By Danny Emerman (Sports Correspondent).
In the waning moments of the game, defensive specialist Josh Rotman poked the ball loose and dove on it at half court to clinch the 64-54 win for the Eagles.
“My role on the team is to play defense and that’s exactly what I did,” the junior said.
Coach Ferguson says that Rotman’s defensive prowess is exactly what the team needed in crunch time.
“Josh is a defensive stopper. When we got down to those last minutes, I wouldn’t want anyone else on [Brandon] Teixera but him.”
Brandon Teixera (16 points), the standout small forward for Stoughton, dropped 13 points in the first half, but was held to just three in the second. Coach Ferguson says that to stop Teixera, the defense needed to locate him on the perimeter.
“We just had to make sure to identify him. We knew where he was and we switched up to a couple of zones, too, which limited him. He was definitely the focal point heading into the second half.”
With the 64-54 win over Stoughton High in front of a hoard of rowdy fans in the hot SHS gym, Coach Ferguson recorded his first career win as a varsity head coach.
“It feels good,” Ferguson reflects, although he says that his personal achievement is less notable than his team’s performance.
“I’m not worried about myself. It’s a good win for our team and the goals we have set for this year…We really played well defensively in the second half.”
Sharon, who trailed by 2 at halftime, switched from primarily man to man to zone defense in the second half and limited the Stoughton Black Knights to 2/22 from deep. Stoughton scored just 22 points in the second half.
“It stems from hitting the backboards. When we rebounded well in the second half, they weren’t getting those second chance threes.”
Senior guard Tyler Smith was tasked with guarding Teixera in the first half and credits the team for shutting him down in the second later in the contest.
“It wasn’t just me, it was a team effort. We switched to zone to stop the shooting and it worked well because he didn’t have any threes in the second half,” Smith said.
Junior Ricardo Ripley led Sharon in scoring with 15 points and captain Matt Lowerre tallied 14 of his own. The Eagles launched a more balanced attack, with eight players in the scoring column as opposed to just five in their first game against Mansfield.
Ricardo Ripley says that the team’s depth make Sharon a contender.
“We have so much talent on this team we can hang with anyone in the league. We just need to play together, talk on the floor and not get down on each other,” Ripley said.