Raiders fall in overtime

Cardinal Spellman advances to Division 3 boys’ basketball state title game Saturday

“This season was definitely a success,” said starter Michael Hagopian after Watertown’s 51-44 overtime loss to Cardinal Spellman on Tuesday.
 “Our goals were to win the Middlesex League, win the North Sectional, and win a state championship. We came up a bit short on that last one.”

Hagopian and the Raiders faced the Cardinals at TD Garden in Boston on Tuesday. The Division 3 boys’ basketball state semifinal game was the first one for the Raiders since they played the same Brockton school in 2011.

“I’m expecting to back their next year, but it will be a different outcome,” Hagopian said.

The Raiders (18-6) knew they had their hands full before they even stepped on the TD Garden court. Cardinal Spellman (21-4) was coming off of a huge victory over Westport, and were destined for another one to make it to the state championship game.

The Cardinals dedicated their season to former player Joey Glynn, who died last summer after collapsing at a recreational league game at Saltonstall Park in Watertown.  Glynn was 19 at the time and was attending Bentley University.

In the first quarter, both teams struggled to hit shots. Needing to drive to the hoop or rely on free throws for points, after one quarter, Spellman led, 14-11.

The second quarter was a totally different story. Watertown was hitting many of its 3-points, which they were known to do, and finished the quarter on a 13-4 run giving them a 4-point lead at half, 27-23.

In the third, the Raiders continued their dominance on both sides of the ball. T.J. Hairston was pulling down rebound after rebound, and not letting the Cardinals get any second-chance points.  And whether it was Kevin DiPietrantonio, Cesar Fulcar, Brendan Hoban, or Hagopian with the ball, it ended up working out for the Raiders. At the end of the third quarter, Watertown led, 36-27.

The Raiders took an 11-point lead with just over five minutes remaining on a Hairston layup. Spellman then went on a 15-4 run to end the quarter and send the game into overtime, 42-42, after a game-tying layup with just over 10 seconds left on the clock.

Overtime was much of the same as the last five minutes. Spellman took over on the glass and finally hit its outside shots to take a commanding lead that Watertown just didn’t have the strength to overcome. DiPietrantonio fouled out with over three minutes remaining, which brought in Christian Tapia as the first substitution of the game for the Raiders.

It was a hard-fought game by both sides. Cardinal Spellman came out victorious, 51-44. The Cardinals will face Tyngsboro (22-2) for the Division 3 state championship at DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday.

–March 11, 2014–