Brewster Takes Class A with Thriller
Brewster Academy couldn’t have played much better to start the NEPSAC Class A final. They were defending, sharing the ball, making shots, going to the glass with reckless abandon and were consequently able to open up a 16 point lead.
But never a team to give up, Winchendon would fight back.
They cut the lead to 12 heading into halftime, 10 by the 12:00 minute mark, tied the score at 28 with five minutes to play, and finally took their first lead of the game 62-61 with a Devon Saddler dunk in transition with 3:55 left on the clock.
The next three minutes were some of the most exciting basketball the capacity crowd could have asked for as both teams went back and forth with one highlight reel play after another. After Eric Ferguson evened the game at 70, Ashton Khan set Will Barton up for an open three-pointer that gave Brewster a 73-70 lead with under a minute to play. Ferguson would take the ball off the defensive glass and go coast to coast on the next possession to make it 73-72 in Brewster’s advantage.
Ahead only one with 40 seconds left to play, Khan made his third consecutive huge play as he drove into the paint and threw in a lefty runner while fading away from the basket.
Down three with ten seconds to play, Winchendon called a time-out to diagram their final play of the game but Ferguson wasn’t able to get a clean look coming off a double screen and got caught in the air. The final buzzer sounded with players from both teams chasing a loose ball right in front of the scorer’s table. Brewster fans quickly rushed the court to celebrate.
Barton earned MVP honors with a 26 point performance but Khan was no less heroic as he made three scoring drives in the final moments while also setting up Barton’s three-pointer.
Anthony Ireland led the way for Winchendon with 19 points including a series of pull-up jumpers and a number of super crafty mid-range scores. Saddler and Ferguson finished with 14 & 12 respectively. Khem Birch had 11 points but that doesn’t nearly justify his overall impact on the game as he was rebounding on both ends, getting his teams extra possessions, and blocking shots.
Barton led the way for Brewster with 26 while Khan had 11. Naadir Tharpe finished with 14 and couldn’t have been much better playing off the high ball screen in the first half while Austin Carroll played his typically cerebral floor game. C.J. Fair and Mo Walker also played well although not stuffing the stat sheet.
This is the second NEPSAC Class A championship for Brewster after having taken their first title in 2008.
Brewster and Winchendon both move on to this week’s National Prep Championship where they will occupy the second and third seeds respectively.