Road To The Tournament


Peter Pappas, Writer

“Head coach Alan Laroche believes that his Ipswich Tigers’ ability to reach their potential depends, in large part, on the continued development of team chemistry” wrote William Sheehan, writer for the Ipswich Chronicle, at the beginning of an extraordinarily terrific turnaround season by the Ipswich Boys Basketball team of 2015-2016. Team chemistry is where it all begins. If you don’t have chemistry on a basketball court, you’re playing one on one basketball, which is the total opposite of how to actually play the game. Chemistry came in handy for the boys this year considering they were the first Ipswich team to make it to the tournament since the 2007 team led by alumni such as Steve Phaneuf and Justin Woodworth.

On December 11, 2015, the Ipswich Boys Basketball team traveled to Gloucester and beat them 57-50 to start off the season 1-0. Ipswich went into that game as the underdogs, considering that Gloucester is a whole division ahead. This was the start of a whole new chapter for Ipswich. After this much needed victory, the Tigers fell in a bit of a slump, only winning two games of their next nine. All of the losses were within five points, with an exception of their game at North Reading. The Tigers knew exactly what they needed to do. They had to play like they did in the first game of the season vs Gloucester. They needed to start finishing games as a team rather than playing selfishly. That came easy for the boys because all seven of the seniors have been playing with each other since the first grade.

In order to make the MIAA tournament, the boys needed to end their record being .500 or above meaning they were going to have to win seven of their next ten games, which in any sport is not easy. Their first game of the last ten was vs Triton which was not going to be an easy task, but they ended up pulling it off by a landslide. This was the start of the so called “Road to the Garden” meaning they were going to chase their dreams of making it to the TD Garden. They knew before the Garden run, they had to make the tournament first and that consisted of winning six of their last nine games. They won the next four out of the six they played. Three games were left and they had to win two if they wanted to start something new and accomplish something Ipswich hasn’t seen in awhile.

The first of the three was Amesbury and it wasn’t going to be easy as they lost to them earlier in the year. Well, they went to Amesbury and lost. With two games left and two wins to go, most would have thought their season was done and it was just another typical Ipswich team that would not make the playoffs. Their next game was vs Georgetown, who they slaughtered earlier in the year, but the Tigers knew that they couldn’t go into any game too cocky. They ended up beating Georgetown and had one big game left, the deciding factor if Ipswich was going to make the state tournament for the first time in nine years. It was Gloucester… Gloucester was the first game and it could have been the last.

Gloucester had improved since the first game, so they knew this wouldn’t be an easy win. The Tigers were going to have to play like their motto, which was “Carpe Diem”, honoring Doug Woodworth (former coach, Ipswich icon) who had past away two months before in December. This was Doug’s favorite motto and it’s exactly how he would have wanted us to play every game, but the last game was special, especially for the seniors. “Take every day as it’s our last day,” said senior captain Jake Long. Well this motto was most certainly going to apply in this game because it was win or go home. The game came down to the last wire, but the Tigers pulled off a victory winning 52-50. The Tigers had finally changed Ipswich and ruined the losing streak. “It was a great way for the seniors to go out; I’m going to really miss them” said Coach Alan Laroche.