Mallards Lose Heartbreaker In ESIAC Final

Mallards Lose Heartbreaker In ESIAC Final
wps boys loss

BERLIN- Worcester Prep’s boys’ varsity basketball team lost a heartbreaker last weekend in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference (ESIAC) tournament championship game, falling to visiting Delmarva Christian, 29-28, on a free throw by the Royals with just over one second remaining.

The Mallards took on the Royals in front of a boisterous bipartisan crowd last Saturday in a game delayed twice by snow cancellations last week. The fans sections for both teams nearly blew the roof off the Thompson Fieldhouse throughout the contest, which went back and forth all afternoon.

Both teams cranked up the defense, making every offensive possession important in the low-scoring game. Both defenses challenged nearly every pass and shot and neither got many good looks at the basket. Worcester maintained a narrow lead throughout the second half and Delmarva Christian never went ahead until the fateful final seconds. The Mallards went to the line often in the second half, but failed to convert on most opportunities, which would ultimately prove to be the difference in the game.

With the score tied at 28-28, a Worcester defender fouled a Delmarva player attempting a three-pointer with just 1.6 seconds remaining in the game, setting up three free throws for the Royals and a chance to take their first lead. The Delmarva Christian player missed the first free throw, prompting a timeout by the Mallards.

However, the Royal foul shooter calmly made the second, giving Delmarva Christian its first lead in the second half. The third foul shot failed and Worcester grabbed the rebound with .6 seconds left, but a long pass was bobbled and the Mallards could not get a last look at a chance to win the game.

When the horn sounded, the Delmarva Christian faithful swarmed the court to celebrate the championship victory, while the Mallards retreated to their bench. Worcester had swept the two regular season meetings, 37-35 and 34-31, separating the two budding rivals by just five points after two games. With Worcester’s one-point loss in the ESIAC title game, the Mallards owned the season advantage by just six points, but the last point for the Royals was the biggest.