The Cushing Varsity Boys’ Basketball hosted Worcester Academy on Wednesday afternoon in the Watkins Field House in a crucial end of season AA match-up. Both teams have been playing at an extremely high level and are seeded in the top 4 of the conference heading towards the playoffs.
Early in the game the play was fairly-evenly matched with Cushing utilizing their stingy defense to hold Worcester to few points and convert transition baskets on the other end. The play of the Penguins earned them a four-point lead at the half. Daman Tate ’19 had 12 first half points, including an impressive stretch where he converted multiple steals into consecutive fast break dunks. Tate’s dunks brought the bench and the crowd to their feet and into a cheering frenzy. Bensley Joseph ’21 led the defense by beginning each possession with tough on-ball defense.
In the second half, each Penguin in action began to get involved in the play on the court. Ethan Menzies ’19 was a huge spark off the bench by providing 7 points, including an electrifying dunk off a baseline drive. It didn’t take long before Kyle Murphy ’19 showed what he could do as he scored 10-points in the second half. This offense was needed to keep pace with Worcester, who all of a sudden got hot late in the second half. The visiting team took the lead with six minutes to go, but Cushing imposed their will on Worcester and reclaimed the lead in just two possessions. The home team Penguins pushed the lead to double digits when Worcester fought back with hot shooting from behind the arc. As the game came to an end, Tate put Cushing ahead with a free-throw and Sean Conway ’19 added to the lead with one from the stripe. The 2-point lead with 14 seconds remaining called for one defensive stop on Cushing’s behalf. Tough defense in the half-court set broke up an offensive play on Worcester’s end and a timeout was taken with 4 seconds remaining. Worcester inbounded the ball from the sideline where Malachi Ndur ’20 stole the game from Worcester as he deflected the pass and chased it down to the other end of the gym as time expired. Ndur’s thunderous dunk came just after time expired and did not count, but it erupted the Watkins Field House crowd as the Cushing fans stormed the court to celebrate the team’s 21st win of the season.
The team will wrap-up the regular season schedule this Friday, Feb. 22nd with a 5:00pm tip-off against Brimmer & May School. Prior to the game there will be a short ceremony to honor the team’s six seniors and thank them for their contributions to the team. The seniors being honored include Sean Conway, Avery Heinz, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Ethan Menzies, Kyle Murphy, and Daman Tate.
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Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.