By Danny Emerman (Sports Correspondent).
Josh Rotman swears he is a lacrosse player at heart, not a basketball player. But when he fouled Carlos Barrero in the open floor with two seconds left with Sharon up three points, he was certainly thinking like a ball player.
Behind Rotman’s heads up, game-clinching play, another balanced scoring effort, and disciplined defense, the Sharon Eagles squeaked out their fourth straight win against Taunton, the eighth best team in the state.
“When we put a game plan together, when we execute that game plan, when we play as a team, and when our scoring is as balanced as it was today, I think we can compete with a lot of teams in the state,” coach Andrew Ferguson said.
“We had to limit our turnovers. We had to be patient. We felt like our bigs could score against them, especially when we worked the shot clock down. We executed. We played excellent defense. We mixed it up to keep them on their toes a little bit. That’s what we had to do to win the game.”
The Eagles held Taunton forward Jose Mercado to just nine points, half his season average of 18.
“We ran our best big man at him in Peter Banks and he did a very good job frustrating him,” Ferguson said. “Being able to run Michael Zola, Malik Lorquet, and Mitchell Sirota at him made our life easy. We have a lot of depth to throw at a player like that and we were successful tonight.”
Banks played another fantastic game, posting 12 points and 11 rebounds along with his stellar defense on Mercado.
Ferguson also says that Sharon’s depth is what makes the team special and that when they play as a team, they can compete with anyone.
“We have guys that can play such great roles. We have Josh Rotman, who doesn’t play all game, but comes in in the fourth quarter and gets us a steal. David Roelke comes in, hits a bunch of threes. [Our depth] makes us what we are as a team right now.”
Matt Lowerre, who scored an efficient 11 points on 5-6 shooting, did most of his damage driving to the basket.
“They played pretty tight defense which opened up a lot of driving lanes to the hoop,” Lowerre said.
“To have me lead the team with 11 points and still get a win is a testament to how well distributed the scoring was. Everyone took the ball to the hoop and that was our mentality: attack the basket first and look to kick if our shots are falling,” he added.
Lowerre, the senior captain, reiterated Ferguson’s statements about Jose Mercado, saying that the team focused on stopping him.
“I don’t know if [Mercado] came to play today. It was probably a combination of us playing good defense, switching off with Zola and Pete [Banks] playing very well on him, and everyone helping off him. We made him our focal point on our defense. We made sure to stop him, first and foremost.”
The Eagles face another top 25 opponent in the Foxboro Warriors on Friday. Led by guard Alex Dubrow, the Warriors are first in the Davenport division with a 10-2 record.
“We have to attack them. We can’t take them lightly. We’re coming out of Taunton with confidence. I think we’re going to have to play confidently and play our game,” Lowerre said.
Photo Credit: Samantha Shaffer