The Dragons survived a sluggish first-half offensive performance to beat Middleboro on Friday night, 56-46, raising their record to 6-8 with six regular season games to go. Duxbury must win four of its final six games in order to make the MIAA tournament.
Offensive consistency has been the downfall for this year’s boys’ basketball team, and it was in evidence last week when the Dragons had trouble pulling away from the Sachems with a 10-5 first-quarter advantage.
With the Marino twins and Curtis Owen staking the Dragons to an 8-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game, it looked like Duxbury was on its way to an easy night’s work. The Sachems would cut the lead to 8-5 two minutes later, but Rob Kosharek gave his teammates a five-point cushion when he put in an offensive rebound as the quarter ended.
Two minutes into the second quarter Coach Gordon Cushing put in his second unit to pick up the pace of the game. A Noah Schwanke basket kept the lead at 12-7, but Middleboro stayed close at 16-13 on an Alex Allioth hoop. With the clock ticking down Gordon Acha and Owen buried buckets to give Duxbury a 19-13 lead in the low-scoring affair.
Both coaches must have voiced their displeasure at halftime with their teams’ first-half performances, as both squads came out firing in the third quarter.
Owen and the Marinos got the Dragons off and running to a 24-15 lead two and a half minutes into the second half. Two more free throws by Schwanke and a three-point play by a returning John Geary put the Dragons up 29-19. Their newfound success didn’t last long as Daniel Jackson, Luke Szulak and Mark Rugg combined to cut the Duxbury lead to 30-25, forcing Cushing to call a timeout with 3:16 left in the quarter.
When play resumed, the Sachems crawled back within four at 34-30, but free throws by Geary and Acha gave Duxbury a seven-point advantage as the third quarter ended.
Sophomore guard Jake Foote would give Duxbury its biggest lead of the night at 44-31 when he buried a three-pointer and hit a pair of free throws forcing Middleboro Coach Andy Dizel to call a timeout before the game got away.
The Dragons were able to hold the lead for the remainder of the night as the closest the Sachems would come was at 51-44 with less than a minute to go in the game.
“We just need to get some offensive consistency,” said Cushing. “We work at it every day in practice until we are blue in the face. It’s something we have struggled with all year long and it makes every game hard.”
The Dragons did not have one player in double figures as Owen led the way with nine points and Jason Marino chipped in with eight.
After last night’s road game with Silver Lake, the Dragons hope to continue their trip to the playoffs with a win over North Quincy on Friday night in Duxbury.