WORCESTER — The Shepherd Hill Rams trailed by 18 at halftime, but managed to rebound and pull off a stunning comeback to win the Division 2 District Tournament title game.
The second-seeded Rams upset the top-seeded Marlborough Panthers, 53-47, in the championship matchup at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Harrington Auditorium on Saturday night.
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead on the back of Chris Doherty, and held a 19-9 lead through the first quarter. Marlborough continued to dominate through the first half, doubling up on the Rams with a 36-18 lead at halftime. The second half would prove to be a different story.
Shepherd Hill worked to chip away at their deficit, pressing the Marlborough offense and forcing numerous turnovers to get back into the game. As the fourth quarter wore on, the Rams climbed back into the game and took the lead within the final two minutes of the contest. With under one minute to go in the game, Shepherd Hill had managed to build a four-point lead as timeouts were called to allow crucial adjustments to be made. The Rams did not buckle in the closing moments of the game, securing the win after outscoring the Panthers 35-11 in the second half.
Shepherd Hill, who won the Clark Tournament championship last month, earned a first-round bye for the district tournament. The Rams opened district play on March 1 with a 61-51 victory over the seventh-seeded Groton-Dunstable Crusaders. Advancing to the semifinals, Shepherd Hill took on the sixth-seeded Westborough Rangers in a Clark Tournament title rematch. The Rangers were unable to exact revenge, falling 76-58, securing a finals berth for the Rams.
Marlborough’s path, as the top overall seed, started with a March 1 home victory over the ninth-seeded Medway Mustangs, 62-44. The Panthers then clipped the wings of the fifth-seeded Milford Hawks in a 67-41 win.