, Gloucester, MA

September 1, 2009

Crow's Nest captures YMCA 18-plus basketball championship

By Richard Slate

GLOUCESTER - The years go by but one constant remains in the Cape Ann YMCA 18-plus men's basketball league: when the summer is ending, odds are that the Crow's Nest and Flynn's Physical Therapy are playing in the finals. At that point, anything can happen.

The two teams renewed their storied rivalry last night and this time the Crow's Nest came out decidedly on top, 89-69, to take the championship.

It was sweet revenge for the Crow's Nest after Flynn's clinched last year's title on a buzzer beating 3-pointer by guard Ryan Flynn in game 3 (after they had won Game 2 as well). Over the last four years, the two powerhouse teams have combined to win every title, alternating back and forth each season.

Crow's Nest guard Marcos Echevarria scored a game-high 25 points, a far cry from his tough shooting performance in the semifinals the night before.

"Last night, we shot awful, especially me. I was 1-for-15. I wanted to come back and make a statement tonight."

From the get-go, Crow's Nest had a slight numbers advantage as Flynn's only had five players available.

Zach Zegarowski (19 points), former UMass-Amherst star Anthony Anderson (16 points) and Rob Breckenridge (16 points) gave Crow's Nest a more balanced scoring attack throughout the contest.

Former Endicott star Josh Oxton led Flynn's with a team-high 24 points while former Keene State standout Dave Stantial scored 20 points in the loss. Ryan Flynn added 17 points.

It was never much of a game as the Crow's Nest jumped out to a double-digit lead almost immediately. Lights out shooting by Crow's Nest gave them a 38-20 lead in the first half.

There are two twenty minute halves in the league and running time, except when guys are at the free-throw line.

Two straight 3-pointers by Flynn cut it to 47-37 but the Crow's Nest scored two baskets right before halftime to give them a comfortable 51-37 advantage.

The lack of substitutes caught up with Flynn's even more in the second half as Bob Shatford (6 points) received a nasty gash over his eye. After getting bandaged up, he continued to play since his team didn't want to forfeit in the title game.

The lead ballooned to as much as 23-points in the second half as the Crow's Nest continued to convert on most of its possessions. About the only thing that didn't go right was when Breckinridge's put-back slam (after Echaverria bounced it off the glass), rimmed out.

Gregg Sousa, the owner of the Crow's Nest and a long-time player for the team was happy to see his squad bounce back after last year's tough ending.

"That was a killer loss," he admitted. "They've got good players, Stantial is the best scorer in the league but due to Mike Oliver (7 points), he didn't have his normal huge game. Mike is the one guy in the league that seems to bother him on defense."

If there was an MVP award for last night, Echevarria would have received it although he deflected much of the credit to his talented teammates.

"Anthony went overseas last year (to play basketball) and Peter Gray (who didn't play last night) broke his hand. Having Anthony back all summer and Zach, we had a bunch of great players."