Derek Marino (right) led the Magicians past Winchester. (Item File Photo)

Marino leads Magicians past Winchester

WINCHESTER – The Marblehead High boys basketball team was a little tight to start their Division 2 North first-round playoff game in Winchester last night. The Sachems were in control in the first quarter, but the remainder of the game belonged to the Magicians in their 70-61 win.

The Sachems, the No. 6 seed, had Marblehead, the No. 11 seed, down 21-15 after the first quarter. Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said his team was a little tense to start, but the Magicians certainly settled down after the first quarter. The Magicians went ahead to stay, at 29-28 late in the second quarter on a Seamus Keaney 3-pointer. The Magicians scored 23 points in the second quarter, including a Dan Doherty buzzer-beater to send Marblehead into the break up by seven points.

Marblehead picked right up where it left off going into the third quarter, as Derek Marino swished a couple of deep threes, part of his 30-point night to spark his team. The Magicians put the exclamation point on the third when Doherty once again knocked home a basket as the buzzer sounded. Marblehead's seven-point halftime cushion was bumped up to 14, with a 59-45 Magicians lead after three quarters.

The Magicians were outscored in the fourth, but the closest the Sachems got was the 9-point deficit when the game ended. Marblehead killed the clock and forced Winchester into turnovers and a handful of contested shots while the Sachems were trying to hurry up in an attempt to put points on the board. Marino said that Tuesday night was one of the best defensive games his team has had this season.

"It all started with our defense, we made a few changes when they hit some threes early, and we did some switches and really got after them after the first," Marino said. "I think this game was definitely our best game on defense, our communication on the court was great, and we executed on offense and defense really well."

Marino was the game's high-scorer. Winchester's Patrick Grassey led his team with 25 points. Dan Doherty and Seamus Keaney were both in double figures for the winners.

Giardi said his team really did a nice job after the Magicians simplified their game plan.

"We said we wanted to shut down two players, Joe McCarron and Liam Fitzpatrick, we did that but then Grassley lit us up," Giardi said. "We had to make some changes, and we did, and we pulled it out."

Marblehead (13-8) will be back in action Sunday night (7) at No. 3 North Andover (16-5) in the quarterfinal round. North Andover defeated Salem in its first round game.

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