Boys Basketball Start Off Strong

Alyssa Curran and Charlotte Dempsey

Recently, the major sports conversation has been about the infamous Nashoba Boys basketball team that currently hold a 8-1 record overall. Last season, the boys ended with a loss in the District Semi-Finals to Concord Carlisle 52-44. Coach Ortiz was impressed with their season and suggested some time off, but the boys refused and pushed as hard as they could until this winter. Their only loss has been to number 4, Marlborough, as Nashoba allowed them to come back and win after a 17-2 lead in the first quarter. The boys played outstanding, but in the end, Marlborough pulled through making 4 foul shots in the last 3 minutes. The team worked tremendously hard in the off-season to prove themselves with great wins against St. John’s, Algonquin, and Wachusett to start the season.

On Friday December 16th, the Nashoba fans were dressed head to toe in white in support of our Boys Basketball home opener. The boys were prepared for a huge game as St. John’s always brings their A-game. The win was huge for the boys as they were coming into the game as underdogs. It was clear that Nashoba was ready for a big game as they came out with a bang, and never let up even in the final minutes.

Major point contributors of the team have been Junior Point Guard Justin Peirce (11.9ppg) and seniors Andrew Fish (10.7ppg) and Trevor Manyak (10.3ppg). These three athletes truly helped lead the team to success so far this season. After the tough loss to Marlborouogh, the boys faced Groton Dunstable on Friday January 14th to give GD’s first loss of the season. GD was up by more than 10 throughout the first quarter and trailed by 5 at halftime. Andrew Fish and Justin Peirce drained important threes in the 3rd quarter and a 6-0 run to finish that period 40-34. The boys pulled through in the last quarter to hold a 55-46 win over Number 5 Crusaders advancing their record to 8-1. The most memorable game and upset of the season was St. John’s as the Chieftains overturned the number 1 returning Cmass team in their home opener.

The starting five for Nashoba were Trevor Manyak, Justin Peirce, Andrew Fish, Connor Ojerholm, and Nate Mansour. With a winning jump, Nashoba got on the scoreboard fast, scoring a quick six points before St. John’s could gain possession. The boys did not let the reputation of St. John’s affect their efforts, instead they let it fuel them. St. John’s may have had some height, but Nashoba was willing to put in the effort to take them on; diving for every ball and creating an unstoppable force on defense. Even throughout the whole game, everyone on the court for Nashoba gave 110%. Coming into the game both teams knew it would be a fight, they played each other in fall league as both teams gave the other a tough game.

Overall, Nashoba held a 27-24 rebounding edge. Offensively, Andrew Fish added 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals to balance the Nashoba offence. The key to Nashoba’s success was their defense which kept St. John’s on their toes and unbalanced for most of the game. Fish, Peirce, and Manyak (6 steals) helped power Nashoba’s defensive side of the game. Talented Justin Peirce came out of the game with 24 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that gave the Chieftains a lead that St. John’s could not come back from. St. John’s pulled ahead early in the second quarter as Bradley fed Stairs to make the game 15-18. After that, Coach Ortiz called a timeout to settle down the boys. They returned and outscored St. John’s the rest of the game keeping a close lead until the end. Pierce scored two 2-pointers in the fourth quarter to give the Chieftains an edge on the Pioneers. An additional three 3-pointers were made by Nashoba as we claimed it our game. The game ended with Nashoba on top as the final score was 55-61, a great start for our Chieftain boys.

Conveniently, the game was filmed and live streamed and is still available online. The game was also commentated by Jonah Lemieux and Jasper Yang. This was an exciting game to have filmed and all of the fans that could not make it to the game were very thankful. In all, this was a great game and everyone at Nashoba is very proud of the well- deserved win. This was a huge win for the boys and we’ll see how they continue their season. From the words of Justin Peirce: “It was a great way to start the season but it was just one game”.