By: Tuesday and Friday
Eric Gendron had 16 while Dylan Richardson and Austin Franzen each had 14 to help Merrimack gain a semi-final berth in the QCIBT. This game was almost not played. Yes, you heard right. It was a surreal scene as the Tomahawk’s took to the floor to warm-up. Then a statement was given by the PA announcer at Memorial:
“Would anyone representing Weaver HS please come to the scorer’s table.”
No one came to the scorer’s table. Merrimack continued to warm-up. The 4:30 Weaver – Merrimack game was going to start in 10 minutes, but there was no sign of Weaver. Rumors started floating there was a bad accident in Lowell that the Weaver bus might’ve been delayed in. Tournament directors were going around trying to find answers. Referees waited in the locker room in limbo. At 4:45 pm the Tournament Director announced the game was called. At 4:50 the Weaver team walked into the gym. Hold on……. We now have a game tipping off at 5:10.
You can excuse the Weaver team for not having their feet under them. Having to rush into the gym, change, quickly warm-up and then tap off must have put their basketball mojo in a state of turmoil. To start the game they missed easy layups, turned the ball over and were running in basketball sand. It’s amazing they had a 15 to 11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Nick Meadows came off the Weaver bench to score 5 points in the opening quarter when they really needed a charge. Merrimack was cold to start the game and was trying to adjust to the team speed of Weaver. Merrimack adjusted nicely in the 2nd quarter lead by Gendron’s 5 points and Dylan Richardson’s 2 buckets. The score was tied at halftime at 25.
In the 3rd quarter 5’7 Weaver frosh Jaecee Martin decided to put Weaver on his back. He drove to the basket and had some tough finishes and scored 10 points in the 3rd. Gendron, Bourque and Richardson scored most of the Tomo’s 3rd quarter points. Weaver and Mack didn’t get much separation on each other in the 3rd and were tied at the end at 38.
The game was very tight heading towards the half way mark of the 4th quarter. Then a defining moment happened. Eric Gendron was whistled for his 5th foul with 4:13 remaining in the game. Coach Goodridge wasn’t happy with the call, but it was now put up time for Merrimack. Their POY potential go to guy was gone. They were down 49 to 46. There was no scoring for the next minute and then with 3:10 left Dylan Richardson knocked down a huge 3 to make it 51 to 49 Mack. A Richardson paint bucket 30 seconds later made it 53 to 49 Mack. 30 seconds later a Bourque breakaway layup put Mack up 55 to 49. About 20 seconds later a Zach Kerr runner put Mack up 57 to 49. It was a 9 – 0 run over a 2 and a half minute span after Eric Gendron fouled out.
Eric Who ???
Austin Franzen put the game away with 4 FTs in the last minute to thwart the Weaver comeback. Merrimack hung on for the 62 to 58 victory.
You never know when a team’s defining moment might come in a season which propels them to the higher level. Merrimack might have found theirs with 4:13 left in the game and the Memorial scoreboard showing: 32-5, which meant Eric Gendron was no longer eligible to play in the game. The Tomahawks found a way with players NOT NAMED Eric Gendron to pull out this big victory. 6’3 Junior Dylan Richardson was very impressive with 14 points. Besides the huge 3 he hit he had some nice angularity drive finishes which kind of reminded me of Tyler Gendron back when he played for Merrimack. Austin Franzen, one of the youngest looking juniors in the state, finished with 14 points and took care of the ball under pressure. Freshman Jaecee Martin had 19 and KeAndre Fair had 12 to lead Weaver.
Even though Tim Goodridge wasn’t happy with the 5th foul on Gendron you have to feel he is very happy at the way his team tied their work boots together as a team and got the W with Gendron sitting on the bench. The more players who can score consistently for Merrimack and have confidence to do so, the better the Tomahawk fortunes will be heading into 2014.