MANCHESTER— In every sense of the word, the Manchester Essex boys basketball team survived Amesbury at home Tuesday night.
The Hornets jumped out to a 15 point lead at the half shooting 60% from the field in the process and appeared to be running away with a victory.
But the Hornets followed that up by shooting just 16% from the field in the second half leading to just 12 points over the final two quarters letting Amesbury back into the game in the fourth quarter.
But thanks to a clutch basket from Dylan Estes and two free throws from Max Nesbit in the final minute, the Hornets came away with a 52-49 win improving to 9-7 on the season and needing just one win in their final four games to get back to the state tournament.
“That’s a perfect way to put it, we survived,” Manchester Essex head coach Bryan Shields said. “I think this shows how far we have come as a team. Sure we didn’t shoot the ball well in the second half but at the end with the game on the line we made plays when we needed to. Early in the season that same game may have ended up being a tough loss for us.”
With one minute to play in regulation Amesbury finally erased a deficit that was as big as 17 points (35-18) when Kyle Arseneau (team high 14 points) drained a jump shot to give the Indians their first lead of the game at 49-48.
They would stop the Hornets on their next possession only to turn the ball over back to Manchester Essex. After a timeout senior Estes hit what turned out to be the game winning layup on a perfect pass from Taylor Ketchum in the post. Nesbit stole the ball on the Indians next possession, was fouled, and hit both free throws to make it 52-49.