LOWELL -- If his Chelmsford High team could play every quarter like it played the third quarter Monday night in the championship game of the Spinners/IAABO 95 Greater Lowell Basketball Tournament, Charlie Micol would be America's calmest coach.
As it was, Micol was a delighted coach after his Lions shrugged off nervous shooting, and a 30-21 halftime deficit, and blitzed Lowell High 28-10 in the third quarter on their way to winning 72-57 inside Lowell Catholic's packed Mickey Sullivan Court at Keith Gym.
This was Chelmsford's first title in this event since winning the inaugural Greater Lowell Holiday Tournament in 1977. That championship even predated Micol as a star player at Chelmsford High.
"I was in junior high back then," said a smiling Micol, in his 22nd season as Chelmsford's head coach. "But Jim our bus driver drove that team to the games."
Chelmsford took home hardware at the Haverhill Christmas Tournament in the mid-1990s.
But Monday was a special night for a deep and unselfish team that could bring a little hoop craziness to a school better known for football. The football team is certainly well represented on this hoop squad.
"We're a good team this year. We have players who like to play together," said Chelmsford junior guard Jack Campsmith, a quarterback in the fall, who was named this tournament's MVP. "It was calm at halftime. We knew what we had to do. We knew we had to amp up the intensity."
From that calm locker room, a den of hungry Lions emerged. Senior captain Brad Hausler got things rolling with two free throws. Lowell's Andre Ruff answered with a driving basket.
But after Chelmsford senior guard Voshon Holmes scored off a rebound and Hausler scored underneath off a pump fake to cut Lowell's lead to 32-27, Lowell coach Bobby Michalczyk sensed the energy meter in the gym was suddenly pointed the other way. He called a timeout a little over a minute into the second half.
"We came out flying in the first half and then we let our guard down," said Michalczyk. "Let's face it, Chelmsford came out and played physical and smart. They're well coached. They don't get rattled easily."
And Chelmsford kept rolling. Soon after the timeout, Campsmith scored off a steal. Two free throws by Holmes put Chelmsford ahead to stay, 36-34, with 3:20 left in the third quarter. Chelmsford led 49-40 after three quarters. Lowell got no closer.
Holmes' 20 points led Chelmsford (3-1) while Campsmith added 17 points. Each scored eight points in the third quarter.
Senior Mike Calicchio finished with 9 points, and was a whirlwind defensively. In addition to Campsmith being the MVP, Chelmsford's Holmes and Jackson Gamer were named to the all-tournament team.
Lowell (2-2), which beat Westford at the buzzer and Acton-Boxboro in overtime to reach this title game, was led by Ruff's 22 points. Sophomore guard Sean Bryan and senior forward Dewayne Thomas Jr. each scored 12 points. Bryan was named to the all-tournament team.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Michalczyk, Lowell's first-year head coach. "But (this tournament) showed we do have some pieces. We have some guys with a lot of ability. We should be fine."
Zach Conway's 21 points led Pelham while Ryan Cloutier and Jake Vaiknoras each added 11 points. Pelham led 26-18 at halftime and extended that to 45-30 after three quarters. Vaiknoras was named to the all-tournament team.
Michael Mundowa's 9 points led Acton-Boxboro. He was named to the all-tournament team.
Junior guard Tommy Jacobsen led Westford with 12 points on four 3-pointers. Junior center Eric McCord scored 10 points and was named to the all-tournament team.
Londonderry led 24-18 at halftime and 39-32 after three quarters.
Senior guards Dan Zabbo and Adam Barbosa scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, for Dracut in this overtime victory. The Middies outscored Haverhill, 9-4, in OT. Zabbo (4) and Barbosa (3) accounted for seven of the Middies' points in OT. Barbosa was named to the all-tournament team.