Middleboro boys’ basketball’s strong season ends with loss at Scituate

Mar 7, 2023

Middleboro boys’ basketball’s season ended on Thursday, March 2, with a hard-fought loss in an away game against Scituate High School.

The Middleboro Sachems lost 66-55, battling back from a 19-point deficit to shrink Scituate’s lead to four at one point.

“Scituate jumped all over us to start the game early,’’ Middleboro Head Coach Joe Pauze said. “They came out energized and ready to play.’’

The coach noted that “key turnovers and missed opportunities led to easy transition points for them, which they thrive off.’’

The team was down 34-19 at the half, but players responded to the challenge and knew what they needed to do to get back into the game, Pauze said. “We came out and matched the intensity they were playing with and started taking smarter shots.”

Switching to a zone defense “threw them out of their rhythm,’’ the coach said, and the defense created turnovers to allow Jacob Briggs to score a few baskets while being fouled.

“Briggs played with an attitude in the third quarter I haven't seen all year, scoring 12 of his team-high 15 points,’’ Pauze said. “He had that refuse-to-lose look in his eyes and led the comeback for us.’’

Matt Youngquist (13 points) and Charlie Botelho (10 points) also played well. Nate Tullish played his best game of the year with 11 points. “Getting the deficit down to four to start the fourth, we gave ourselves a chance,’’ but a missed open three-point shot and a turnover led to two transition three-pointers which extended Scituate’s lead to 10.

“From there, Scituate didn't look back as they traded baskets with us,” Pauze said. “Ultimately the start of the game was too much to overcome and I give Scituate credit for being the more aggressive team early. They fed off their crowd.”

He credited his team with turning around the season after losing the first three games. “The season could have gone two ways: starting to point fingers or locking in and putting in the work to turn it around,” Pauze said.

The team was able to win 16 of its last 19 to finish 16-6 overall, sharing the South Shore League Sullivan Division league title with Randolph with an 11-2 in league play. 

“I couldn't be more proud of how the team responded after starting poorly,” Pauze said. “Having this senior group of Jacob Briggs, Nate Marzelli, Justin Mather, Charlie Botelho, Justin Tullish, and Darian McGuffie in my first year made my life a lot easier. They're all special kids who do things the right way and set the tone for Middleboro basketball going forward. I'm excited for the future as we have good pieces coming back to build off of.”