CASTINE, Me. - For the second straight year the Lesley Lynx upset a #2 seed and danced their way into the North Atlantic Conference Semifinals. The Lynx came in to the NAC tournament as the #3 seed in the West and they advanced by beating the #2 seed in the West, The Maine Maritime Academy, 75-71.
Joe Chatman (Boston, Mass.) led a full team effort as the junior point-guard went for 15 points. Malcolm Andrews (Medford, Mass.), James Parker (Sandwich, Mass.), Stanley Chamblain (Everett, Mass.), Michael Lush (Chelsea, Mass.) and Mark Stevens (Las Vegas, Nev.) went for 13, 10, 9, 8 and 8 points respectively. John Micelin (Everett, Mass.) led the team in rebounds and steals with six and four.
The Mariners were led by Derek DiFrederico (Millinocket, Me.) who had a game-high 27 points. Brandon Hall (Dover-Foxcroft, Me.) and Marc McCorrison (Knox, Me.) added 15 and 14 points respectively. Hall also chipped in with 11 rebounds to complete the double-double for the big fellow.
Lesley had a five point halftime lead, 33-28, but Maritime quickly erased that deficit early in the second half. Just 71 seconds into the second half Hall hit a free-throw to complete a three-point play, and to bring the Lesley lead down to just one, 33-32. Lesley would start to pull away again as Stevens drilled a three with 16:09 remaining in the game to put Lesley up seven points. However, the Mariners would refuse to let Lesley break the game open and would tie the game just six minutes later as DiFrederico hit one of his three three-pointers.
The cat and mouse game would continue as Lesley kept trying to extend the lead and Maritime kept closing the gap. With 3:47 remaining in the game the score was tied at 57 a piece. Following an Andrews' lay-up, DiFrederico would sink another three to give the Mariners their first lead in almost 10 minutes. With the momentum shifting heavily in favor of the home team Parker buried a three to silence the Mariner's faithful and to put Lesley back up two, with 2:56 to play.
Following the Parker three Chamblain came up with a huge steal,
and then put the Lynx up four, following two free-throws. The
Mariners were unable to respond on their next possession and
Andrews converted a three-point play with 2:06 remaining to put
Lesley up seven.
Lesley seemed to have the game completely in hand until DiFrederico sunk three consecutive free-throws with 26 seconds left to bring the Mariners to within five. Coach Willard drew up an absolutely brilliant play to put the proverbial nail in the coffin and advance the Lynx to the semis. Parker faked the inbounds to Chatman, who is currently ranked #1 in free-throw shooting in Division III basketball, Chatman then set a double screen on both his man and Andrews' man. Andrews used the Chatman screen and broke for the Lynx basket, and Parker threw a full court pass to Andrews who slammed the ball with authority ending any chance for a Maritime comeback.
The win moves Lesley to the 14-12 mark on the year which sets the school record for most wins in a season. The win also advances the Lynx to the NAC Championships which will be hosted by Husson College on Friday and Saturday February 23rd and 24th. The Lynx will play tournament host and overall #1 seed Husson in the first semifinal game on Friday, February 23rd at 6:00 pm. For more information on the Lesley men's basketball team please go to their website.