Coach Gordon Cushing couldn’t have been more upset than he was after watching his boys’ basketball team hand the Hingham Harbormen a 75-70 overtime victory last Tuesday night in Duxbury. Coach Gordon Cushing couldn’t have been more upset than he was after watching his boys’ basketball team hand the Hingham Harbormen a 75-70 overtime victory last Tuesday night in Duxbury.{sidebar id=4}

Entering the final period with a 13-point lead, the Dragons let a smothering Hingham press force them into numerous turnovers and defensive lapses, allowing them to tie the game at the buzzer, and put it away in OT.

It has been a brutal three weeks for the Dragons, whose season looked so promising at the end of January when they sported an 8-2 record. But they now find themselves with the potential to end the regular season around the .500 mark as post-season play looms.

What has killed the team is their inability to put opponents away in the end after working hard and getting a lead for the first 30 minutes.

It all started with a 53-52 OT loss to Rockland and continued when the Dragons put on a stellar performance against a towering Scituate squad, only to lose on a tip-in at the buzzer.{sidebar id=1}

A rout of Silver Lake eased the pain temporarily, but consecutive OT losses to Plymouth North (76-75) and Hingham last week had Cushing ready for the emergency room.

Monday night’s game with 14-2 Plymouth North saw the Dragons tie the game at 68 with 30 seconds to go in regulation. In OT they held a two-point lead with seconds left on the clock, only to watch Eagle senior Brett Tirlia rush the ball up court and bury a 25-foot jumper as the buzzer sounded for the one-point victory.

A drained Duxbury squad did show some spunk by coming back 24 hours later and giving the Hingham team a run for its money, as the Harbormen had a lot more at stake than the Dragons.

Eight first quarter points by junior captain Mark Brust gave Duxbury a 16-13 lead after period one. But the play of Hingham’s CJ Taylor and KC Murphy, along with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Nate Popp cut the lead to 30-29 at halftime.

Play was tentative in the first few minutes of the second half, as Hingham grabbed the lead at 36-35 on a pair of Taylor free throws.

The Dragons responded with a spectacular play by Brust, who tipped an offensive rebound to a wide-open Ian Whitney underneath. The junior forward scored and was fouled, making a three-point play that gave the hosts a 38-36 lead with 2:43 left in the quarter.

The play ignited the crowd and the Dragons, who proceeded to go on an 11-2 run over the next 1:40, capped by a three-point bomb by junior Mike Casal with 10 seconds left in the period.

The lead looked even more comfortable after senior captain Brendan Sullivan made it 51-38 to start the fourth quarter, but the Hingham defensive pressure got turned up another notch and began making life miserable for the Dragon offense.

The offense of Taylor and the rebounding of Murphy cut the Duxbury lead to 57-53 with 2:17 to go, prompting Hingham Coach Bob Kniffen to call a timeout to set up his defense once again.

Whatever strategy he devised didn’t work, as Peter Bobseine went the full length of the court to give the Dragons a 60-53 lead with 2:12 remaining.

The Harbormen came storming back in the final minute to trail 62-60, and caught a big break when the Dragons were called for traveling with 15.7 left on the clock.

Hingham worked the perimeter, then decided to go inside to Murphy, who bullied his way to the basket and drew a foul as the buzzer sounded. He calmly made both, sending the game into OT.

It was Brust vs. Taylor/Murphy in overtime, as the trio made it 67-67 with just over a minute to go. But a Murphy hoop ignited a 7-0 run that put the game out of reach at 75-67 with six seconds left in the game.

“That loss was worse than all the other three combined,” said an upset Cushing. “We just gave it to them and I’m absolutely disgusted by our effort. It was an awful effort in the second half and we got crushed on the boards. When the refs let you play like that you have to be able to fight back. I’m very disappointed in our effort right now. There is just no excuse for it. They just wanted it more then we did.”

Brust continues to have an outstanding season, as he scored 26, and was aided by Bobseine’s 16 and Sullivan’s 13.

Earlier this week the Dragons played in the Whitman-Hanson Tournament, as they get ready for post-season play that could get underway this weekend.{sidebar id=6}