McIntire championship belongs to yours truly

Junior forward Nicholas Lemmond blocks Gloucester’s Adam Borowick in the McIntire championship on Monday. Photo by Mark Aboyoun

In a game where extra basketball was needed to settle the score between Gloucester and Marblehead, the Magicians – who gave up a 12-point lead in the final quarter – showed their maturity in the extra period to become Larry McIntire champions 71-67.

Marblehead’s Nicholas Lemmond (21 points) was named tournament MVP while teammate Tyrone Countrymon (13 points) was named to the All-Tournament team.

Despite the lead going into the final quarter, Gloucester kept fighting back and took advantage of second-chance opportunities. The Fishermen’s captain Nate Montagnino (33 points) scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to get his team back into the game.

“He’s [Montagnino] a beast. He knows how to play the game. He’s smart down low and works really hard,” Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said. “We struggled to stop him.”

In overtime, the Magicians got some pep in their step and started to push the ball upcourt, which gave them success earlier in the game before Gloucester switched to a zone defense.

“I think overtime actually helped us,” Giardi said. “That momentum and energy getting into overtime helped us.”

Countrymon showed up in overtime, scoring five points and making crucial free throws when it mattered most. Countrymon and Lemmond combined to shoot 5/6 at the line.

“Overall, we’ve been doing a much better job at the line,” Giardi said. “Those are free opportunities at points to get your average up. When [our guys] got to the line, we made the most of those opportunities.”

In the first half, Marblehead consistently pushed the ball upcourt and was a force on the offensive glass. Ryan Commoss scored eight of his 10 points in the first quarter and was relentlessly rebounding the ball. The Magicians closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to give them a 15-13 lead after the first quarter.

When Gloucester switched to its zone defense, it halted the momentum Marblehead built up. The Magicians no longer pushed the ball and started to force things.

“We just ended up being a little bit flat. Bedford played a zone yesterday (Sunday) and we attacked it. Today, we didn’t attack it,” Giardi said. “Gloucester was very disciplined [and] we weren’t finishing around the hoop like we should have.”

That marks the end of the regular season for the Magicians as they await Saturday’s final seedings to determine who they will face in the state tournament.

  • Mark Aboyoun is a New Jersey born sports writer at The Daily Item. Aboyoun is a graduate of Saint Joseph's University '18 and went on to earn his Juris Doctor at Western New England School of Law in 2021.