HARVARD-Ayer-Shirley's Tyler Gaetz exploded for three three-pointers, and a game-high 19 points as the Panthers downed a pesky Bromfield team on the road, 50-45. The Panthers with the win, earned their first win-streak of the season. Ryan Richard overcame a lackluster first half, and racked up 13 second half points, for a game total of 15. Bromfield's Ryan Kennedy dropped a team-high 12 points to pace the Panthers, and collected six boards.
"Tyler Gaetz was huge coming down the stretch for us. He hit a bunch of big baskets ," said Ayer-Shirley head coach Justin Carlson. "We hit our free-throws to seal it and kill their runs at the end."
Bromfield has dropped five in a row; their only win came back on Dec. 14 against Oakmont. Ayer-Shirley won the turnover battle, giving up possession just nine times in comparision to the 10 of Bromfield.
In the first quarter, Ayer-Shirley jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, when senior captain Ryan Goodman scorched the net for a three-pointer from the right side with 7:03 remaining in the first quarter. Bromfield senior shooting guard, Trevor Granville accepted the long-distance call by Goodman, and returned the favor with a three pointer of his own deep in the left corner to make it 5-3.
Granville's three-pointer and a lay-up sparked a 7-0 run by the Trojans, where Kevin Sun hammered home a pop-up jumper to give Bromfield their first lead of the game, 7-5 with 5:30 left in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, Ayer-Shirley clung to a narrow 12-10 lead.
Scoring was at a premium in the second quarter, as both teams failed to establish a steady run. Ayer-Shirley was lead in the quarter by Goodman with a splash down three with 4:30 left in the second to break the tie, and give the Panthers a 15-12 lead. Sophomore forward, Chris Patano hit a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 17-15 advantage at halftime.
Gaetz spearheaded a 8-0 run by the Panthers' mid-way through the third with a three-pointer, and a lay-up with 3:05 remaining in the quarter, as Ayer-Shirley took a 31-23 lead. Neither team would find the bottom of the net, until Granville was fouled hard by Zak Walker in the corner, and went to the line to shoot three. Granville rattled home two from the charit stripe.
Bromfield scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, but fatigue began to settle in for the Trojans. "By the time we reached the fourth quarter we were tired," said Bromfield head coach Tom Hill. "For a while Jake (Frackiewicz) came through, Granville, and so did Kevin Sun. Our problem is we don't put ourselves in position to rebound offensively."
Freshman point guard, Jake Frackiewicz's competitive juices were flowing in the fourth quarter. Frackiewicz displayed grit and toughness dropping six of his eight points in the quarter.
Frackiewicz brought the Trojans within one, with 3:33 remaining in the fourth, when he went to the line following a hard foul by Zak Walker. Frackiewicz connected on both shots, to cut the Panthers' lead to 37-36. Ayer-Shirley went on a 9-2 run late in the fourth highlighted by a pair of clutch lay-ups by Richard to push the Panthers' lead to eight, 46-38 with 52 seconds left.
Goodman and Richard iced the game late in going four-of-four from the free-throw line. Kevin Sun (eight point, seven-rebounds.) nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer from the top-of-the key but it was all for show, as the damage was already done.
"The effort in the first half defensively was outstanding," said Hill. "Offensively we never really got on track. We're not disciplined. We need to get more guys involved. You just cannot win with two-or-three guys getting involved. It has to be more people."