Beverly coach Marty Harrington knew going into last night’s game versus Salem that knocking off the No. 12-ranked Witches would be a tall task.
But Harrington also knew that for his team to have any shot at the tournament, they had to check off three wins in its final three games.
So far for the Panthers, its one down, two to go.
Using 24 points and 18 rebounds from junior center Zack Zigelbaum, and applying a strong defensive press in the fourth quarter, Beverly overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to knock off Salem, 72-70.
Beverly improved to 8-9 with the win, while Salem fell to 16-3.
“They led by 11 the entire game,” Harrington said. “We were down by 10 at the start of the fourth, and we knew that they only play about five of their players so we were hoping they were tired.”
With about six minutes left in the fourth, the Panthers applied a 3-2 press and saw immediate results.
“We knew that we needed to win if we wanted to have a shot at advancing so, we applied the press,” Harrington said. “We got a couple of steals right away and just slowly chipped away at the lead. Then with about 38 seconds to go, Aren Jones scored the go-ahead basket.”
Chris Keaton, a junior shooting guard, added 20 points for the Panthers.
Beverely now must win its final two games, both of which are at home – Sunday vs. Dracut and Tuesday vs. Winthrop – to reach 10 wins and advance to the tournament.
“If we come out and play with the intensity with which we played tonight, that’s what we need to do to win,” Harrington said.
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- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
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- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
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