WA boys basketball suffers close loss to Wachusett in playoffs

Senior captain, Jake Barisano, shoots a foul shot.

Alette Bernier

Senior captain, Jake Barisano, shoots a foul shot.

Morgan Smith, Staff Writer

On Monday February 24, Westford Academy boys’ basketball ended their season with a loss to Wachusett in the playoffs with a final score of 59-60. The score remained close for the majority of the game, however when WA fell to a 9 point deficit, the comeback became hard.

The stands filled for the game with students dressed in white, band members, parents, and other spectators. The band played the national anthem before the game and the excitement of the crowd grew.

In the first quarter, both teams managed strong defense to keep the scoring to a minimum. The spectators were engaged from the start, booing when Wachusett players shot free throws. The senior captains Josh Rosenstein, Ayush Purandare, and Declan Morse all started off each making a basket Junior Matthew Sepe made a basket of his own. One of Wachusett’s junior captains, Trent Mosquera, fired 11 points just in the first quarter making the score 9-11 at the end of the first quarter with WA behind by 2.

In the second quarter, Sepe shined, firing 9 points, three 2-pointers and one 3. This was coordinated with shots made by Purandare, and junior Michael Kennedy Jr. as well as senior captain Jake Barisano. The WA performance was matched with several Wachusett players scoring 3 pointers. At half time WA trailed 27-29.

After the teams filed off the court for half time, spectators went out on the court and shot. The energy in the room was tense, as several Wachusett spectators were among the Westford fans.

Beginning the third quarter, Westford took a quick jump leading 33-31 with 6 minutes left in the quarter. Aryah Purandare managed 4 points and Barisano also fired 7 points.  WA players then made some minor mistakes missing a few layups, but still pulled it together to end the quarter 45-46.

The excitement of the crowd increased as the time on the clock counted down. In the fourth quarter, Westford players made big moves blocking shots and having turnovers. Coach Chris Bramanti stood at the sidelines yelling at his players not to foul towards the end. He knew that a foul shot could change the game, and he was right. Throughout the quarter, Barisano excelled as he made several baskets including a buzzer-beater 3. It was debatable if that Barisano’s shot was fouled by a Wachusett player, which would have changed the game. If a foul was called, Barisano would have had the opportunity to tie the game with a free throw, and he proved strong throughout the game making all of his prior foul shots. This judgement of no foul called by one of the referees caused an uproar with players and fans at the end of the game. In addition, Wachusett players also collected 4 points in this quarter just from free throws, changing the game.

One spectator in specific yelled “What, no foul!”. This was not the only comment about the situation as people talked about exiting the gym. Even so, it was a close game, but WA fell to Wachusett 59-60, thus ending their season.