BEVERLY — The Beverly boys basketball team has developed an interesting rivalry with Boston Latin in the annual Panther Holiday Tournament. The two teams will add another chapter tomorrow.
Beverly defeated Chelsea, 54-39, in the second game of a doubleheader last night, setting up a showdown with Boston Latin in the final for the third straight year.
Boston Latin beat Bishop Fenwick, 59-42, in the opener. The Panthers will try for their second straight Panther Holiday Tournament championship tonight (7 p.m.) against Boston Latin, with Bishop Fenwick and Chelsea meeting in the consolation game (5:30 p.m.).
“It’s really important for us. It’s a big game. Anytime it’s a championship game, you want to win, and we’re battling for the third year in a row,” Beverly coach Scott Lewis said. “We’re going to have to play a lot better if we’re going to beat them.”
The Panthers, coming off a pair of tight losses to Northeastern Conference foes Salem and Lynn English, were looking for their first win last night. It certainly wasn’t smooth, but Beverly found a way to overcome some sloppy first-half play and a chippy, foul-plagued second half.
Beverly (1-2) led only 8-6 after the first quarter and 13-12 midway through the second quarter. The Panthers started to put things together with a mini, seven-point spurt before halftime. Beverly held a 10-point halftime advantage (25-15) and broke the game open with a 16-2 run to start the second half.
“We keep stressing about communicating on defense and getting into the passing lanes and rebounding,” Lewis said. “We got four or five stops in a row and when you do that we can get into our transition game, which is what we want to do. We were able to do that (in the third quarter) and got easy baskets.”