HARVARD –The Ayer boys basketball team was hoping to turn things around after a season-opening loss to Lunenburg, but little went right for the Panthers in a 47-20 loss at Bromfield. No Ayer player scored more than five points in the game and the team hit just seven of 47 field goal attempts in the game (15 percent). The shooting woes continued at the free throw line where they connected on just six of 22 attempts (27 percent). Add to that Bromfield’s 43-24 rebounding advantage and there was very little for the Panthers to hang their hat on.
Ayer did work hard defensively and despite all the shortcomings they were still in the game after three quarters, trailing 26-17. They were one run away, but that run never came and the Trojans iced the game with a 21-3 fourth quarter blitz.
“The effort was not there tonight,” said Ayer coach Jeff Scott. “We need all five players on the court giving 100 percent at all times. We had nothing offensively and we missed easy opportunities. Every different combination was tried tonight but nothing worked. We just have to keep on playing.”
“We played better in the second half and we did a nice job off the boards,” said Bromfield coach Tom Hill. “Luke Broganer did a nice job of handling the ball, especially after Brian McCullough was hurt.”
Keyed by the play of Nick Ashe, Bromfield built an 11-4 lead after one quarter. Ashe hit his first two shots and hustled on both ends of the court. After Scott Monge finished off a strong drive to tie the game at 2-2, Ashe put the Trojans on top for good with a 15-footer. After Jeff Yates buried a three-pointer, Ashe hit a free throw to make it 8-2.
The Trojans failed to score over the first four minutes of the second quarter, and Ayer drew to within 11-8 on a 17-footer by center Cedric Gray, and a drive by Cody Januskiewicz.
Bromfield rebuilt the lead to seven on a pair of free throws by McCullough and a 12-footer by Broganer, and the Trojans took a 16-10 lead to halftime.
Center Tyler Shepherd, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, got the Trojans off to a quick start in the third quarter by converting after hauling down an offensive rebound, and adding a lay-up to make it 20-10.
Ayer closed to within seven at 22-15 on a pair of Brian Wallace free throws just past the midway point of the period, but Bromfield answered back on an Ashe free throw and a three-pointer by Broganer to make it 26-15.
Januskiewicz capped the scoring in the third quarter with a 17-footer to cut the lead to nine entering the fourth quarter.
Bromfield pulled away in the fourth quarter, getting some solid play inside the paint from Tyler Shepherd. The Trojans got production from both the pick-and-roll and on in-bounds plays from underneath their own basket that led to lay-ups. They also played outstnding defense over the final eight minutes, not allowing any Ayer field goals.
Ashe finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals for the Trojans. Broganer did a nice job of running the offense and had eight points and four rebounds. Yates scored six points and hauled down 14 rebounds while McCullough added five points and four rebounds.
Januskiewicz paced the Panthers with five points and four rebounds. Sylvester Marshall (five rebounds, two steals) and Monge (four rebounds) each added four points while Gray chipped in with three points, four rebounds and two steals.