The Chelsea High boys basketball team made their long trek to Greater Lawrence Friday a worthwhile one, pulling out an exciting 48-47 victory in the final seconds.
As has been the case often this season, the Red Devils got off to a slow start and trailed 28-18 at the intermission. However, the second half proved a different story as Chelsea came out with an aggressive man-to-man defense that created turnovers and led to better opportunities on offense.
“We didn’t play well in the first half, so we started the third period with increased intensity on the defensive end and that in turn picked up our tempo on offense,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal.
By the end of the third frame, the Red Devils had sliced the Greater Lawrence lead to 34-30. Faisal Nasimi played a key role in the Chelsea surge, draining a pair of three pointers near the end of the quarter that put the Red Devils within striking range heading into the final eight minutes.
The final period saw both teams play fierce, up-and-down basketball with neither able to deliver a knockout blow. Chelsea finally forged ahead with just 11 seconds to go when Oscar Sabillon drove the lane for a running layup. Gr. Lawrence got two more chances at retaking the lead, but the CHS defense held firm to take away the victory.
Carlos Vazquez led the CHS scoring chart with 12 points and Sabillon hit for double figures with 11. Nasimi and Nelson Vega added six points apiece, Jorge Ramos scored four, and Hector Sarmiento and Victor Corrales chipped in two points each.
The victory was sandwiched between a pair of losses to Lexington last Wednesday and to Northeast Regional Tuesday. In the Northeast encounter, another poor start by the Red Devils left them in a 36-19 deficit at the half. “We dug ourselves a hole early and couldn’t quite get out of it,” said Seigal. “We missed a lot of easy shots and it came back to haunt us.”
Seigal’s squad battled furiously in the second half, but fell just short at the end by a final count of 47-46. Vazquez led the way with 18 points and Sabillon struck for 16 to pace the CHS scoring attack.
Last week’s tilt at Lexington ironically saw the Red Devils start well with a 15-14 lead after the first period. However, Lexington’s height advantage eventually proved decisive. Chelsea trailed 31-20 at the half and never got close thereafter with the final score 58-35 in Lexington’s favor.
Jorge Ramos led Chelsea with 10 points, followed by Vazquez with seven, Sabillon with six, Nelson Vega with four, Sarmiento with three, and the trio of Guillermo Zelata, Montel Johnson, and Daquan Starwood with two each.
Seigal and his crew, who now stand at 6-11 on the season, will wrap up their campaign with contests at home vs. Lynn Tech tomorrow (Friday) at 5:00 and vs. Lexington on Saturday at 7:00. They will travel to Shawsheen on Tuesday.