PEPPERELL — Opinions varied entering the Pepperell Summer Basketball League Championship game, but one thought prevailed, that it was a quality match-up between two outstanding teams and figured to be close and hard fought. But those in attendance were treated was separates the best from the rest as Tom’s Home Renovation put on a clinic of team basketball, that keyed a surprisingly easy 68-50 win.
The champs played like a team throughout, searching out the open man, playing strong help defense, with each player complementing his teammates. Matley’s Pool & Spas never got its potent outside game in gear and played far more one-on-one basketball, and suffered the consequences.
The two defining stats in the game were edges by Tom’s Home Renovation in two-point field goals (22-7), and rebounding (35-24). On this night, execution plus effort was lethal.
The teams took turns holding the momentum in the first half as there were four mini-spurts, two by each team, that ended with Tom’s Home Renovation holding a slim 30-28 lead at intermission.
Tom’s s started quickly, building a 6-1 lead on a 15-footer by Nick Colello, a drive by Curt Stillman (14 points, six rebounds) and a drive by Jesse Letarte, who finished with 11 points. It was apparent early that the game plan was to take it to the Matley’s Pool & Spas defense.
Matley’s bounced back with a 13-4 run to move in front 14-10. Donald Hunt (10 points, seven rebounds) scored five point in the spurt, while Elliot Knower (10 points, eight rebounds) added four.
But the momentum turned around 180 degrees and Tom’s Home Renovation bounced right back. A 15-footer by James Maloughney (21 points, seven rebounds) and a fast break lay-up by Joe Howell (10 points, seven rebounds, three steals) quickly tied the game and fueled a 16-4 flurry to put the champs in charge at 26-18.
Maloughney hit a pair of perimeter jumpers to put Tom’s on top for good at 18-14, and he proved to be unstoppable throughout, often with defenders draped over him and hands in his face.
Tom’s Home Renovation appeared to be on the brink of breaking the game open when Stillman finished off a fast break with a lay-up and added a free throw for a three-point play to build the lead to double digits at 30-20.
Matley’s Pool & Spas fired the final salvo of the half, scoring the final eight points on a three-pointer and two free throws by Zach Skinner (nine points, three rebounds, two steals), and a three-pointer by Bob Hopkins, who finished with 21 points.
Matley’s Pool & Spas owned the momentum entering the half, but once again that meant nothing as Tom’s Home Renovation charged out of the gate in the second half to take total control. Letarte buried a three-pointer, Paul Collette hit a fast break lay-up, before Howell hit a lay-up and completed the three-point play with a free throw to make it 38-28 and force a Matley’s Pool & Spas’ timeout.
The lead was still at 10 when Maloughney drained a 15-footer, and Howell buried a three-pointer to extend the lead to a commanding 15 at 45-30.
Maloughney was feeling it and hit a 12-footer and a three-pointer to make it 58-39, before a Letarte lay-up made it 60-39 and erased all doubt of the outcome.
Larry Colburn added five points and three steals for Tom’s while Collette chipped in with four points and six rebounds.