Dedham Metrowest Tournament Hopes Come to an End
Down to a man, Dedham`s 7th grade Metrowest Basketball team stood silently on the court, staring in disbelief at the scoreboard. Their enchanted season had just come to an end.
Following a long, hard-fought, undefeated 12 week season, the boys had earned their way in to a 16 team, bracket-style playoff tournament. Their unblemished record however, came with a price.
When the season began in December, the boys were assigned to play in Division III. By winning as many games as they had, the team was reviewed and “moved up” to play opponents from Division II in the playoffs.
As in any sport, when you move up a Division, your competition becomes a little bit bigger, a little bit quicker, and assumedly a little bit better.
On Sat. March 2, Dedham High School played host to all 8 games of the Division in the Tournament. As the day progressed, teams from around the area came and went. Dedham was scheduled to meet Stoughton in the last game of the day.
In what proved to be a low-scoring, defensive battle, Dedham and Stoughton fought to an 11-11 tie at halftime. Davin Sweeney proved to be the star – with 15 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal. Liam Dorsey, Nick Loring, and Dylan Maida combined for 16 points for Dedham, with Ty Scurry, Brandon Ruiz, and Corey Kilroy accounting for the teams remaining 8 points and 5 rebounds.
David Logan, Mark Rella and Ty Rowell provided the help from the bench.
This nail-biter came down to the final seconds, with Dedham pulling off a 39-38 victory at the buzzer. Saturday's victory sent the local boys to the “elite eight” and a match against a very strong team from Attleboro, at the town's High School on Sunday.
The squad from Attleboro had averaged about 50 points per game all season, and had just beaten Wellesley to advance.
Exhausted, Sunday's match-up turned out to be another fierce battle. Attleboro had a 14-13 lead at the half, and Dedham was holding on to a 21-20 lead after three quarters.
The stands were full and the parents of both teams were on the edge of their seats for the entire game.
Davin Sweeney came up big again, with 15 points and 13 rebounds, but the size and strength of the Attleboro team proved too much for Dedham. With a great deal of blocked shots and rebounds of their own, Attleboro limited Dedham to only five baskets in the 4th quarter.
As the buzzer sounded, the scoreboard said it all. Dedham's speed and defense had held Attleboro to only 37 points, but the size and play of their opponents had allowed Dedham to score only a total of 31 points. Their season was over.
After congratulating Attleboro on their victory, Coach John Maida called for a team huddle. He looked over his group, making eye contact with each player. Showing the compassion of a father, along with the wisdom of a coach, Maida explained to the boys just “how proud he was of each of them.” He told the team to “hold their heads up, and not to feel bad about the loss.”
“I want you all to look back on this season, and think of how each of you can come back, and be an even better player next year,” he said. Hands came together in the center of their circle, for one last cheer … “Team!”