NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — It was perhaps the toughest way to end a season. After coming back from a 15-point deficit at halftime, the top-seeded Algonquin boys varsity basketball team lost a heart-stopper, 52-51, in Sunday's tournament semifinal against fifth-seeded St. John's.
The Pioneers will head to the Central Division 1 final March 10, where they will play Milford for a shot at their sixth-straight division championship.
"It was not the easiest one," Algonquin head coach Brian Doherty said after the game, which was yet another close contest between the two teams. On Feb. 21, Algonquin beat St. John’s, 59-58. This time, the Pioneer returned the favor.
Things were looking tough for the Tomahawks in the first half. After ending the first quarter with a nine-point run that put them up 17-10, St. John’s spent the second quarter pressing the advantage. Top scorers Thomas Kelley, Davon Jones and Adham Floyd helped propel the Pioneers to a 36-21 lead at halftime.
However, in the second half, Algonquin picked up speed, going on a 14-point run in the third quarter while holding St. John’s to seven. “They picked up the defensive intensity a lot,” Doherty said of his players.
Things got tense in the fourth quarter as the Tomahawks found themselves within seven points with a 1 1/2 minutes to play. Shots by William Porter and Michael Stamas brought Algonquin to within a point of the lead, down 49-48 with 44 seconds remaining.
It was Pioneer Kenny Harrington whose three-pointer ended up being the game-winner, putting St. John's up by four. Tomahawk Brad Canova followed up with his own three-pointer a moment later to cut the deficit to a single pont, but that was as far as Algonguin could go.
Top scorers for Algonquin were A.J. Brodeur, who led the game with 21 points, followed by Brad Canova and Michael Stamas, who each scored 10. Top scorers for St. John’s were Thomas Kelley, who scored 12 points, Davon Jones with 11 and Adham Floyd with 10.
“They played well,” Doherty said of his players. “I’m proud of them. A 20-2 record hasn’t happened in a long time.”