Boys’ basketball finishes season in thrilling game against Stoneham

by E. Charles Quimby

IPSWICH — The varsity boys’ basketball team ended its season on Friday in a close game against the Stoneham Spartans.

The game also paid tribute to the three seniors leaving the team: Nate Pillis, Cole Smith-Rakoff, and Toby Adams.

The student section saw a great turnout, with the section packed with over a hundred supporters coming out to cheer on the team.

“The whole school is very excited for the game,” one of those supporters, Courtney Stevens, said. “I hope that all of us can inspire the team.”

The night started off with sophomore Clara Dos Santos singing the National Anthem and a tribute to the graduating players.

Although Ipswich was coming off from a loss the day before to Manchester-Essex, the Tigers came into the game strong.

With the help of Nick Deleon and Nate Pillis, Ipswich started to rack up points.

Nick Deleon grapples for the ball

The first quarter was tense, with the Spartans and Tigers fighting for the ball. The end of the first quarter saw Ipswich take the lead with a score of 13-9.

The game continued to be a nail-biter in the second quarter with back and forth of scoring.

By halftime, the game was almost at a tie with the score at 28-29.

During halftime, junior Casey Williams said, “I’m confident that they will win, but even if they don’t, I think we will all be proud of the team and the work they’ve done this season.”

Where’s Nate?

The third quarter saw the Spartans toughen up defensively. Despite impressive teamwork and scoring from Max Chesley and Nate Pillis, the quarter ended with a score of 41 – 47, with Stoneham taking the lead.

The fourth quarter saw the Tigers work hard to repel the Spartans from advancing — to little avail.

Stoneham continued to fight, and in spite of Ipswich’s best efforts, the game ended with a score of 56-70.

Despite the Tigers’ loss, supporters were still proud of the team’s hard work. “They tried their hardest,” said student Emily Hounstein. “Even though they didn’t win, it was still fun to watch. Cole played an amazing game, and the team as a whole had a great season.”

ipswich boys basketball 2023
A large group of student supporters turned out to cheer the team on

“I think we played pretty well tonight,” coach Alan Laroche said after the game. “Even though we didn’t win, the team has seen major improvement from the beginning of the season.”

When asked about the team’s future next year, Laroche sounded confident. “I’m very excited for next year, although we have a really positive and upbeat team this season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the new players next year and all the work we can do. I am, however, really going to miss the leadership of our seniors Nate, Toby, and Cole. They inspired their teammates and made it a great group to work with.”


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