AMHERST -- On Thursday night it seemed as if the fourth-seeded North Middlesex Patriots had all of the comforts of home with them in the Curry Hicks Cage -- but in the end, a win simply was not in the cards.
Longmeadow 54, North Middlesex 31
A sizzling second half from top-seeded Longmeadow sent the Patriots reeling in a 54-31 Division 2 Western Mass. semifinal loss at UMass Amherst.
"We gained momentum at the end of the half and gained the lead," North Middlesex coach Erik Dellasanta said. "We never gained traction from that point. We talked a lot this season about closing halves and closing quarters and getting momentum on our side, I never felt like we got that traction going."
In the final 7:30 of the first half, the Patriots did not make a field goal and hit just a pair of their four free throws in the stretch. Daniel Kofman and Mike Lemke scored 12 points each for the Lancers.
The Patriots (10-11) saw significant contributions from seniors Mark Rossi and Tyler Thomas. Both guards hit huge 3-pointers. Thomas's contributions as a leader certainly did not go unnoticed.
"He's tough as nails, and I'd got to war with that kid any day of the week," Dellasanta said. "He's as good of a competitor as I've had. He's a great leader, keeps his team together. We'll miss him."
The senior guard tallied a team-high nine points in the defeat.
"Those kids made the long trip, and I knew they would -- I love them," Dellasanta said. "They make us proud, and we tried to pull one out for our kids, and it didn't work out."