The Sailors advance to play Whitman-Hanson in the Div. 2 South final on Saturday night.
TAUNTON –- Deep runs in the state tournament aren’t something new for the Scituate High boys basketball team. Except for this incarnation of the Sailors, it is.
But back on the Division 2 South semifinal stage against No. 8 Randolph Wednesday, fourth-seeded Scituate looked right at home.
The Blue Devils couldn’t keep up with the Sailors’ up-tempo pace and tenacious effort as senior guard Jack Poirier tallied a game-high 21 points to propel Scituate to its first South final appearance since 2013 with a 71-57 victory at Taunton High’s Rabouin Field House.
“They grew up seeing that and they needed that,” said Scituate coach Matt Poirier. “This time of year it’s not about what you want, it’s about what you need and you got to go get it.”
Jack Poirier led that go-getter mindset while senior forward Tom Connor recorded 15 points and sophomore guard Keegan Sullivan, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, helped to continuously thwart Randolph (16-7). Senior forward Nate Lopes joined the trio in double figures with 11 points.
“They have great spirit, they really are tough physically and mentally they’re tough,” coach Poirier said. “They compete every day in practice. They don’t take it easy on each other. I don’t take it easy on them. They just understand that practice allows us to be successful.”
For Scituate (20-2), the win sets up an all-Patriot League sectional title game with No. 3 Whitman-Hanson (21-2) Saturday back at Taunton (7 p.m.). The Panthers, who won the other semifinal over Westwood, 74-66, handed the Sailors their last loss back on Jan. 28 with a 75-45 rout.
“Just (have to be) absolutely starving on Saturday. No other way we can do it,” coach Poirier said. “They’re real good. We have to play great Saturday. That’s all there is to it.”
Senior forward Jamarii Robinson kept Randolph within striking distance early by netting eight of his team-high 14 points in the first quarter. The Blue Devils received a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Fabrice Salvant (11 points) and senior forward Brian Kubi put back his own miss to give Randolph a 27-26 lead with 3:04 left in the second quarter.
“We had a nice stretch where we played really hard and we won some loose balls,” said Randolph coach Kalon Jenkins. “But we just felt like we were a step slow. At this time of the season, you got to find that extra thing, that one more, and we just didn’t have it unfortunately.”
That was the last lead for the Blue Devils as Scituate took control with a 10-1 run to close out the first half. Jack Poirier sparked the spurt with one of his three 3-pointers and after a free throw from Lopes, Poirier scored off an offensive rebound and Connor sank a jumper just before the halftime buzzer for a 36-28 lead.
“(Randolph) did a good job of breaking up our stuff as far as we didn’t make two shots in a row until then,” said coach Poirier. “The energy to get that run was what was most important. It’s hard. This is a different environment that these guys are in.”
Randolph only got within five points the entire second half as Scituate kept attacking and its lead never dipped below double digits after Jack Poirier finished through contact for a bucket with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Sean Hart followed by knocking down a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired and scored on a drive to the basket to give Scituate a 54-39 advantage headed into the fourth quarter, where the Sailors’ lead grew to as much as 20 points.
“Scituate did a great job establishing the pace, maintaining it, weathering the storm,” Jenkins said. “They’re a good team. Hats off to them.”
For Randolph, the loss marks the end of the careers of seven seniors and Jenkins will surely miss their presence.
“All those guys, I love them,” Jenkins said. “It’s going to be strange for me to not see those kids next year."