The Duxbury High boys’ basketball team may only be 11-9, but Stoughton coach John Gallivan said the Dragons are “probably the hottest team in Division 2 South right now,” having won six of seven, including a 68-55 win over Oliver Ames in the regular season finale.
The (16-4), the #4 seed in the , will host Duxbury, the #13 seed, Tuesday at 7 p.m. at .
It’s a game that will feature Stoughton’s speed going up against Duxbury’s height—four of the five players in Duxbury’s starting five are 6’3 or 6’4. Stoughton’s tallest player, Antonio Ferreira, is 6’3.
Gallivan said he expects to face a well-coached, well-disciplined team. Once ravaged by injuries, Duxbury, by all accounts, is healthy heading into the postseason.
Happy at Home
Stoughton is 6-1 playing at SHS this season, while Duxbury is 5-6 on the road.
After starting the season 5-8, Duxbury has won six of their last seven.
After starting the season 13-1, Stoughton finished 3-3, but all three loses came on the road (or on neutral sites) to tournament teams—Oliver Ames, Franklin and Needham.
Players to watch for Stoughton
is an explosive scorer. He joined Stoughton's 1,000-point club as a junior. Calixte can also pass and rebound. Classmate Marcus Middleton is a lockdown defender, often drawing the assignment of guarding the other team’s best player. He can score in bunches on the other end of the floor as well. Together, Calixte and Middleton form one of the top (if not the top) backcourts in Division 2 South.
Mauro Oliveira and Joe Bunce-Grenon provide athleticism and depth. Sophomore Mike Gallagher has also seen his minutes increase.
But against a team like Duxbury, Gallivan said his “big guys have to step up and play bigger than they are.”
“They definitely have the capability of doing that,” Gallivan said.
Ferreira can block shots and jump like he’s 6’6, Gallivan said. Raymond Bowdre can rebound and is a scoring threat in the paint. Gallivan is counting on sophomore Joey Wilder to contribute at forward as well.
Will he or won’t he?
Gallivan was mum on the status of Steffan Jackson, out of action since leaving with an injury against . Jackson’s return to the lineup would be key for Stoughton. Jackson can hit the outside shot and can rebound. His athleticism and ability to jump would be an asset in going up against a taller Duxbury team.
Duxbury Players to Watch
Curtis Owen, Sean Geary, Gordan Acha and the Marino brothers, twins Jason and Justin.
Key to Success for Stoughton
“I think it’s important in the tournament to get out to a fast start,” Gallivan said. “Everybody’s nervous. They’ll tell you that they’re not [but] coaches are nervous, players are nervous, fans are nervous because it’s single elimination. No one wants their season to end. I think you have to recognize that it is a big game, but as soon as possible set aside the extra adrenaline and jitters and just play a normal game.”
What lies ahead
The winner of the Stoughton/Duxbury game plays the winner of the #5 Medfield/#12 Norwood game in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m. Stoughton could potentially face #9 Oliver Ames or top-seeded Falmouth in a semifinal matchup, if the Black Knights advance.
On the other side of the bracket, keep an eye on and #6 Hopkinton.
Gallivan said it is paramount for any team who wins its first-round matchup to have the “ability to come back to Earth after being sky high after a win.” The time between first and second round games is less than 48 hours.
Division 2 South Sectional Bracket
The Division 2 South Sectional tournament bracket is posted in the media gallery and is available by clicking on the link below:
“Every game has a life of its own, has its own story…and it doesn’t always play itself out the way we think it’s going to,” Gallivan said. “You have to find a way to win and I don’t care if it’s 39-38 or 79-78, but I think I’d rather it 79-78.”