Seawolve Men Survive Navy in Nail-Bite

Gio DiFazio

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After two weeks of play, the men’s basketball squad has built an impressive record, winning four out of five contests while setting the stage for a successful season. The Men Seawolves are averaging 71.8 points per game while allowing 63.8. With a roster of 16 players, many of whom are seeing significant playing time, there are plenty of offensive and defensive options for Coach Richards and his staff.

On Saturday a tall, long-armed, and explosive Navy Prep team took to the court against the SMCC Seawolves. The day started with a lopsided victory by the SMCC women. The ladies dispatched the Midshipmen 66-42, and the men engaged in a contest which opened with a deep, step-back three-pointer from Chase Soares. Soares would finish second in scoring for the Seawolves and lead the team in three-point makes. Against Holyoke, Chase had to leave the games after sustaining a sprained ankle.

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The early three was nullified by a nine-point run to open the game from the Midshipmen. After Soares’s opening field-goal attempt, SMCC went 0-9 from the field over the course of the next five minutes, allowing the nine-point run from Navy. Under a minute in, Ryan Reagan of Navy buried a mid-range jump shot to initiate the Navy run.

Dylan Silvestri, who was heavily relied upon last season as a defensive presence on the low post as well as a fierce rebounder, earned a trip to the line at the 14:02 mark. Silvestri’s two free throws ended the Navy run.

Without any hesitation, SMCC leapt out of their grave field-goal shooting percentage with a quick three from Michael Harmon, followed by another from Timothy Dixon.

At 11:49 in the first half, the score was deadlocked at 11-11. The tie was broken when Cam Cox came off of a screen and sunk a layup with two defenders draped over him. Over the next few minutes of the contest, Navy was able to keep a lead over SMCC — but it never crept over four points. With just over five minutes remaining, Anderson Kavutse of SMCC converted a three-point play to bring the game to another tie at 21-21. Four lead changes would occur over the final five minutes, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms at halftime with the score deadlocked at 30-30.

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SMCC opened the second half 0-5 from the field. The second half would not open as the first half had closed, as neither team was able to find the bottom of the net for the first two minutes. Danny Ogele found an open lane two minutes into the second half, putting Navy up 32-30.

Navy managed to cling onto a lead over the first six minutes, but the Seawolves tied it up twice before taking a 43-41 lead at the 13:41 mark.

For much of the second half, Navy and SMCC were able to parallel each other’s offensive pace. The lead was only exchanged on four occasions in the second half, but the score difference was never more than eight points — which was also the largest lead of the game by Navy.

Down 56-48 with just under seven minutes remaining, SMCC began to overcome Navy’s lead and mounted an offensive effort that was led by John Morgan in the final five minutes of the game. Ten of Morgan’s team-high 16 points came within the final six and a half minutes to help overcome Navy’s lead.

With a minute and a half left in the contest, Timothy Dixon of SMCC netted a long three-pointer, but it was quickly answered by Navy’s Nigel Stewart when he nailed a 15 footer, tying the score at 59 all. Inside the final minute, the Seawolves’ John Morgan and Navy’s Cam Cox found the hoop to level the score to 61 a piece.

After a timeout was called with sixteen seconds left, Coach Richards drew up a play that resulted in Timothy Dixon taking advantage of a wide-open lane to the basket. The shot that would secure victory for the Wolves required a certain level of athleticism. With a defender blocking his layup, Timothy was forced to back off and look for another option. He finished off the play by focusing on the hoop and sinking a bona fide Dr. J circus shot.

The ensuing offensive possession by Navy proved to be costly, as they were not able to find a scoring opportunity. At the end of the day, the Seawolves squad would survive a battle of epic proportions and walk off the court with a two-point, 63-61 victory over a very talented Navy team.

A week earlier, the Seawolves had found themselves on the losing end of a 63-61 game against Williamson. Team Captain John Morgan led the team in scoring with 15 points while grabbing five rebounds. The following day, SMCC handily defeated Holyoke by a margin of 25 points, 89-64. For more information on these games, please visit the SMCC Athletics web page.

Tonight, the Seawolve men will take the court for a home matchup against Northern Essex Community College. On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Wolves will travel to Unity College, and they will return to the Hutchinson Gym for a game against Vermont Tech on November 19.

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