by DANNY JAILLET
LITTLETON, Mass.– There is an adage that goes “the third time’s a charm.” For the Maynard Tigers, they hope the “charm” comes, in the form of a win tomorrow night when they face off against rival Littleton Tigers in the second game of the 2013 MIAA basketball playoffs. Both teams are coming off impressive wins. Littleton’s last game resulted in a 70-59 win, as they beat Quabog in the Small School championship game of the Clark University high school basketball tournament back on February 23.
Maynard meanwhile is coming off an impressive victory of their own. Maynard Junior Ryan Fowler anchored the Tigers blistering offensive attack as he tallied 19 points. Also playing well was freshman Cal Howes as he chipped in 15 points. Perhaps most impressive was the Tigers team defensive effort as they held the visiting Bethany Christian Eagles to just 10 points in the first half. Maynard’s suffocating defense combined with their sharpshooting resulted in a 61-28 win. However, the Maynard Tigers know that this upcoming game tomorrow is not going to be an easy contest.
Littleton and Maynard have squared off twice this season. Back on January 8, Littleton star junior Chris Murray tallied 23 points while fellow classmate Alex McLaughlin chipped in 12 more as Littleton gave their home fans a 70-59 victory. A rematch came on January 31 when the two teams met in the Maynard High School gym. This time it was Ryan Sullivan providing the offensive spark as he tallied 19 points. Chris Murray chipped in an additional 15 points and while he was not the leading scorer, he certainly made his presence known. Juniors Sean Peterson and Jeff Gately scored 12 and 13 points respectively but Maynard’s valiant efforts were not enough as Littleton won the game 71-44.
If the Maynard Tigers want to win tomorrow and advance, they need to contain Chris Murray. Plain and simple, he is their star player. He presents a matchup problem because he is one of the taller kids on Littleton, which makes him very difficult to defend especially on the perimeter. He is a very good midrange shooter as well and that dual-threat capability makes him a tough matchup. This also means that with the extra attention given to Murray, there may be some holes in the defense and other players may be given open looks. However, Murray was really a “thorn in Maynard’s side” last game so I think if they can stop him, a victory is definitely in the cards.
My prediction for tomorrow’s game is that Littleton will give Maynard a tough challenge. With that being said, I am predicting a Maynard victory.
PREDICTION: MAYNARD 63, LITTLETON 60