SCITUATE – The comeback fell six points short Tuesday as the Medfield High School boys' basketball team's season came to an end in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 South Sectional State Tournament after a 76-70 loss at Scituate High.
Medfield, trailing by 19 at one point in the third quarter and 16 heading into the fourth, rallied in the final eight minutes to cut the deficit to four, but just could not get the lead on a very tough Scituate team.
"We made a great comeback," said Medfield High head coach Herb Grace. "We just couldn't pull it off. Overall, it was a valiant effort by the team. They played very hard. I was proud of the effort."
Medfield only trailed Scituate by one point after the first quarter (11-10) but the Sailors quickly built a large lead in the second and third quarters, capitalizing on Warriors' miscues.
"We had a lot of turnovers in the first half and gave up a bunch of transition baskets," Grace said.
The Sailors led 32-23 at halftime and 57-41 after three. The fourth quarter belonged to Medfield, falling six points shy of completing the comeback and tying Scituate.
"Second half we were better at taking care of the ball," Grace said. "We shot great, [but] Scituate hurt us with the three ball in the second half."
Medfield was led by Ben Coutinho with 20 points. Drew Shea added 16, Jake Bankert 11 and Johnny McCarthy finished with nine. Luke Thunberg had 18 to lead Scituate and Tyler Park added 16 and Cooper Davis 15 for the Sailors.
Sixth seeded Scituate advances to Thursday's quarterfinal round against third seeded Falmouth at 7 p.m. The 14th seeded Warriors end the season with an 11-10 record and several positives to take from the year – the emergence of Johnny McCarthy and Drew Shea on the court, a six-game winning streak in the middle of the season that propelled the team to a winning record and clinching a state tournament berth on Senior Night were some of the highlights this year.
Medfield will also take experience and lessons learned from an up and down season and look to improve in 2011-2012. The future looks bright for the Medfield High boys' basketball program as it will field, if all return to the team next winter, seven seniors, two juniors and Shea, who will only be a sophomore next season.
That is a solid, veteran group of players with state tournament experience for head coach Herb Grace to work with and take to the next level. The Warriors will undoubtedly miss current seniors Ben Coutinho and Jake Bankert in the backcourt next year but the breakout of McCarthy should soften the blow.