Boys and Girls Basketball Travel to Mercersburg for MAPL Tournament

Sports  /  by Alex Yang '18  /  February 17, 2017

Courtesy of The Lawrenceville School

This past weekend, the Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams traveled to Mercersburg Academy to take part in the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Prep League Basketball Championships. The tournament featured the six MAPL teams with two rounds of elimination play between the lower seeds, while the top two seeds had a bye. With a record of 10-11, the girls team entered the six-team tournament as the fourth seed, while the boys team held the fifth seed with a record of 14-11. Both the boys and girls teams faced The Hun School in the first elimination round as the the boys team fell to its local rivals in a close 59-52 game. They went on to play Mercersburg in a consolation round, soundly defeating the hosts 77-59. Meanwhile, the girls defeated the Hun Raiders 67-51, earning the chance to play the number one seeded Blair Academy, which eventually eliminated Big Red and claimed first in the tournament.

For the Boys Varsity Basketball team, the match-up against Hun held special importance. After dramatically defeating the Raiders earlier in the season 62-61, Big Red then lost their following meeting 63-70. With this in mind, Co-Captain Isaiah Wingfield ’17 commented, “While we are coached to treat each game equally, there is always some added motivation when Hun is on the other side.” Fellow Co-Captain Ezra Swell ’17 said, “I would not hesitate to call this matchup a rivalry [...]; there is definitely a little bit extra on the line.”

From the tip-off, the captains’ mentality was present on both sides, but Hun held the advantage as Big Red was down 11 points at half-time. However, the boys team managed to cut down the deficit with some important shots in the fourth quarter to tie up the game. In the dying minutes, Hun players hit some key free throws to reclaim the lead and thwart Lawrenceville’s comeback. In the next day’s consolation game, Big Red faced a familiar adversary in Mercersburg, winning 77-59 for its second victory over the hosts this season.

Like the boys team, the Girls Varsity Basketball team entered the MAPL competition with intensity. Facing their opponents from down the road, Big Red handily defeated The Hun School 67-51, winning by 13 more points than they did in their previous meeting. However, their next round opponents would prove to be a tougher challenge.

Seeded number one in this tournament, Blair had reached the previous six MAPL Championships’ Finals. Considering their adversary’s past and present success, Co-Captain Janean Cuffee ’17 said, “We need to be in the mindset that we belong on the floor with them and it will be a game [...]. The biggest problem is fearing a loss against a great team who plays great basketball.”

Yet Blair proved too much for Big Red, defeating Lawrenceville 84-40 en route to claiming the trophy. Nonetheless, Co-Captain Amara Chidom ’17 anticipates a rematch, stating, “If we make it to the [state] finals, we will play Blair again, and I hope we just leave it all out on the court.” Head Coach Antoine Hart echoed this fighting spirit, saying, “We lost to Blair, but the team never quit and never gave up. The team continues to play hard and play with pride as they represent the Lawrenceville School during each competition.”

Aside from the weekend tournament, both the Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams played The Hun School again this past Tuesday. While the girls defeated the Raiders 72-61 - their third victory over Hun this season - the boys fell to their local rivals in another heated matchup. The girls will look to build on these recent victories and defeats to find success in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) tournament.