MARBLEHEAD — With time winding down in the third quarter of Tuesday’s NEC boys hoop clash between Marblehead and Salem, the host Magicians held a 7-point lead and were threating to run away with things.
Seemingly in the blink of an eye, the Witches roared back with an 8-0 run, capped off by four quick points from freshman Brayson Green to end the frame. The quick burst gave Salem a one point lead — its first of the game — and the Witches sprinted to the finish line for a 60-56 triumph.
A switch on defense helped spark the late run, as did a couple of momentum swinging triples from Darlin Santiago as Salem remained unbeaten on the season.
“They went to zone (on defense) and that took us out of three or four possessions and got us out of our rhythm,” said Marblehead head coach Mike Giardi, his team now 3-3 on the year. “You can’t have that happen; you can’t take three or four possessions to figure out what you’re going to do offensively. I thought we picked up the intensity that last minute-and-a-half, but it’s too late at that point.”
Thanks to some crisp passing, aggressive moves and good team basketball overall, the Magicians jumped out to an early lead. They went up by one after one quarter (17-16) and two at the half (31-29).
When things were going well against the Witches man-to-man front, Marblehead got into the paint and attacked the rim; Isaiah Makor scored all seven of his points in the first half, mostly on drives, while Lucas Mouthaan (12 points, 8 in the first half) and Kipp Schauder (16 points, 8 in first half) also did a nice job finding the bottom of the net.
Salem (6-0) countered by getting the ball inside to Treston Abreu (game-high 27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal), who fought through contact down low to finish strong, often times drawing the foul call in the process. Abreu even stepped behind the arc for two triples in the opening half, scoring 15 points in total over the first 16 minutes.
“He was spectacular,” said Salem head coach Tom Doyle. “That was part of our focus in practice was if they were going to extend out on the shooters we thought the middle would be wide open and Treston did a phenomenal job in there tonight and on the glass. He took two charges, too; just a great all-around game for him.”
After seizing their first lead of the game heading into the fourth, the aforementioned Santiago made a couple of clutch triples, one of which came from the corner as he was falling out of bounds, to give his team a boost. Then in the final minutes, Jack Doyle (10 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals) found a cutting Abreu for an and-1 ally-oop layup to all but seal the deal.
“Huge threes, huge threes,” Doyle said of Santiago’s big time shots. “That really gave us a little cushion.”
Jack Doyle was tremendous running the offense for Salem all night, making the right pass time and time again and knocking down the open shot when necessary. The freshman Green was a standout defensively, anchoring the paint and using his length to the tune of three blocks and six boards.
Marblehead also got some strong play from Tyrone Countrymon (12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), while Noah Mann (6 points) hit a deep three late to keep his team within striking distance. The Magicians will look to bounce back on Friday night against Gloucester, while Salem hopes to remain unbeaten with a win over Swampscott on the road the same night.
Salem 60, Marblehead 56
at Marblehead High
Salem: Treston Abreu 11-3-27, Darlin Santiago 4-0-12, Jack Doyle 4-0-10, Brayson Green 2-0-4, Bryan Delacruz 1-0-3, Chris Qirjazi 1-0-2, Jayren Romero 1-0-2. Totals: 24-3-60.
Marblehead: Kipp Schauder 6-3-16, Lucas Mouthaan 6-0-12, Tyrone Countrymon 5-0-12, Isaiah Makor 3-1-7, Noah Mann 2-0-6, Bo Raitto 1-0-2, Ryan Commoss 1-0-1. Totals: 24-4-56.
Halftime: 31-29, Marblehead
3-pointers: S — Santiago 4, Abreu 2, Doyle 2, Delacruz; M — Mann 2, Countrymon 2, Schauder.
Records: S 6-0, M 3-3
Contact Nick Giannino at NGiannino@Salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGiannino_SN.