Down to a man, the feeling was unanimous. Just one more play, just 10 more seconds, and the ballgame would have been theirs…
Two hours earlier, Dedham`s Davin Sweeney (out indefinitely with a back injury) walked in to the main gym at Dedham High School. The veteran Metrowest Basketball player`s presence – even though not in uniform – was an inspiration to some of his newer teammates. Last year`s “undefeated” team had recently lost their last two games, and playing without their big man hasn`t been easy.
To add to their “woes”, their captain, Dylan Maida (who saw limited playing time due to a bone chip suffered in his previous game) was sitting on the bench taping his left hand. As the local boys went through their drills, a “wave” of boys from Melrose, clad in red and ranging in height from 5’2” – 6’2” entered their gym. Things certainly didn`t look good for the local team. Sweeney reminded his teammates to let last week`s loss go, and to focus on the game in front of them.
As the stands filled, 5’8” Corey Kilroy won the “tip off” against the 6’2” center from Melrose and got the crowd involved from the start. It was Dedham`s 3point shooting (Liam Dorsey, David Logan and Kyle Micciche) however, that gave the local boys an 11-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The 2nd quarter saw Liam Dorsey (shut out the last 2 weeks) on fire, drilling another pair of “threes.” Dorsey (17pts – 2 rebounds – 3 assists – 2 steals) had the help of his wing man, Nick Loring (5pts – 10 rebounds – 2 assists – 1 steal) most of the quarter. Dedham held on to a 5point lead, 23-18 at the half.
The second half of this game turned in to a very tight, foul-laden, defensive battle. David Logan (7pts – 1 rebound – 1 steal), along with Corey Kilroy (2pts – 6 rebounds – 1 assist – 1steal) and Brandon Ruiz (3 pts – 5 rebounds – 2 assists – 2 steals) all had a very good game. Brian Tavares, fouled hard in the first half, came back in the second and contributed some quality minutes, netting him a point and a rebound.
It was the newly acquired Kyle Micciche ( 3pts – 2 rebounds – 1 assist – 1 steal) and Dan Labadini (1pt – 1 steal) that helped the team`s starters. Mark Rella showed some good hustle, stealing the ball and playing a good defensive quarter. Melrose played hard though and tied the game 29-29 with 40 seconds remaining in the third.
Melrose opened up a 38-33 lead with 2 minutes left in the game. The stands erupted, when Nick Loring and Liam Dorsey each hit threes, giving Dedham a 39-38 lead with 30 seconds to go. Melrose answered with a basket of their own, taking a 40-39 lead over Dedham.
With 7 seconds left on the clock, Dedham star, Liam Dorsey, drove down the court and took his shot, bouncing off the rim as the buzzer sounded. Melrose had won, 40-39.
After the game, we spoke with Dedham Coach John Maida. We asked Maida what he thought… After a moment to put his thoughts together, Coach Maida told us “we`ve been in every game this year, either leading or down by a basket late in the fourth.” Maida went on to say, “despite being 1-4, we could easily have been 4-1 or 5-0.” “I am very proud of these guys, they`re a good group of boys and it`s really starting to come together.” “I knew it wasn`t going to be easy this year (moving up to Division 2) and we have to do a better job focusing in key points in the game.” Keeping the injuries in mind, Maida told us that “this has been a good life-lesson for all of them…”
This Sunday, the boys travel to North Quincy, to play a team that scored over 80 points in their game last week.
Story and Photos by: Joe Kilroy