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Sports

February 5, 2013

In the Paint: Generals, Chieftains riding hot streaks, set to clash

In the Paint

Matt Jenkins

The Hamilton-Wenham and Masconomet boys basketball teams have had strangely similar seasons so far.

Both teams started slowly because each lacked experience, but after a rough December they both started putting wins together. Now, the Generals and Chieftains are riding identical runs, having each won seven of their last eight games.

The teams’ respective coaches — Hamilton-Wenham’s Doug Hoak and Masconomet’s Frank Shea — have even started talking alike.

“Our margin for error is pretty small,” Hoak said about keeping his team focused now that a tournament qualification is in sight.

Not to be out-done, when asked how his team could keep its momentum rolling Shea said this in a separate interview: “There’s not a lot of margin for error.”

The coaches are down-playing their recent success, but it seems they’re simply trying to remind their teams that losing can be just as contagious as winning. That’s what makes their showdown tonight (at Hamilton-Wenham, 6:30 p.m.) so important.

“The kids know that any given night if they don’t come to play, any team can beat us,” said Shea, his team now 8-7. “Some nights we can beat any team. That’s been the story. Sometimes it’s a little nerve wracking because I don’t know which team is going to show up. Hopefully we can keep it going and hopefully we can play our best basketball.”

Masco started the year losing its first five games — including a 13-point loss against the Generals — and won only one of its first seven. Since then the Chieftains have become one of the hottest teams in the Cape Ann League.

Masco started its hot streak with a 45-35 overtime win over Newburyport and followed that with back-to-back one-point wins over Amesbury and Georgetown.

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