HAMILTON-WENHAM On February 25th the Swampscott boys varsity basketball team played Hamilton Wenham in the first game of the MIAA tournament, with Hamilton Wenham coming out on top with a score of 59-57, eliminating them from the tournament.
Swampscott’s starting lineup was Justin Ratner (point guard), Andrew Augustin (small forward), Liam Hamilton (center), Jake Cooke (shooting guard), and Jason Aucone (power forward) who started in place of the usual Oscar Hale (power forward).
Former basketball player and current Swampscott senior, Emme Laundry, comments on the game, as she was there spectating, “It was a very hard fought game, and the crowd’s high energy helped the team.” When asked about the final moments of the game, Emme commented that “The last 30 seconds were nerve wracking, but I do think it was a good game for the team to end their season on.”
Swampscott coaches, Brandon Lewis, and Temi Bailey give insight on the game. Lewis states how the team’s practices were leading up to this game. “Practice was focused as usual, and was specific to trying to stop Hamilton Wenham. The boys knew what was on the line, and we had a lot of seniors who didn’t want the season to end.” Lewis also shares that he could not have been prouder of the team. Coach Lewis’ strategy for the last 30 seconds of the game was to protect the ball, stop fouling, and get the ball to Augustin. He ends his interview by saying, “The boys grew a lot. They took the punch and instead of crippling from it, and they threw their own.” Bailey informs us that he was not worried at first. Temi also states, “they grew a lot as a team… no regrets from me.” When asked how Temi kept his team motivated, he says “I told them to keep their heads up, stay composed, not to argue like they usually do… and fight for each other.” Temi ends the interview by letting us know “this was the best season in the past 10 years!”
Senior captains Justin Ratner and Anthony Rakauskas share information on the game. Ratner starts off his interview by sharing “As a captain, in what was and at the time could’ve been our last game, I needed to keep heads high and positive energy.” We asked Justin how he felt the game went for him, he expressed “I hope it was one of my better games because it was my last. I play with the mentality where I like to leave it all on the floor and have no regrets coming off, and I felt I ended my basketball career in doing that.” Justin was thankful to be a part and captain of the team, and all of his coaches were incredible role models to him and his fellow players in, and out of basketball. Rakauskas suffered an injury in the middle of the season, when asked how that affected him, he said “As a captain I thought that I should be a leader not only on the court, but on the bench as well.” Anthony states he helped keep his team motivated by chanting a defensive chant every single possession that went like this: “defense! (clap) (clap) defense! (clap) (clap).” Anthony finishes his interview by saying “I think my attitude and leadership that I bring to the bench is like a spark plug.”