St. Peter-Marian High entered the Central Mass. Division 1 tournament with a 12-game winning streak in which it vanquished its opponents by an average of 14.7 points.But the high-scoring Guardians found themselves involved in a slugfest with defensive-minded Burncoat High in a quarterfinal Thursday night, needing a lot of luck with seconds left in regulation before regaining its offensive continuity in overtime and escaping with a 60-53 victory at Holy Name.“We were very fortunate. The basketball gods were looking down on us tonight,” SPM coach Marcus Watson said.The third-seeded Guardians (18-5) will meet No. 2 St. John’s (19-4) at 5 p.m. Sunday in a semifinal at WPI. The Central Mass. Conference rivals split the season series, the Pioneers winning by six points on Jan. 7 and the Guardians winning by seven on Jan. 24.The Pioneers have bounced the Guardians from the playoffs each of the past two seasons, last year by 24 points in the quarterfinals.“They blew us out of the gym, which we remember,” Watson said.The sixth-seeded Patriots finished 14-8. It was a season of superlatives for seniors Dennis Banfo, Brian Bates, Zhemir Brown, Matt Morse and Patrick Sullivan, as they helped earn a share of the Inter-High title and post the program’s first playoff victory in 11 years.“I couldn’t be prouder of the way my team handled itself and competed tonight,” coach Ryan Connor said.
St. Peter-Marian 60, Burncoat 53
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at Worcester
Updated: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 11:38 p.m.