’Neill (four points), Marblehead dominated the paint.
“They (Campbell and O’Neill) did a great job on the glass, especially early on. I think that set the tone.” Giardi said. “We did a really good job attacking the glass.”
To start the second quarter, the Magicians scored back-to-back tip-ins off offensive rebounds – a glimpse into the theme of the night. After a 7-2 run for the Magicians to give them a 21-11 lead, Tanners’ head coach Thad Broughton called a timeout.
“It was just a really tough shooting night for us in the first half,” Broughton said.
It was a game of runs. Peabody kept fighting and used its impressive ball movement to come back, drilling two threes in quick succession to cut things to four (23-19). That said, Marblehead answered back with a 10-3 run of its own to close the half ahead 33-22.
In the third quarter, the Tanners found some life, and the Magicians started to run out of tricks.
Peabody, with its crisp ball movement, got several open looks. Raphel Laurent (15 points) and Anthony Forte (18 points) combined for 17 of the Tanners’ 22 third quarter-points.
Giardi was complimentary of Forte’s performance.
“We made Forte work. He’s a great player and he works hard,” Giardi said. “You get off him for just a second and he’s going to beat you – and that is what we were afraid of.”
The Tanners outscored the Magicians 22-15 in the quarter to cut the lead to four (48-44) heading into the final frame.
When asked what made the difference in the third, Broughton pointed to better shooting.
“I think we just started hitting shots. We had open looks in the first half and nothing was going.”
The fourth quarter saw the Magicians going back to what they did well earlier in the game: rebounding. There wasn’t a ton of scoring in the fourth quarter, and Marblehead made sure to limit Peabody to one-shot possessions by crashing the defensive glass.
“We mounted a comeback [and] got it to four points, but we could never get over the hump,” Broughton said. “Give Marblehead credit. I thought they played really well and made the big shots when they had to.”
With three minutes remaining and the Magicians up five (57-52), the ball found Scott Campbell who muscled his way through contact to score and give the Magicians a seven-point lead late in the game.
The Magicians never looked back, solidifying their revenge tour against the Tanners.