(Dec. 21, 2018) Trailing going into the fourth quarter, the Worcester Prep boys’ basketball team battled back to win 36-32 over the Holly Grove Eagles on Monday in Berlin.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Prep Coach John Moeser said.

“The first half, we ran our offense the best we have all year, [but] we just couldn’t make our shots. The first half, they were outrebounding us,” he continued. “The second half, we did a much better job rebounding and we started making our shots.”

Worcester took an early 5-0 lead in the opening quarter. Holly Grove tied it up, but Prep senior Michael Curtis hit a three-point shot to give the Mallards an 8-5 advantage. At end of the first quarter, the Berlin squad was on top 8-7.

Curtis provided Worcester with a 12-7 lead at the beginning of the second quarter, but Holly Grove chipped away at the home team’s advantage and, at halftime, the visitors were ahead 19-15.

Moeser said during halftime he talked with his team about making more of an effort to block their opponent out and rebound the ball.

At the end of the third quarter, Holly Grove led 30-23.

Curtis brought Worcester to within one (30-29) with a three pointer two minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Mallards regained the lead (33-31) when senior captain Colin Miller netted a three with four minutes on the clock.

With about two minutes remaining in the game, Prep junior Ryan Cronin, playing tight defense, took an offensive charge and Worcester was awarded possession of the ball as the team led 33-32.

“Ryan Cronin took an offensive charge at a crucial time in the game,” Moeser said. “It was a big defensive play. It gave us energy.”

The Mallards scored four in the final minutes to secure the victory.

Curtis led Worcester with 14 points. Sophomore Mason Brown chipped in with seven points.

“At halftime, we talked about continuing to take good shots. They finally started going in [the basket] in the second half,” Moeser said. “Our defense was stellar throughout the game. We held them to two points in the fourth quarter and they were both free throws.”

Moeser said the team has picked up some momentum, unfortunately, the Mallards are now headed into the holiday break.

“There’s still some growing pains, but we’re getting there,” Moeser said. “Each game we’re getting better.”

The team will have a few practices during the break, and on Saturday, Dec. 29, the players will compete in a game against their dads and alumni. The match is slated to start at noon.

Worcester’s next regular-season game is Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1:30 p.m. against the Salisbury School Dragons in Salisbury.

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