In the days immediately following the MIAA’s unveiling of its sectional state tournament brackets, it’s not uncommon for coaches to scramble for any available information about his or her team’s upcoming opponent.
Through the regular season, most opposing teams are familiar — conference foes and regular non-league rivals.
But come tourney time, that all gets thrown out the window as teams from all conferences north of Boston are thrown into the same pool, often resulting in games against unfamiliar teams.
While that’s so often the case, Manchester Essex boys basketball coach Bryan Shields is faced with a different task as his Hornets prepare for the upcoming Division 4 North tournament.
The Hornets know their opponent all too well. Now, they’ve just got to figure out how to beat them.
Manchester Essex’s 13-7 regular season earned it the No. 5 seed in Division 4 North. Awaiting them in the 4/5 game in the quarterfinals on Wednesday is Cape Ann League Small rival Lynnfield (7:00 p.m., Lynnfield High School), a team that the Hornets finished second to in the conference standings and lost both contests against during the regular season.
“I know that they’re one of the better teams in the Division 4 bracket,” Shields said. “I think they’re a solid team through and through, but I think that we’re at a little bit of an advantage because we’ve seen them twice, and even through we’ve lost to them twice, I think it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row, so I think we might have an edge there. We know what they like to do and what we need to do to stop them.
“I think it’s definitely an interesting pairing and an interesting draw from a coaching standpoint. It may be a little bit easier because you’ve seen what they do, you have their games against you on film. We’re just excited for another opportunity against them.”