(March 1, 2013) The Worcester Prep boys’ basketball team last Friday captured its first Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship title since 2007, but the Delmarva Christian Royals didn’t make it easy.
Junior Ryan Nally kicked off the game with a three-pointer, and by the end of the first quarter, Worcester had a 16-12 lead.
Delmarva chipped away at the home team’s advantage and midway into the second quarter, had tied the score at 22. The Royals then went on a 7-0 run to pull ahead 29-22 with 1:16 to play before the halftime break.
Senior Zander Farr and Nally scored in the final seconds of the half. Heading into the locker room, the Mallards trailed 29-26.
Points were traded in the third quarter. At the 4:28 mark, Farr was fouled and sank his free throws to give Worcester a 33-32 lead. Seconds later, Delmarva Christian scored, but junior Matt Reilly answered with a lay-up.
The Royals tied the game at 35 with 2:43 remaining in the quarter, but the Mallards outscored their opponent 8-3 in the final minutes to regain the lead, 43-38.
Farr gave the Mallards a nine-point advantage (49-42) with about five minutes on the clock, but the Royals would not quit. With 2:15 remaining, they had fought back to within two points, 51-49. Worcester held off Delmarva Christian’s charge and won the game 58-51.
“We out-rebounded them. That’s where we won. We got so many second-chance points,” said Prep Coach Keith Geiger. “We rebounded and played defense really well.”
Farr led the Mallards with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Nally chipped in with 14 points and Reilly scored 15. Geiger said senior Scott Gee played his best game of the season; he scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Following the game, captains Harrison Brennan and Conor Nally accepted team trophies — one for winning the tournament and a second for ranking No. 1 in the conference at the end of regular-season competition.
“I’m kind of shocked right now, I guess,” Brennan said. “It feels great. In the beginning of the year, I said we were thirsty and this entire week [before the game] we were really excited.”
He summed up his four-year high school basketball career as “outstanding.”
“I’m proud to say I played basketball at Worcester,” Brennan said.
Brennan and Ryan Nally were awarded All-ESIAC First Team honors. Farr and Reilly received Second Team accolades.
In his first season at the helm, Geiger was named ESIAC Co-Coach of the Year with Salisbury School’s coach.
The Mallards finished the season 17-3.
“I definitely thought we could win the championship after we played everybody in the conference once. I thought we were the best team in league, but it’s hard to be the best team because everybody’s gunning for you,” Geiger said. “They played up to their potential. Aside from an undefeated season, I don’t know what you could ask for. We had four guys in the top eight of whole conference, we won the tournament championship, we won the ESIAC championship and we only lost three games all year.”
Five seniors — Brennan, Farr, Gee, C. Nally and Josh Moyer — will graduate in May, but Geiger is confident that returning players, especially R. Nally and Reilly, will step up next year.
“Ryan and Matt, those two are good to build on. Those guys alone I feel pretty confident against most teams,” Geiger said.