By John Anderson
The Rocket Classic brought together four teams from four MIAA divisions this past weekend: Leominster D1, Westborough D2, Auburn D3, and Sutton D4. The tournament winner was Sutton as the Sammies defeated the Rangers 62-49 and claimed the title with a 51-50 victory over the Rockets. The Blue Devils saw nothing in the “W” column.
On Friday night, Mark Wright led the Rockets with 20 points and DJ Scavone followed with 16 as Auburn defeated Leominster 57-51. Despite having 4 players in double digits, the Blue Devils could not prevail. Things looked as promising on Saturday as Auburn faced Sutton in the final round.
Auburn led at the end of the first three quarters: 16-14, 30-22, and 43-35, but the fourth quarter made all the difference. Mark Wright left the game during the second quarter with an ankle injury, and his teammates stepped up to keep the Blue Devils in check. Unfortunately, DJ Scavone was the only player on the court with significant varsity experience behind him.
Adam Gustafson filled in some gaps scoring 2 points in the third from the foul line. In the fourth, his 2 buckets gave the Rockets a 50-48 lead with little time on the clock. Auburn put a ton of pressure on the Sammies in their last possession, but the ball got to Matt Soule who drilled a shot from downtown to put Sutton up by 1.
The Rockets had good scoring opportunities in the remaining seconds but couldn’t get inside the rim. DJ Scavone led Auburn with 16, Ryan Kozlowski followed with 13, and Mike Thomas had 9. Mark Wright and Adam Gustafson each had 6.
Auburn Coach Andrew Niedzwiecki said, “It was a great game all around with big plays down the stretch.” He admitted that his bench isn’t deep and he really needed guys to step up. Some did. Hopefully, Wright’s injury won’t be lasting. The Rockets are off until January 3rd when they face Tantasqua at home, 7pm.