Bucs 17-8 Championship Season Ends at TD Garden with Support of Hundreds of Fans

TD Garden, from the Bedford TV press box - Click to view full sized image Image (c) Dan Brosgol, 2016
TD Garden, from the Bedford TV press box – Click image to see it at full size – Image (c) Dan Brosgol, 2016

By Dan Brosgol

It begins - Image (c) Brenda , 2016 all rights reserved
It begins – Image (c) Brenda Kenahan, 2016 all rights reserved

The clock struck midnight at 5:30 this afternoon, as Bedford’s Cinderella playoff run came to an end at the TD Garden with a 63-43 loss to the Spartans of Bishop Stang High School of North Dartmouth in the Eastern Mass. Division 3 final.

As tipoff approached, buses full of Bedford students emptied out on Causeway Street, and a green-clad student section rocked eager anticipation. Hundreds of Bedford fans, including a large number of suspiciously young ones who perhaps were dismissed early from Davis and Lane, joined in the excitement as the Bucs took the floor for warm-ups and Bedford cheerleaders went through their paces.

Bedford cheers at Center Court at TD Garden - Click image to see full size - Image (c) Brenda Kenahan, 2016 all rights reserved
Bedford cheers at Center Court at TD Garden – Image (c) Brenda Kenahan, 2016 all rights reserved

With Bishop Stang’s fans filling the opposite side of the famous arena, raucous fans for both teams loomed over the historic parquet floor, and the lower level of the Garden was rocking throughout the opening half as the two teams fought tooth and nail for every basket. Bedford’s Thomas Greaney and Zach Walters combined to score all of the Bucs’ 18 first-quarter points, but Bishop Stang carried a 19-18 advantage into the second quarter after Spartan guard Damian Perry hit a 3-pointer from about 45 feet out at the buzzer. The second quarter featured up-tempo play and short offensive runs from both teams, and the score at the half was 28-26 in favor of the Spartans.

Timothy Cowen, Jack Cowan, Zach Walters, Tomas Greaney, and Cameron Shelmire led the Bucs attack throughout the opening 16 minutes, with Peter Kapanides and Matt Timperio subbing in and out and Tyler Billouin also getting meaningful minutes.

With such an exciting first half, and just two points separating the teams, hopes were high for a thrilling second half. Unfortunately, the Spartans had other ideas, as they began the third quarter on a 14-2 run, including the first 7 points from guard Justin Lopes, and spent the better part of the final 16 minutes dominating the Bucs on both sides of the court. As Bedford began to press and trap on defense farther away from the basket with the hope of forcing turnovers, Bishop Stang’s quartet of excellent guards –Avery DiBrito (a team-high 11 points), Damien Perry, Justin Lopes, and standout Brycen Goodine — took advantage of the overextended defense and cut and passed their way to lay-ups and weak side open jumpers. Forward Greg Fernando chipped in with 10 points of his own as Stang built an insurmountable lead.

Teams huddled at the edge of the parquet - Click image to view at full size - Image (c) Dan Brosgol, 2016 all rights reserved
Teams huddled at the edge of the parquet – Click image to see it at full size – Image (c) Dan Brosgol, 2016 all rights reserved

The Spartan defense packed the middle and denied 6’6” Thomas Greaney the ball for most of the second half, and the Bucs found themselves relying too heavily on long three-pointers in an attempt to cut into an ever-increasing deficit. Unlike the game against Lynnfield, though, the shots were not falling as the Bucs went just 4-for-31 from the field after halftime. The Bucs’ first field goal of the quarter didn’t come until Jack Cowan scored with just under a minute to go.

With 2 minutes to go in the final quarter, head coach Vinny McGrath took out the regulars and gave some championship minutes to Thomas and Phillip Kimmell, Colin Doyle, and Casey Millar as the seconds ticked away. When the horn sounded, and the Spartans celebrated, a dejected Bucs squad headed to the locker room and the seniors left the court for the last time. But despite the loss, a 17-8 season and a championship game at the Garden is an achievement that will be long remembered by the hundreds of Bucs fans who made the trek into Boston and followed the team throughout the season.

Thanks to the Bucs for a great season, and congratulations to seniors Zach Walters, Matt Timperio, Tyler Billouin, and Marcin Kimazczyniki on ending their Bedford basketball careers with such an inspiring postseason run.

Bucs on the court - Image (c) Brenda Kenahan, 2016 all rights reserved
Bucs on the court – Image (c) Brenda Kenahan, 2016 all rights reserved

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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