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February 27, 2013

Haverhill stuns Westford

WESTFORD — Mike Trovato pushed the right buttons all night long, but in the fourth quarter?


He went to the frosh phenom, the street kid turned conference MVP, the Ivy League-bound genius, the quarterback and his mini-Wes Welker security blanket in the fourth.

“Everybody made plays for us, everybody!” exclaimed Trovato after 13th-seeded Haverhill stunned No. 4 Westford Academy, 62-59 in the Division 1 North first-rounder last night. “That’s how games like this happen.”

All five — Saul Phiri, Anthony Dionne, Sean Wrenn, Tommy Morgan and Shain Roche — willed the Hillies to their first Division 1 North quarterfinals appearance since 2001.

“That’s a very good Westford team, and all we talked about was what it would take,” said Trovato. “We needed 32 minutes of fighting, fighting, fighting. People outside of this locker room might consider this an upset. Pretty much everyone besides those 15 guys in that room.”

Roche and Phiri drained back to back threes with just over three minutes left, sending the Hillie fan section into a frenzy at 58-49.

“It was my first shot of the night, but it felt great,” said Roche. “And Saul’s been hitting big shots like that all year.”

But nothing comes easily.

Westford canned its next three shots, all from behind the arc, answered only by a courageous Dionne drive that put Haverhill up 60-58 with under a minute to play.

Twice, Westford went to the line with a chance to tie, but hit only one of four.

With 12.7 left, the freshman Phiri calmly made a pair of foul shots to make it 62-59, and followed it up by forcing a Westford turnover. The Ghosts did get one more chance after a Hillies’ turnover with 1.7 left, but a buzzer beater from almost out of bounds wasn’t close.

Haverhill now moves on to the quarters at either No. 6 Lynn English or No. 11 Somerville. Those two play tonight.

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