Adjustments Lead to Sweet Results for ME Boys Basketball 


The Manchester Essex basketball team—a squad that has lost all of one game this season—was down by two at the end of the first quarter in their tournament game against Frontier Regional.  

Other teams may have panicked in the situation, wondering about how to respond down early to a foe they had never faced in team history.  The 2023-24 version of the Hornets are not just any other team, however, and they did pretty much what they have done all season long: adjust and respond.

“Throughout the entire season, we have a saying: ‘Don’t worry about the first quarter,’” explains Manchester Essex coach Tim St. Laurent.  “We can tighten the screws after that.”

The coach adds: “We need to get through the first quarter and adjust -- especially if it’s a team we haven’t seen before.”

The Hornets did just that, making adjustments in the second quarter that resulted in Manchester Essex holding a 12-point lead over Frontier Regional at the half, and building that lead to 25 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach by the final stanza.  The result was a 75-48 win and the opportunity to advance to the Sweet 16 of the MIAA Div. 4 Tournament, where the Hornets were slated to face 12-seed Tyngsborough on March 5 (6 p.m. at MERHS).

Tyngsborough is another opponent that Manchester Essex has not seen before, and is coming into the matchup fully healthy after completing a 12-win season.

“Their best player, they’ve been injured, so they haven’t had a full squad all year,” explains St. Laurent.  “They are better than their record indicates: They’ve got a very quick, very good point guard, a lanky, good 6-2/6-3 shooting guard.  They’ve always got five guys on the floor playing really hard and they’re a strong defensive team.”

To win and move on to the Elite 8, the Hornets have got to continue do the things that got them to this point to begin with.

“We’ve got to play strong team defense and get out in transition,” says the coach.  “It’s going to be a battle.”

It also wouldn’t hurt to continue to get next-level performances from their top players, something that happened in the win over Frontier Regional. Offensive stars Cade Furse scored 28 points and big man Eddie Chareas recorded a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

“They did what they were supposed to do in a big game,” St. Laurent says of his stars.  “We need
them to play like that if we’re going to have postseason success.”

The team will also need to get key buckets from Preston Potter, Jake Zschau and John Chareas (four big threes in the Frontier game), and for defensive
specialists Zach Hurd and Milo Zeltzer to continue to clamp down on the opposition’s top scorer.

“[Frontier Regional’s] best player had 10 points in the first quarter, and then they held him to three points the rest of the game,” explains St. Laurent.