By Jess Thomas
The Nashoba Regional Summer Varsity basketball team defeated Acton-Boxboro, 41-36, on Monday, July 20 to head into the Nashoba Hoops program’s playoffs.
The game, played at Maynard High School, was a close affair throughout, but two huge three pointers by sophomore Justin Peirce in the last two minutes pushed the Chieftains to victory.
“Justin (Peirce) hit a couple big shots in the second half to spread the gap a little bit,” coach Bill Jones said after the game.
Nashoba held a 33-31 lead when Peirce hit his first dagger from deep, giving the team a five-point edge.
Acton-Boxboro made a three-point play to cut the lead to 36-34 when Peirce attempted another three from the exact same spot on the floor. He drilled that too and the five-point lead stood.
The first half was relatively low scoring, with the Colonials holding a slim 16-14 advantage.
Captain Andrew Snoddy kept Nashoba afloat in the first 20 minutes, as he attacked the basket, finishing with seven points in the half.
“First half we missed a lot of easy shots,” Jones said. “Andrew did a great job of going to the basket and he helped keep us in the game in the first half.”
The second half was a totally different story, with each team putting the ball in the basket more frequently.
Peirce had eight second-half points and he and Snoddy completed the contest with 11 points each. Greg Fish had four in each half, finishing with eight total. The three combined for 29 of the 41 Nashoba tallies.
Jones said, “Second half, we picked up the intensity on defense and that led to some turnovers, some steals and some easy layups and that was the difference.”
The aggressiveness and togetherness of the Chieftain defense in the final 20 minutes was the deciding factor for the team, according to Jones.
“Overall, the team defense is what allowed us to come back from the deficit,” Jones said. “Team defense, quickness and playing together.”
The Colonials largest lead was 25-18, but once they held a 28-22 lead, Nashoba went on a 14-3 run to take a 36-31 lead.
With the victory in the final regular season game of the summer league, the Chieftains improved their record to 7-2 overall.
Jones believes that the team’s record will land them with the third seed out of eight for the playoffs. They will play the sixth-seeded squad in the first round on Wednesday, July 22.
Concord-Carlisle and Littleton will take the top two slots with 8-1 records each. Nashoba lost to Concord-Carlisle on Wednesday, July 15 in a hard-fought game.
Jones is happy with the team’s progression over the nine-game season.
“They played hard all year and they played as a team all year,” Jones stated. “They’re really doing a great job.”