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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The 2018-2019 season has been an extremely special one for the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School boys varsity basketball team. A year after squeaking into the state tournament with a 10-10 record and falling in the first round to Whitinsville Christian, DS entered the postseason with a chip on their shoulder. On Friday, the No. 6 Raiders (15-5) got their opportunity to exact some revenge upon the No. 3 Crusaders (16-4) in the Division III Central quarterfinals.
Behind a team-high 12 points and 10 rebounds by senior captain/forward John Muckstadt, as well as a dominant collective defensive effort, the Raiders earned a convincing 43-28 victory to advance to the sectional semifinals, the furthest DS has made it in the state tournament since 2004-2005.
“The win was very special for us, since they beat last year in the first round,” said Muckstadt following the win. “It was such a great team win with many different people contributing on both ends of the court. Our basketball program has not gone this far in the tournament since ’04-’05, so it means a lot to our community, too.”
Dover-Sherborn’s tight zone defense was a force to be reckoned with in the first half, holding Whitinsville Christian to just 10 points. Brett Stark knocked down a huge three-pointer late in the second quarter to extend the Raiders lead to 13 points at halftime at 23-10.
The Raiders continued to stonewall the Crusaders in the frontcourt throughout the second half, forcing turnover after turnover as DS extended its lead to as many as 18 at 38-20. Whitinsville made a late push to cut the deficit to 38-28, but a 5-0 run by the Raiders to finish off the contest, including a pair of free throws by Stark, sealed the deal. DS advanced with the 43-28 victory.
At the time of print, the Raiders will travel to WPI on March 5 for their sectional semifinal matchup against Sutton.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.