MARSHFIELD, Mass. -– No. 4 Marshfield tied up the game at 13 with 1:40 left in the first quarter, but that was as close as the Rams came to avoiding an upset by No. 13 BC High, which rolled through the rest of the game and closed out by 23 at 66-43 as the buzzer sounded in their Division 1 South first round victory.
The Eagles move on to play at rival Catholic Memorial (14-7) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
“I think when you’re playing teams like BC, you’ve got to get them early, and we didn’t,” Marshfield head coach Bob Fisher said.
BC High (13-8) jumped out to a 7-0 lead by limiting the Rams (15-4) offensively, including holding their high scorer Barrett Murphy (23 points, nine from free throw line) to one side of the court. Playing the passing lanes aggressively led to steals and coast-to-coast layups by senior captain Bryan Hurley (20 points, eight assists, seven steals) and Jameilen Jones (10 points, 10 rebounds, six steals four blocks).
“We knew that if we could stop [Murphy] that was huge,” Hurley said of Murphy, who only scored five points and an assist in the first quarter. “Not only does he score, but he distributes the ball really well. So, we figured with our zone if we’d force him right because he likes to go left and shoot off of that. Once he slows down, and we stop their best player, that affects the rest of the team’s confidence.”
“We really feed off of our defense,” BC High head coach Bill Loughnane said. Jones, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, made a huge impact on defense and the boards, making two blocks, a steal and four rebounds in the first quarter alone. “He’s active, he’s athletic, very smart, has a very high IQ basketball wise and when he’s moving like that, he makes everyone’s job a little bit easier.”
Only down by four after the first quarter, the Rams looked to have a chance, spreading out the court and getting some shots up in the second half of the quarter, but the BC defense kept them to seven points in the second; three free throws by Murphy and two field goals by Andrew MacKinlay (five points, three rebounds).
“Murphy is our team, but we need other kids to step up,” added Fisher of Murphy, who also had 14 rebounds. No other Marshfield player tallied any statistic in double figures for the game. “They had a difficult time stepping up as a group.”
The Eagles, on the other hand, got into formation and extended their offensive set with five players sharing their 15 points in the second, manifesting nothing spectacular on the stats sheets for an individual, but doubling up on a team in the playoffs spoke volumes for the team’s cooperative effort. Leading the quarter in scoring were sophomore Malique McLaren (10 points) and junior Justin Roberts (10 points) with four points each. Junior forward Oderah Obukwelu (seven points, nine rebounds) got an offensive rebound, scored and completed a three point play for his scoring addition in the quarter, while Jones and Hurley each scored a bucket.
Hurley could have easily scored ten points in the quarter, but he has a larger picture in mind than padding his stats. He cares about his guys.
“I like to get my teammates involved early, making sure their confidence is up,” Hurley said. “Especially being the only senior, we need confidence with some of the younger guys. It’s huge. Once they get it, they can go through the roof and do anything.”
And so went the remainder of the game, as the Eagles led by 12 at the half, 19 at the end of the third and 23 when the fat lady belted her tune.
Even though two-thirds of the Eagles’ roster is above 6-foot and look down at his 5-foot-10 from when he’s commanding the offense, Hurley brings something to the table that can’t be measured with a yard stick, tape measure or even the scoreboard.
“He’s just one of those kids who leads by example,” added Loughnane. “He plays hard all the time, he’s always positive with the kids, he’s always encouraging them and it’s going to help them all later on basketball wise.”