After an eight-day layoff, the Sharon High boys basketball team looks to carry the success of the final six games of the regular season into Thursday night’s playoff opener versus Silver Lake.
The Eagles (13-7), the #12-seed in the Eastern Mass. Div. II South playoffs, will travel to Kingston to face the #5-seed Lakers (15-7) in the first round of the single-elimination postseason.
Sharon senior captain Kevin Bartas said, “It brings a lot of pressure to the team, but I really think we’re up for the challenge, and we’re ready to go.”
The Eagles closed the regular season with a 70-44 victory over Canton on Feb. 20. Between then and Thursday, Sharon will have went eight days without a game, the longest such stretch of the season.
“I don’t think it’ll be an issue,” Bartas said. “We’ve had long layoffs like this before, especially during winter break, and it didn’t really affect us; that’s when we started to go on our run. I think we’ll be fine.”
Bartas says that the Eagles’ mindset over the past week-plus has been solely on preparing for making a deep playoff run.
“Practice has been great. We’ve come to work every day at practice - 15 guys going hard for an hour-and-a-half, and we’re just all focus, all concentration, going into this game,” Bartas said.
Sharon missed out on the postseason last year, which leaves Bartas and junior point guard Brian Mukasa as the lone Eagles with who have competed in varsity basketball playoff games.
Bartas says that the members of the squad who were a part of Sharon football’s Super Bowl championship are battle-tested in win-or-go-home situations, and the rest of the hoops team can carry experience gained during big games throughout the regular season into Thursday.
“A lot of these guys are just big-time basketball players. They’re just ready to go in game-time situations,” Bartas said. “We’ve played in many big games – both OA games, the Milford game – all those games were huge.
“They weren’t one-and-done, but they were very close. We win big games, we have all year long. I think everyone is going to step up and play their role,” Bartas added.
Thursday’s contest will be a rematch of the championship game of the Bridgewater-Raynham Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29, when Sharon downed Silver Lake, 71-59.
“We played them fifth game of the year, so both teams will be very different,” Bartas said. “I know they’re going to want some revenge, and we really want this game, so it’s going to be a tight matchup. I think we’re ready to step up.”