CHARLESTOWN, Mass. ---- The Massasoit men's basketball team drained 14 3-pointers, seven from Rollsky Edouard, and held off a late Bulldog rally to defeat Bunker Hill in the Region 21 Semifinals, 82-80, on Saturday on the BHCC campus.
With the victory, Massasoit (19-6) advances to the regional finals, where it will face the top seeded Bristol Bayhawks (24-7) on Sunday at 2 PM in Charlestown. The winner will advance to the NJCAA National Tournament hosted by Sullivan County CC (NY).
In addition, Sunday will mark the first time the Warriors have advanced to the finals since the 2010-11 season (as an NJCAA DII team) and be the first trip to the finals as an NJCAA Division III program since making the transition two seasons ago.
The victory avenges three-straight playoff losses against Bunker Hill and snaps a streak of four consecutive road losses to the Bulldogs in Charlestown. The Bulldogs ended Massasoit's season in the region semifinals last season in Brockton and also had knocked the Warriors out of the last two MCCAC State Playoffs.
The Warriors, which led wire-to-wire, controlled the pace for most of the first half, racing out to an early 21-9 lead, as five of the first six baskets for Massasoit came from downtown. At the break, Massasoit was up 47-34 as Edouard buried four of the team's eight first half 3s.
Following intermission, Massasoit's lead would grow to 17 (54-37) at the 17:41 mark, thanks to the sixth 3 from Edouard on the night.
From there Bunker Hill slowly chipped away and pulled within single digits, 68-60, on a three-point play by BHCC's Jamaurie Coakley with 8:09 left.
Massasoit's advantage climbed back up to 10, 80-70, off a trey from Rael Handy with 3:18 remaining. But from there, the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Deven Ferguson-Perez with 22.1 seconds to pull BHCC within a single point, 80-79.
Edouard was then fouled on Massasoit's next possession, where he made 1-of-2. With 12.1 seconds left, the Bulldogs raced down the floor. After missing a shot, Coakley grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with only 1.3 seconds remaining. Trailing 81-79, Coakley missed the first free throw and then while attempting to miss the second on purpose, accidently banked it in, making the score 81-80.
Handy, was fouled, and made a free throw and off a miss of a second attempt, BHCC's desperation heave came up short.
Four different Warriors made at least one three-pointer, as Massasoit finished 14-for-34 from downtown. The 14 3's marked the most by a Warrior team since draining 14 vs UConn-Avery Point back on January 8, 2014, a stretch spanning 111 games.
Edouard finished 7-for-13 downtown as part of his team-high 23 points. He added five rebounds, four assists and four steals to his stat line.
Next in scoring was freshman Bobby Belezos, who went an efficient 7-of-12 from the floor, including a trio of 3s for 19 points and added seven boards.
Point guard Rael Handy netted 17 points, also making a trio of 3s, and dished out six assists for the Warriors.
Defensively, Massasoit tied a season-high with 16 steals.
BHCC was led by Coakley and Dayne Allen, who each scored 18 points in the loss.