It was clear Friday night at the Nixon Gymnasium that to beat the Tigers boys' basketball team, you need to play your best game for all four quarters.
Despite dominating the boards and leading the Tigers, 19-8 after the first quarter, the cross-town Hawks saw their chances of winning slip away in the second and third quarters - eventually losing to OA, 75-50.
"There were a lot of mental mistakes and just turning the ball over – careless turnovers – coming out and forcing shots and not picking our spots," said Southeastern head coach Dean Duquette, whose Hawks dropped to 1-2 on the year.
Led by senior tri-captain Nick Bruha's 17 points and senior center Nick Babbit's production on the boards and 18 points, the Tigers (3-0, 2-0 Hockomock League) came roaring back and fixed their early mistakes.
The Tigers outscored Southeastern 57-10 in the second and third quarters.
"We played to their strengths in the first period," OA head coach Don Byron said. "We didn’t do a good job of containing the dribblers. We didn’t really push out on [Southeastern senior guard Andrew] Pettiford. We didn’t do those things and we didn’t really handle the glass the way we should. Those were kind of the three points of emphasis in the prior days."
Even though OA was able to dominate after the first period, the Tigers had a difficult time stopping Pettiford throughout the game. The senior guard led all scorers with 23 points, including six three-pointers.
Although Pettiford is a senior, it is only his second year with the Hawks.
"He’s got a beautiful shot and he’s an incredible, incredible person – probably one of the best I’ve ever met as far as a citizen," Duquette said. "He’s an awesome leader."
The Tigers had a more well-rounded attack, however. In addition to Bruha and Babbit, junior tri-captain Andrew Reardon finished the game with 11 points and sophomore Nick Cidado finished with 14 points.
Despite being young, Byron says the sophomore will be a major asset to the Tigers moving forward.
"He’s a good kid – talented kid – only a sophomore," he said. "He’s going to be good sooner rather than later and he’s already helping right now."
The Tigers move on to play 1-2 Dartmouth Tuesday night at the Nixon Gymnasium. Byron said the Indians pose a formidable threat. Despite a losing record, the Old Colony Conference school's only two losses were to Brockton and New Bedford.
3-0 Oliver Ames will look to defend its undefeated record.
"It’s nice to be 3-0 but we’re still not even close to where we need to be," Byron said.