The game stood tied at 57-57. There were four-tenths of a second left on the clock, and Dedham's Dylan Maida was standing on the free-throw line. Norwood had just committed a technical foul (too many men on the floor) and Dylan had been chosen by his teammates to take two shots… This was the end of one of the roughest, toughest, most physical basketball games we have ever had the opportunity of covering.
All last week in practice, Dedham Coach John Maida realized the importance of this match-up, between the number one (Dedham 7-0) and the number two (Norwood 6-1) teams in the division. He worked his team hard, and believed that his boys were ready.
From the opening buzzer, Dedham stepped up and took control of the game. As the Norwood team dribbled down the court, Dedham`s Liam Dorsey jumped in and stole the ball. Two steps later, Dorsey pulled up and sank a 3-pointer.
Norwood missed their next shot at the basket, and Dedham got the ball back to Dorsey, who beat the competition back to the other end and drilled another 3 point basket!
At the end of the first quarter, Dedham held on to a 20-12 lead. The second quarter proved just as intense, with dozens of whistles stopping the play throughout.
We had fouls, jump balls, free throws, and time outs. At the half, the boys from Dedham had their largest lead of the game 35-25. The pace of the first half however, had taken it`s toll on the 7th grade boys from both teams.
With the combination of some scrappy Norwood defense and some shots that just didn`t fall, Dedham saw it`s 10 point half-time lead reduced to just 4 points (43-39).
In a game where every single point mattered, Coach John Maida relied heavily on the stamina and experience of his veteran starters. It was Liam Dorsey's 14 points – 2 rebounds – 1 assist – 2 steals, Dylan Maida`s 12 points – 3 rebounds – 3 assists, and Nick Loring`s 8 points – 6 rebounds – 3 assists – 1 steal, that kept Dedham in the game throughout. The hardest points of the day however, came from Dedham's Davin Sweeney. Always double-teamed and often fouled, Sweeney`s 14 points and 8 rebounds were crucial to the game.
When Coach Maida looked to his bench for relief, they didn`t let him down. Brandon Ruiz led the support with 3 points – 2 rebounds – 2 assists – 2 steals. Corey Kilroy got a basket and was fouled hard on his next layup, hitting one of his two free throws. David Logan was all over the floor. His 3 points were an addition to his tireless defense. Ty Scurry stood tall under the basket, getting a rebound and a basket to help the cause.
Mark Rella's presence on the floor was also a factor in keeping the Norwood team off balance.
The game was tied at 45 with six minutes remaining, and remained tied until Dedham took a 55-53 lead with under a minute to go! With only 7 seconds left, and a 57-55 lead, Dedham was forced to foul Norwood going in for an easy layup.
Keeping their hopes alive, Norwood made both free-throws, tying the game at 57 points each. In the next few seconds, Norwood was caught in a change up mistake, and called for a technical foul! For what seemed like an eternity, after half-court conferences and extended time-outs, the game stood tied at 57-57.
There were four-tenths of a second left on the clock and Dylan Maida was on the line. Twice, Dylan faced the net, bounced the ball, took a shot and “made it.” The buzzer sounded and Dedham had won… 59-57!
As the boys walked off the court, we asked Dylan Maida “were you nervous, knowing these baskets could win the game?” Dylan looked over and smiled, “No, they were just free-throws and we practice them all the time…” Coach John Maida told us that he “really wanted to win this game, it was very important… that's why I make these guys run all the time… so they can last, so they can finish!”
The Dedham Metrowest boys had picked up their most impressive victory of this unblemished season, and are now in sole possession of first place at 8-0.