Amherst falls 53-46 to Cardinal Carter in semi-finals

By Joel Charron

Following the General Amherst Bulldogs 53-46 semi final loss to the Cardinal Carter Cougars, Mitch Girard did what a true leader does, took the blame.

“I blame myself completely,” said Girard, who sat stone-faced at his locker room stall. “I had to step up and I didn’t do that.”

With rebounding specialist, Matt Duby, out of the lineup because of an illness, Girard said he felt it was up to him to pick up the slack.

Amherst's Mitch Girard spins around a Cardinal Carter defender during third quarter action

In his eyes, he didn’t achieve that.

“Rebounding is the reason we lost,” he said.

After a dreadful quarterfinal performance, the Bulldogs wanted to show their fans that last Monday’s meltdown was just a fluke.

Although in the beginning of the game, all signs pointed to another quarterfinal showing as Amherst trailed 21-10 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Bulldogs came out with something to prove, scoring the first nine points of the quarter. The second quarter serge was led by guards Max Reiner and Mike Mallender, who drained a number of key shots to help the Bulldogs crawl their way back.

Amherst out scored the Cougars 17-6 in the second frame and forced Cardinal Carter into six turnovers, while committing none.

The score remained deadlocked at 27-27 at halftime.

“They picked themselves back up and fought their way back into it,” said head coach Dom Silvaggio.

Amherst kept the intensity up in the second half, keeping the Cougars off the boards and controlling the tempo of the game. Thanks to a 14 point third frame, the Bulldogs lead 41-37 going into the final quarter.

Cardinal Carter used their size advantage and out rebounded the Bulldogs 12-5 in the final frame.

“Their big kid controlled the boards in the fourth quarter,” said Silvaggio.

Amherst also went cold the final four minutes, not scoring a single point during that stretch.

“Not scoring in the final four minutes really hurt us,” said Reiner, who finished with 11 points. “We just had trouble closing out the game, that’s all.”

Jeff Masson buries his head into a towel in the dying seconds of the Bulldogs 53-46 semi-final loss to Cardinal Carter.

Dom Silvaggio and assistant coach Stephen Silvaggio said they were very pleased with their effort against Cardinal Carter, saying if the season would have ended against Kennedy, it would have ended the season on a sour note.

However there is a silver lining in this loss, Amherst has the majority of the team returning next year, including all five starters, but Girard said the team is going to have to put in some hard work over the off season if they want to get over the championship hump.

“I’m really excited for next year,” said Girard. “We all have to work on our shots. Teams know they can stop our inside game by playing zone. If we work hard and come together, we can be really good next year.”

Mallender finished with 14 points and Girard with 13 points.

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