By Danny Emerman (Sports Correspondent).
Before the game, the twelve Sharon Eagles sat on the wooden bench in the locker room and read the whiteboard: “TRUST YOUR SENIORS.” In an emotional rivalry game, Coach Ferguson asked his players to look to the seniors for leadership.
The final play of the game epitomized Ferguson’s pregame message. With four seniors on the floor for the deciding possession, the Eagles found harmony in chaos in the form of senior David Roelke’s game-winning three pointer after the play collapsed.
“We drew something up, it kind of broke down,” Coach Ferguson admitted. “Being tied, we had an advantage where we didn’t have to score; it could have gone into overtime.”
“I let that play go with all seniors on the floor there, all three captains. Every single one of them protected the ball, we got an open shot, and David knocked it down.”
Roelke’s game winner gave Sharon their fifth straight victory, a 49-46 win over Foxboro. The Eagles and Warriors are now tied for the top spot in the division with 8-3 conference records. The Eagles have now won their past three games by a mere margin of 8 combined points.
Prior to Roelke’s heroic shot, Foxboro’s Jason Procaccini sunk an easy layup to tie the game off a strangely situated inbounds pass. The referees were having trouble deciding whether or not the previous play was a shot clock violation. After over five minutes of stoppage, they concluded the ball grazed the rim before the horn and awarded Foxboro the ball with a mysterious five seconds on the shot clock.
“We were hoping that we would only have to defend for five more seconds on the shot clock and we could maybe get a tip and force a shot clock violation. But actually the fact that they scored quickly helped us,” Ferguson said.
“We had more time to run what we wanted to do on the offensive side. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get a stop to win the game. We like to do that defensively. But it did give us a lot of time there to execute something on the final play,” he added.
Early in the game, the Eagles were careless with the ball and coughed it up seven times in the first quarter. Although they had more turnovers than first quarter points (6), Sharon overcame the turnover bug largely because of Bryce Smith’s offensive explosion. In the second quarter, Smith scored seven straight points.
“Bryce Smith single handedly kept us in the game in the second quarter. He attacked the basket really hard. He drew fouls which got us into the bonus,” Ferguson said of Smith, who finished with 10 points.
Along with Smith, junior Peter Banks played another outstanding game. Banks is always a rock defensively, but he has recently become an integral part of the offense. Averaging 9.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals over the five game winning streak, Banks has emerged as the team’s most polished two-way player.
“Peter has been playing unbelievably well. There aren’t too many bigs in this league that can stay with him athletically. He’s developing into a nice offensive player.”
Foxboro’s three-headed monster of Jason Procaccini, Alex Dubrow, and Rob Lowey combined for 30 of the Warriors’ 46 points.
“Overall we did a pretty good job on those three guys. You’re not going to shut guys like that out. The fact that we were able to contain them and not let them beat us on their own speaks volumes to our team defense.”
Former Sharon High student Alex Dubrow tallied 13 hard-earned points in the loss. Among his 13 points were two daggers late in the fourth quarter, including a 25 foot bank shot over Ripley.
“We knew what Alex could do coming into the game,” Ferguson said. “The threes he hit in the fourth quarter obviously made it a tougher game for us to close out.”
This is the third game in a row that the Eagles defensively targeted an outstanding opposing player and limited his production. In the five game winning streak, they have held Alex Dubrow to 13 points, Stoughton’s Brandon Teixera to 3 second half points, and Taunton’s Jose Mercado to 9 total points.
Photo Credit to Ryan Lanigan, Hockomocksports.com