Sunday night’s trip to the TD Garden turned out to be a mixture of emotion for members of the Scituate High School boys basketball team.
There was obviously the thrill of playing on the same vaunted parquet as the Celtics and a chance to show just what they’ve got against one of the top teams in the Patriot League and Div. 2 in general, Hingham.
The downside was that after sticking close in the first half, Hingham went on a rampage in the third quarter, scoring 30 points in the frame to power to a convincing 72-46 victory that improved the Harbormen to 9-0 (6-0 Patriot League) and dropped the Sailors to 5-1 (4-1 league).
The bigger disappointment for Scituate was the way the game played out, according to coach Matt Poirier.
“They made shots right away,” he said. “I thought we had weathered a lot early. They were much more aggressive early and they scored early. You’ve got to win those first four minutes of the game and you have to win the first four minutes of the second half. They made shots. They’re a really good shooting team. They came out and scored right away and really made an insurmountable lead because they were making shots.”
Poirier felt his team wasn’t playing with its usual intensity, and against top teams like Hingham, that will never be enough.
“I didn’t think our defense had the energy it needed tonight,” he said. “I think we need to recognize there are going to be other teams who shoot like that. We need to control the ball. We have work to do. This was our sixth game of the year and they’re a very good team, and that’s somebody down the road we’re going to need to able to compete better with. They’re energy was great, and making shots like that defensively really is tough, particularly when the ball isn’t going your way. We have to learn to play well when we don’t shoot well. That’s the challenge.”
While Scituate had its troubles, there were bright spots, including Jack Poirier who netted 19 points and eight rebounds, while Aidan Sullivan had six boards and five assists.
In the big picture it wasn’t all gloom and doom.
There was still the fact that the game was at the Garden, teams sat on the same benches as the pros and were treated to the full NBA experience, right down to a press conference in the media room after the game.
For Sullivan, playing at the Garden wasn’t a new experience, but it did add to an interesting resume.
As a football player he led the Sailors to a Super Bowl championship at Gillette Stadium in December, and the year before he was on the sideline at Fenway Park when the football team played its Thanksgiving Game there.
Sullivan was only on the sideline for that game due to injury, but was still a big part of that team and can say he’s been in games on all three major venues.
“I’ve grown up coming to games and playing at halftime as a young kid, but it was just against my teammates,” he said. “To be able to go out and have a real competition was awesome. The court didn’t seem as big as I thought it would be. I just thought it was awesome to see our crowd and their crowd. I played AAU with a lot of those kids, five of those kids, so to play against kids I play with in the offseason was pretty cool. I knew their tendencies, but they shot the ball great tonight.”
Sullivan said the experience was special.
“I think from missing Fenway, coming into these games at Gillette and the garden brings more intensity,” he said. “I want to make up for missing that.”
Jack Poirier felt the game was a tough one, but it could be a learning experience and overall the team has had a very good season.
“Really good so far,” he said of the early season. “This was a tough loss, but we’ll bounce back. Hopefully we’ll see those guys again. We’ve got work to do. Like coach says, we’ve got work to do. We can’t let the offense dictate what the defense does.”
In the Sailors previous game, they beat Pembroke 79-53 at home behind 18 points from Sullivan and 16 from Poirier.
The coach said the score didn’t tell the story of what he felt was an outstanding win.
“Pembroke came so prepared to play and the energy in the gym was amazing,” he said. “That game was really, it took a lot of energy to win. I know the score didn’t look close, but they came to play. We need that type of energy every single night. We didn’t have that tempo tonight. It was Hingham’s tempo. We’re beatable, ver beatable when we’re not in charge. They’re big and long. That can’t be taught, but they’re big, long and strong. They’ve earned that. That’s sweat equity that they’ve got in that area.”
Another positive for Scituate was the fan section, that filled a good portion of seats in the loge section. In fact both teams brought out fantastic crowds, selling the most tickets of any game of the day.
Poirier, who at one point in the game turned to the fans and had them on their feet cheering, was pleased with that.
“It’s nice,” he said. “I just wish we had played better for them. Scituate supports their teams, especially when they win. I just wish we gave them more to cheer about tonight.”
The boys got back on the right track with a 66-58 win over Silver Lake Tuesday to improve to 6-1 and are at North Quincy on Friday.