DANVERS — The Hamilton-Wenham boys basketball team needed one of its best games of the season last night in the Division 4 North Semifinal against St. Mary’s.
With the exception of one minute, the Generals were phenomenal. But that minute came in the fourth quarter, and cost H-W a trip to the Div. 4 North finals as the third seeded Spartans took down the second seeded Generals, 60-51, in front of a standing room only crowd at St. John’s Prep.
“We played about one minute and 10 seconds of bad basketball,” said H-W (18-3) head coach Doug Hoak. “I know I’m biased, but I think the two best teams (in the Div. 4 North) played tonight. I’d be surprised if they (St. Mary’s) don’t win it.”
H-W actually held a five-point lead early in the fourth thanks to six quick points from junior Jimmy Campbell, but the Generals managed only two points in the final four minutes.
“The kids picked up the intensity,” explained St. Mary’s (18-4) head coach David Brown. “Hamilton-Wenham is well coached, they got in the seams for some easy baskets, but we were able to buckle down and get stops.”
Freshman point guard Marcus Zegarowski (nine points) ran into foul trouble in the fourth quarter and was subbed out with H-W clinging to a five-point lead. St. Mary’s then went on a 5-0 run to tie the game with the guy Zegarowski had been covering, Dennis Bailer, having all five points.
When Zegarowski was checked back into the game, he had to give a little cushion to Bailer and the St. Mary’s guard made the Generals pay with a couple of big, pull-up jumpers. Bailer scored nine of his 17 points in the final eight minutes.
“(Bailer) killed us, but Marcus was in foul trouble,” noted Hoak. “He was in foul trouble and they knew he had to play off of him (Bailer). They were smart and took it to him (Zegarowski).”