MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead boys basketball team couldn’t have defended St. Mary’s standout Anthony Silfa any better for the first 32 minutes last night.
On a normal night, that’s more than enough, but the game went to overtime and that’s when Silfa found enough space to shoot down the Magicians’ hopes.
Silfa drilled two deep 3-pointers in overtime and scored nine of his 19 points in the extra four-minute session as the Spartans prevailed, 53-59.
“They took some long ones. We saw them do that in the game at St. Mary’s and we knew they could shoot from way down town, but how far do you extend? Particularly that second three ... that was NBA range; it was a good 5-6 fee behind the line,” Marblehead (5-6) coach Mike Giardi said.
“Our focus was, don’t let them in the paint, don’t let them penetrate, don’t let them get any offensive rebounds and contest every three. For 85 percent of the game we did it, but that little bit when you have a team like St. Mary’s that good athletically, one little opening and they’ll take advantage.”
St. Mary’s (8-2) never got any separation from Marblehead, and the Magicians were getting out on all the shooters in their zone.
Junior guard Dennis Bailer (game-high 21 points) and Silfa are always ready to shoot, however.
“He (Silfa) wasn’t making too many early, but he made some big ones late,” St. Mary’s coach Dave Brown said. “Those two kids, they can shoot it. They both shot it very well the last time against Marblehead and at times they were streaky tonight. They weren’t making them, but they always think the next one is going in.”
St. Mary’s did had an early 10-point lead, but Marblehead chipped away. The Magicians closed the first half on an 11-3 run that gave them a 32-30 advantage heading into intermission.
The game was tied after three quarters (43-43) and a Bailer 3-pointer gave the visitors a 54-52 lead with less than a minute to play.
Marblehead junior forward Angel Perez came through with the big hoop for the Magicians, converting a baby hook on the left block to tie the game with 18 seconds to play.
“He’s one of those kids that sometimes his feet are going a little faster than his body, but with his long arms he can reach over guys and he fights for every rebound,” Giardi said. “When he got that ball we knew that we were at least going to get a good shot at the rim, and that’s what we got. He did a nice job with that up-and-under.”
Matt Millett scored 17 points to lead the Magicians, Will Millett added 14 and Spenser Craig added 10 for Marblehead.
Giardi felt that Marblehead just might have been out of gas in overtime.
“We expended so much energy fighting for the one or two baskets we got. We were fighting for every rebound and we ran out of gas a little bit at the end,” Giardi said. “It wasn’t from a lack of effort or a lack of intensity.”
Marblehead now has its work cut out for itself, needing five wins in its final nine games to qualify for the postseason.
“It puts us in a little hole,” Giardi said. “It’s going to be a really tough battle for us. We showed some intensity and we’ve shown we can play with the top teams in the area. The kids felt confident and I told them to be happy with what you did, but not satisfied with the outcome. We’ve seen a lot of that this year and we’re going to get over the hump real soon.”