By DANNY JAILLET
LITTLETON, Mass.– In what was a thrilling basketball game between two Tiger teams, one ultimately came up short. Unfortunately for head coach Paul Howes and the Maynard Tigers, it was they who would suffer the bitter taste of defeat with a 70-59 loss.
The first half was very evenly matched, with neither team gaining a substantial advantage on the scoreboard. Maynard held their own against the number one seeded Tigers trading buckets throughout much of the first two frames. Both squads had tremendous energy and fed off of the energy from the raucous fan sections. Littleton was down 31-27 with just seconds to go in the first half when star player Chris Murray hit a deep three-pointer to bring the game within one.
The second half was a different story. The blistering up-tempo play of Littleton appeared to be taking its toll on Maynard, who seemed to have lost much of the energy that they played with in the first half. It was during this stretch that Murray put the team on his back. He ended up scoring a game-high 31 points, and was particularly effective from three-point range, draining a few three-pointers from behind the three-point line. His quickness and speed also allowed him to get inside the paint and drive to the basket, something that Maynard could not stop. Murray led all Littleton scorers with 31 points while fellow senior classmate Ryan Sullivan chipped in 12.
Even in defeat, Maynard played hard and with the effort that has become a trademark of Howes-coached teams. Junior Ryan Fowler led Maynard with 19 points while senior Colby LeSage added 12. For LeSage, this was his last high school basketball game. Although Maynard lost, this season was not by any means a failure. The Tigers finished the year at 16-6 and with LeSage being the only senior, the future looks very bright for Maynard basketball.
Littleton (21-1) plays the winner of tonight’s game between Abby Kelley and South Lancaster Monday at WPI. The game will tip-off at 7:30 PM.