By John Anderson
As the season winds down, the boys are playing better and better. This was especially true last Friday when a break in the weather allowed Millbury to come to town. In the end, the Rockets won 96-93, but it took three overtimes to get there.
The first three quarters were close, but Auburn was ahead at the end of each, 15-12; 32-27; and 46-41.With five minutes left in the fourth, Millbury tied the game 50-50. Then things got interesting. After some back and forth, it was tied again at 2:50, 57-57.
With only seconds left, Millbury pulled ahead 65-63, and the crowd was looking prepared for another tough loss. Nate Ramos, however, would have no part of that attitude and scored 2 points to tie the game, 65-65, and bring on the first overtime.
Ramos did the same thing under pressure at the end of the first OT, and the game was 75-75. By this time, and since fouls don’t reset, both teams were in the double bonus. Millbury’s Tyler Smith had already fouled out as did Auburn’s David Roy.
With 6.7 seconds left in the second OT, Auburn fouled and the Millbury player overreacted and got a technical. The Woolies were up 86-82 after their free throws, but Nate Ramos was 2 for 2 on the technical, and Auburn maintained possession. With the clock running again, Mark Wright drove into the paint and tied it up 86-86.
With 3 minutes left in the third OT, Conor Scully fouled out, and the Rockets were down 90-88. At 1:56, Eric Howarth nailed a 3 to make it 94-90 and Mark Wright followed with 2 to make it a 2-score game, 96-90, with 47 seconds left. The Woolies managed to drop their only 3-pointer of the game, and the final was 96-93.
Ramos led the Rockets with 32 points, and Wright followed with 19. Roy and Scully each had 14; Howarth had 9; Luke Matthews scored 6; and Evan Cristy shot 2. Auburn had eight 3-pointers in total. The boards were also critical, and the Rockets had 37 defensive and 18 offensive rebounds. Auburn ‘s 9 steals partially offset 19 turnovers.
After the game, Coach Andy Niedzwiecki said, “I’m proud of the fact we never gave up. Mark Wright never lost his intensity, and it was the best offensive game of the year for Nate Ramos.” Quite frankly, it was a pleasure to watch these young men perform so well under pressure.