BAIN – The Morse boys’ basketball team will have its season finale this week with the conclusion of the regular season.
Although the Shipbuilders won’t qualify for the Class A South playoffs, they will enter the offseason with some much-needed momentum.
Gavin Baillargeon scored a game-high 26 points to help Morse handle Brunswick 65-47 on Tuesday night. The Shipbuilders improved to 2-15 and dealt a blow to Brunswick’s playoff hopes. The Dragons (5-12) currently sit ninth in Class A South Heal points; the top eight will go to the playoffs.
“They’re still playing hard but (on Tuesday) we finally started executing and I told them that once our execution started to pick up where our intensity is, we would be a tough team to beat. (Tuesday night) we executed with confidence and it really made a difference,” Morse coach Chris York said.
Trace McFarland scored 13 points, while Wyatt Shipley and Andrew Card each scored seven. Sophomore Trevor Gerrish led Brunswick with 15 points while Thomas Harvey contributed with 11. Jared Similien and Noah Johnson scored eight and seven respectively points.
The Dragons took a 13-3 lead, highlighted by a Similian steal for an open layup and a pair of 3-pointers from Harvey.
But then the shipbuilders started to warm up. They trailed only 15-13 after big 3-pointers from Baillargeon and McFarland.
“We were just kind of sticking to our guns and not straying from the game plan,” York said. “It would have been super easy for us in the low 10s to start making unnecessary decisions, so we just stuck to the script and the guys started shooting and it backfired for us.”
The Shipbuilders struck first in the second when Baillargeon’s three-point play gave Morse a one-point lead. After another free throw, Morse’s early lead in the game was diminished when Johnson’s pullback tied the game at 17.
A 3-pointer from Cam Beal gave Brunswick a 22-19 lead, but it was all Morse code the rest of the way. The Shipbuilders went 10-2 to take a 29-24 halftime lead.
“We definitely wanted momentum in this game,” Baillargeon said. “(We said) it’s the Dragons, we wanted it so badly. We knew it was the last shot to play them, so we had to go out there and have fun and play as hard as we do every game.
Baillargeon credited the team’s mentality for turning the game’s dynamic around.
“We were playing a bit too far off the ball, we realized we had hardened the ball,” he said. “We had to smash the boards more and even though we got the boards we had to push them and get the hoops.”
Brunswick only managed six points in the third quarter as they were plagued by poor shots from the free throw line. Brunswick closed at 31-29 with just over four minutes left in the quarter, but a 13-1 run from Morse to close out the frame extended the lead to 44-30.
“They get a lot of credit. They played very hard. I thought they dominated us for the 32 (minutes). They got all the balls 50/50 and beat us in transition; they deserved it,” Brunswick coach Ben Clark said. “We missed 20 free throws (11-30), we lost by 18, so you have to be better, it doesn’t win games and especially rivalry games.”
The Shipbuilders were 9 of 13 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
Brunswick now turns its attention to Thursday’s regular season finale against Mt. Ararat (9-8).
“We have to play better obviously, we have to play harder, like we are capable of. It wasn’t who we are, we have to come Thursday ready to play,” Clark said.