AYER — The Ayer Middle School boys basketball team received strong work in the paint from Anthony Burwell and Austin Luckey, plus strong backcourt play as they rolled to a 39-20 win over Bromfield on Tuesday afternoon in the season opener for both teams.
Burwell finished with 10 points and five rebounds while Luckey added four points and ten rebounds and both were intimidating forces at the defensive end, making it tough for the Trojans to penetrate inside.
After Burwell scored the first basket of the game on a drive, and Bromfield’s Ryan O’Leary answered with a lay-up to make it 2-2, Ayer upped its defensive intensity and scored 11 unanswered points to take control of the game.
Alex Walker (eight points, two steals) put the Panthers on top for good with a fast break lay-up and the Panthers used their transition game to advantage, getting fast break lay-ups from Zak Walker (eight points, two rebounds, four steals) and Kyle Levensailor (six points, four rebounds, two steals) to move in front 8-2.
After Zak Walker buried a 15-footer, a free throw by Tyler Mayo gave the Panthers an 11-2 lead after one quarter.
A pair of free throws by Levensailor made it 13-2 before Bromfield’s Tate Edmonds hit a 15-footer to cut the lead to single digits.
But Ayer finished the half strongly, scoring eight of the final 11 points to take a commanding 21-7 lead to intermission.
The teams traded baskets to open the third quarter, O’Leary finishing off a drive for the Trojans before Burwell hit a short jumper, but any thoughts of a comeback by the Trojans were dashed when the Panthers when on a 10-2 spurt to build a 33-11 advantage. Zak Walker and Luckey each scored four of the points during the run while Burwell chipped in with two as the Panthers did some solid work off the offensive glass.
Bromfield wouldn’t go away and scored the final four points of the third quarter to draw to within 33-15. Mark Ferguson drained a 15-footer before Kevin McCauley converted a steal into a lay-up.
The closest Bromfield would get was 17 on two different occasions in the fourth quarter.
Justin Felix played well for the Panthers, finishing with two points and six rebounds, while Austin Allen helped Ayer to a 34-31 edge off the boards with four rebounds.
O’Leary turned in a strong all-around effort for the Trojans with six points, seven rebounds and two steals. Eli Wood added six points and two rebounds while McCauley finished with two points and four rebounds.