By John Anderson
As Michael Thomas limped off the court for the last time in an Auburn uniform, two of his teammates were already on the bench. DJ Scavone and Michael Jankowski both fouled out in the fourth quarter trying to defend against a very tough Tyngsborough team.
Halfway through the first quarter, Tyngsborough had a 6-point lead, but a 3 by Conor Scully along with successful free throws allowed the Rockets to tie it up 16-16 by the end. Scavone was in foul trouble early in the game, and he spent a good part of the first half on the bench.
Inattentive dribbling by Auburn allowed for multiple steals and breakaway baskets by the Tigers during the second quarter. Fortunately another 3 by Scully and two by Thomas along with good 2’s gave the Rockets a halftime lead of 33-29. It was nice to see the team step with DJ out.
It’s hard to say what happened in the Tiger locker room during the break, but they came out with an improved zone defense that kept Auburn scoreless for over 6 minutes. And then, it was only 1 free throw point made by Scavone. At the end of the third, the Rockets were down by ten, 44-34.
In the fourth, Scully put up two more 3’s and Thomas made one basket, but fouls were adding up quickly as the Rockets desperately tried to keep the Tigers at bay. It didn‘t work, and Scavone and Jankowski sat down with five fouls.
This was a difficult loss for the Rockets who had a great, yet improbable, season. Mark Wright’s broken leg in December coupled with Mike Thomas’ persistent ankle injury had many counting this team out. No media source from the area attended the Ashland game, and that’s a shame.
These guys have heart, and they’ve shown it all season. Coach Andrew Niedzweicki commended the team, “They’ve worked through so much adversity. I couldn’t be more proud. This is a remarkable group of young men.”