ACTON, Mass. -- It’s easy to take a first glance at the Lincoln-Sudbury boys' basketball team and assume its success revolves around 7-foot senior center John Swords.
But as Dual County League rival Acton-Boxborough found out in Tuesday night’s 71-56 loss to the hot-shooting Warriors, there are plenty more reasons why this team has a chance to make a deep tournament run, even in a loaded Division 1 North.
Senior point guard Denny Cakert poured in 26 points, 15 of which came in a crucial stretch in the second and third quarters that pushed his team’s lead to 23 points, stunning the vocal Colonial supporters. As a team, the Warriors were simply on fire, making 55 percent of their shots from the floor, 45 from beyond the arc, and 83 from the charity stripe.
“That’s probably (Cakert’s) best game of the year,” said L-S head coach Patrick Callahan, whose team improved to 14-3 overall, 10-2 in the DCL. “He is, in my opinion, one of the best point guards in the state. But tonight, not only did he lead us on the floor, making sure everyone was doing the right thing, he had the ball probably 75 percent of the time. And 26 points and (six) assists is pretty intense.”
“It was really a great team win,” Cakert said. “Everyone was fired up and everyone was just doing their jobs.”
Conversely, A-B (15-2 overall, 13-1 in the DCL), typically one of the best shooting teams in Eastern Massachusetts, made just 29 percent of its field goals and 22 percent of its 3-pointers. Senior sharpshooter Sam Longwell finished with 26 points for the hosts, but they all came with L-S junior Ben Lawhorn draped all over his jersey, pestering him every time he sized up the rim.
“Longwell is a tremendous shooter and our junior forward Ben Lawhorn has been our lockdown defender all year,” Cakert said. “He brings just incredible intensity to every practice, every game, and he was in (Longwell’s) face. A couple times I tried to say I wanted to cover him but he denied me. He was really excited about covering him.”
L-S broke open a close game with a dominant second quarter, as the visitors made 9-of-13 shots from the field and extended a two-point lead at the end of the first to a 35-19 lead by the break. Cakert scored his team’s first eight points of the quarter. Mitch Perez (11 points) and Mario Payne added a pair of triples to extend the lead to 12, and Cakert hit a put-back and 3-pointer before Swords (13 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) dropped in a layup to close out the half.
Other than Longwell, who had nine points at the break, no one on A-B had more than two points.
“They did a lot of things tonight that they didn’t do when we played them three weeks ago (an A-B win) defensively and I think it caught us off-guard,” Colonials coach Rick Kilpatrick said. “And, again, I need to make sure we’re not caught off-guard by that.
“To beat them -- and this is what we did the first time -- you have to shoot it well from outside. You can try a hundred different things, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to make jump shots unfortunately. And tonight we didn’t shoot it well from outside.”
The Warriors kept the momentum of the second quarter going in the third, as Cakert, Dominic Douglas (10 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Swords sparked a 7-0 run that made it 42-19. A-B was able to rally in spurts after that, but L-S made 15-of-18 free throws in the fourth quarter to effectively lock down the win.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been,” Cakert said. “This is an incredible feeling. I’ve never been this happy. I’ve never beaten A-B at their place. So it’s a big win.”