Ayer-Shirley Basketball Teams Continue Fast Start to the Season
WINCHENDON – The Ayer-Shirley Regional boys' and girls’ basketball teams are off to a strong start to begin the winter campaign.
The Panthers entered Friday night’s games with the Wildcats of Gardner High a combined 7-3.
The Ayer-Shirley boys and head coach Rick Kilpatrick hit the court Friday with a 4-2 overall record and winners of back-to-back games. The Panthers notched a hard-fought victory over visiting Murdock on January 3 by a 71-46 final score. Prior to that one, A-S earned a thrilling 51-48 triumph over St. Bernard’s on December 29.
Against the Blue Devils, Panther’s sophomore Tommy Bergin recorded a double-double with a career high 21 points and 11 rebounds. Senior teammate Cam Marshall tossed in 13 points and sophomore Zach Iannacone scored 12 points for the winners.
Murdock (3-3 overall) was paced by Cole Patterson’s 17 points.
The host Panthers had to rally after falling behind 10-8 at the end of the first quarter. Ayer-Shirley used a strong second and third quarter to take the lead and make things comfortable on the scoreboard as the panthers outscored the Blue Devils 44-25 over the second and third quarters.
Tuesday’s win for the Panthers came on the heels of an exciting one-possession victory over the Bernardians that saw Marshall and classmate Brian Holmes lead the hosts with 17 points and 14 points respectively. Iannacone chipped in with seven points while Bergin added six points.
As for the Ayer-Shirley girls’ basketball team it entered Friday night with a 3-1 overall record. Just like Kilpatrick’s crew, girls’ head coach Corey Phillips and his squad had also won back-to-back games following a tough loss to host Littleton (73-26) on December 20. A pair of road wins against Murdock (67-10) and St. Bernard’s (46-40).
The Panthers were led by junior Ava Murphy’s 14 points as the road team cruised past Murdock on Jan 3. Ayer-Shirley jumped out to a commanding first half lead and refused to relinquish the lead during the final 16 minutes to secure the triumph.
Nine different players scored for Ayer-Shirley in this one as Murphy had some help offensively from sophomore Maleah Figueroa, who scored nine points. Fellow sophomores Emily Churchill and Lauren Reardon scored nine and eight points respectively.
Shannon Connolly led the Blue Devils (0-4) offensively as she scored all 10 of Murdock’s points.
Against the Bernardians (3-2 overall), Ayer-Shirley built an 18-point lead after three quarters only to watch St. Bernard’s battle back and pull within three points late in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Panthers, they were able to get a couple key stops down the stretch and knock down some key free throws to preserve the win.
Senior Maddie Davis led Ayer-Shirley with 20 points. Junior Tess Arakelian added 11 points and Figueroa scored nine points for the winners.
Freshman Angelys Alvarez led the Bernardians with 16 points.