Shepherd Hill wins fourth Clark championship
By Shaun Moriarty
Citizen Chronicle Writer
WORCESTER — For the fourth time in school history, the Shepherd Hill Rams are the large school champions of the Clark Invitational Tournament.
The Rams went on a second-half tear as they defeated the sixth-seeded Westboro Rangers, 73-52, at the Kneller Athletic Center on Saturday night.
The game was fast-paced throughout the first half, with the lead changing hands several times, though Shepherd Hill went into the locker room at halftime on a 4-0 run to take a 31-27 lead. The Rams wouldn’t look back from there, going on a dominating 31-6 run to develop a 26-point lead at one point. Shepherd Hill had a few large runs, including an early 11-0 run and a late 16-0 run. Conversely, the Rangers went on a lengthy scoring drought, failing to so much as convert on free throw opportunities.
The finals loss is the second consecutive for Westborough, who fell to the Bartlett Indians last year. On that Bartlett team was Cody Adams, who has swapped in the green and white Indians uniform for a maroon and gold Shepherd Hill jersey. Adams and teammate Jason O’Regan scored led the way with 21 points each while Kenny Flynn chipped in with 17 points. Westborough’s Doherty Brothers — Matt and Michael — were the bulk of the Rangers offense, combining to score 32 points.
Shepherd Hill now has a 4-1 all-time record in the Clark Tournament finals, previously claiming the championship in 1975, 1976, and 2015. The Rangers have won nine Clark Tournament championships and had previously appeared in the finals 17 times. Westborough won the very first Clark Tournament title in 1939 and has gone on to win the championship in 1966, 1967, 1985, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2005, and 2007.
Both teams will be back on the court soon as the district tournament kicks off in a matter of days. Shepherd Hill drew the second seed in the tournament and will play at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. against either the Groton-Dunstable Patriots or Burncoat Patriots. Groton-Dunstable will host Burncoat on Monday night in the preliminary round of the district tournament. Westboro, the sixth seed, will be on the road Thursday night, taking on the third-seeded Grafton Indians. Shepherd Hill and Westboro could possibly have a re-match in the district semi-finals on March 6 if both teams pick up a win next time out.