The boys’ basketball team took a major hit in its efforts to gain a place in post-season play when it lost to North Quincy on Friday night, 54-53, in overtime.
The Red Raiders came into the game at 14-2, while Duxbury was sporting a 7-8 record after disposing of Silver Lake on Tuesday night, 59-56. With five games remaining in the regular season, the Dragons needed to win three of its last five games to finish at .500.
hree Patriot League games and two tournament games at Bridgewater State would give Duxbury that opportunity, but Coach Gordon Cushing’s squad couldn’t afford to give anything but its best in order to earn a berth.
Unfortunately Duxbury got off to a bad offensive start when NQ reeled off six straight points to start the game and trailed 10-5 before Cushing decided to go with his pressing second unit to try to alter the flow of the game.
It didn’t have its desired effects, as the Red Raiders went on a 6-2 run to end the first quarter leading 16-7.
Duxbury made an offensive run in the second quarter with the insertion of senior Gordon Acha, who scored four quick points to narrow the gap to 18-13 with 5:23 left in the half.
A pair of free throws by senior Curtis Owen and a basket by classmate Jason Marino cut the margin to 20-17, forcing NQ to call a timeout with 4:25 on the clock.
When play resumed the visitors built the lead back up to eight at 25-17, but Owen (4) and sophomore Khai Perry (2) kept the Dragons close at halftime by scoring in the final 1:42 to make it 28-23.
Realizing they were in a desperate situation, senior captain Justin Marino took over as the third quarter started, scoring six straight points to give the Dragons their first lead of the game at 29-28.
The lead would see-saw over the next two minutes until Perry hit an old-fashioned three-point play, putting Duxbury ahead 34-32 with 3:05 left in the quarter. Acha and Owen would combine for six points over the final two minutes to increase Duxbury’s lead to 40-36 with eight minutes left to go.
The Dragons were poised for a big upset when Owen buried a three with 5:13 left in the game for a 43-38 lead, but a hoop by NQ’s Marquis McClendon drew a timeout from the Red Raiders coach so they could talk about their game-ending defense.
When play resumed NQ rebounded a Duxbury miss and took the lead on a Tim Liuzzo basket, only to have it countered by an Owen hoop for a 45-44 lead with 1:40 showing on the clock.
McClendon came right back and buried a three-pointer for a 47-45 lead with 1:24 to go. Acha was fouled as the shot clock wound down and nailed both free throws to tie the game at 47 with a minute remaining.
The Dragons would get a key rebound on a NQ miss and called a timeout to set up a play with 40 seconds on the clock.
Coming out of the timeout, the Dragons were intent on running time off the clock before getting their shot off. Caught in traffic at the top of the key, they were whistled for an offensive foul on a pick with 18.4 seconds to go and plenty of time left (12.7 seconds) for the Red Raiders to win it.
Working the ball down around the perimeter, NQ took its shot and went into the paint, only to find Justin Marino waiting to swat the shot away and send the game into overtime.
The Dragons would build a 53-49 lead with 1:32 showing, but Daniel Gould buried a three-pointer 30 seconds later to cut the margin to 53-52.
McClendon, who had been a baseline terror all night long, got free once again to give the Red Raiders a 54-53 lead with 14 seconds remaining.
Cushing called a timeout to set up a play, but his team’s attempt to dribble through traffic at the top of the key went for naught, as they were stripped of the ball and watched NQ dribble away the time and damage Duxbury’s chances at post-season play.
Owen had a big offensive night with 21 points, while Justin Marino chipped in with 10 and Acha contributed eight.
The Dragons will travel to Whitman-Hanson on Thursday night in hopes of keeping their play-off hopes alive.