Making it through three rounds of single elimination playoffs, the eight seed Lakers played the two seed Warriors on Saturday Mar. 10, at 12:45 p.m. at Elm Street School. The Warriors — made up of six juniors, one sophomore and three freshman — won 61-46, marking their 11th straight victory in a row.
“The game was back and forth to start, but as soon as we started to rebound and move the ball up the court quickly, we finally started to take over,” said junior Ben Scannell on the early struggle for the Warriors in the championship game.
The Lakers finished the regular season 5-6 and the Warriors 9-3. In total, the Lakers put up 650 points in the regular season versus the Warriors 834 points, with the Warriors having played one more game. The Warriors’ 61 points in the championship game was only six points higher than their season low, but it was enough to get the job done. At the end of the second quarter, the Warriors 6’2 junior Brandon Spitz went out with pain in his knee, and was questionable to return. Entering the fourth quarter, Spitz returned, and at the end of the first half the Lakers lead 27-24. Beginning the sixth quarter, the game was tied 30-30, but the Warriors took control and broke out to a 44-30 lead.
It was a close battle until the seventh quarter, when senior Kevin Sullivan of the Lakers fouled out of the game. In his absence, the Warriors immediately went on a 14-0 run, with junior James Berton dropping 9 of those 14 points. Berton finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. Following the loss of their star player, the Lakers struggled to put points on the board, leading to their loss by 15 points.
With the Lakers’ senior Kevin Sullivan having 25 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, along with senior Alexander Hughes having 15 points and 11 rebounds, the Lakers were unable to defeat the Warriors. For the Warriors, junior Ben Scannell dropped 12 points with 5 assists and 4 steals combining with Spitz earning 15 points and 7 rebounds becoming the 2017-2018 Walpole Youth Rec. Basketball Boys High School Champions.
“The Warriors dominated the entire season,” said Nets coach Brendan Croak, “and their center, Brandon Spitz, is easily the most underrated player in the league right now, proving that all season long.”
Led by seniors Kevin Sullivan and Alex Hughes, the Lakers made it to the finals without a bye and going through some tough teams. In the first round, the Lakers played Ryan Murphy, Matt Mulroy and the rest of the Spurs, winning easily 97-56. In the second round, the Lakers had to play the number one seed Mavericks who earned a bye for the first round, winning 53-49 in a tight game. In the third round, the Lakers had to play seniors Billy Killeen and Kyle Smith with the rest of the Heat, who were ranked 13. The Lakers won again, 57-53 in another close game as senior Kevin Sullivan had 23 points and 6 rebounds, advancing to his second career championship game.
Disappointed after the loss, senior Kevin Sullivan of the Lakers said, “The officials decided the outcome of the game. The game was called very tight.”
In their path to glory, the Warriors were mainly led by juniors Spitz, Scannell, and Berton. Earning a first round bye, the Warriors were ranked second overall and had to face the Rockets, who upset the Wizards in the first round 57-46. The Warriors beat the Rockets in the second round 65-59. For their next opponent, the Warriors faced the Magic after the Magic defeated the Nets by one point on a buzzer beater. Making it that far, the Warriors kept on rolling, winning 63-41 sending the Magic home and advancing to the championship game.