It wasn’t a perfect effort by any means, but in the end the Falmouth High School boys’ basketball team accomplished the most important goal for the night. They won.
FHS improved to 2-3 overall, winning their second in a row after a tough start to the season, by surviving a late charge by Nauset High School that saw the Warriors trim a double-digit FHS lead all the way down to two points in the fourth quarter. With a rookie making the shot of the game for the Clippers, Falmouth held off the Warriors’ surge to prevail by a 58-48 score, handing Nauset its first defeat of the year.
Sophomore guard Isiah Reid had no idea that he’d be playing for the varsity earlier in the week, let along playing crunch time minutes with the game hanging in the balance. With the night’s top scorer, Brian Jeffrey, fouling out early in the fourth quarter, and starting guard Chase Soares out of action with an illness, head coach Paul Lundberg had to shuffle things around, and that led to the rookie out on the court with the game on the line.
Reid proved his worth by knocking down a huge 3-pointer for Falmouth that all but sealed the victory. With FHS clinging to a 50-47 lead late in the game, the ball found Reid in the righthand corner and he did not hesitate. He pulled the trigger and swished a trifecta to push the lead up to six with 2:35 left to play.
“I thought Leo (DeOliveira) stepped up, and so did Isiah. That shot was huge, and then he had a big steal,” coach Lundberg said.
DeOliveira is another youngster who has seen a lot more varsity time than the master plan had accounted for at the start of the season. With senior Sam Lumbert on the shelf with a wrist injury, DeOliveira has had to man most of the post minutes and he showed that he’s getting more comfortable doing so. The big man scored 5 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in the game.
With Jeffrey (20 points) and Ryan Johnson (15 points) helping FHS pull ahead with strong jump shooting through the first half, the Clippers led at the end of one quarter, by three, and held a 32-27 lead at halftime, with Nauset’s 3-point shooting keeping them in the game. The Warriors went ice cold in the third quarter, with the Clippers’ defense holding them to just two free throws, and the game looked all but over as Falmouth built the lead to 13 points early in the fourth.
Nauset caught fire, however, early in the fourth, closing all the way to within a point. Scoring off turnovers, the visitors ran off an 11-0 run to get the game down to just a single possession, at 46-44, with 4:40 to play, after Warriors’ forward Kino Gray stuck back a missed shot.
Falmouth did fold under the pressure, though. Eric Demers (7 points, 5 assists) used dribble penetration from the top of the zone to find Johnson down low for an easy bucket to up the lead back to four, but then Nauset climbed to within a single point when Eric Poyant dialed up a 3-pointer from long distance with just 3:33 left in the game.
Again FHS responded. DeOliveira grabbed a Craig Green (8 points, 8 rebounds) miss and put it in off the glass to get the lead back up to three points 23 seconds later. Then, after a Nauset turnover, Demers found Reid for the big 3-pointer that canceled the Warriors’ comeback.