With nine seniors departing the program, there certainly will be plenty of opportunity for some new faces to make names for themselves next year at the varsity level in boys’ basketball at Mashpee High School. MHS junior varsity Head Coach Richard Martini believes that several of his young players will do just that. With a roster full of sophomores and freshmen, the JV Falcons put together a winning record this year, and hope to continue that success next year when many of them make the jump up.
Martini’s squad went 10-8 this year. The coach said that he has three principles that he teaches his teams. The first is it that they have to learn the game and have an understanding of what it takes to make things work. The second, he said, is to play with intensity at all times.
“To play at the next level, you have to have intensity all of the time, from the first whistle to the last whistle,” the coach said. And third is to play with physicality. “They all have to get bigger, stronger and faster,” the coach said. “To be physical, you have to train.”
The Falcons, Martini said, have been buying into those philosophies and had themselves a good season. The team won both times against their rivals from Cohasset, won a physical road game at Hull and also took both contests against a good Hull team. “Most importantly, this was a good group to be around,” Martini said. “These are good kids.”
Shawn Hendricks, a sophomore, started as the team’s point guard for most of the season, but as the year went along he played less and less with the JV squad as his role expanded to the varsity level, where he made a late impact. Hendricks came off the bench to give the varsity team a spark late in the season and Martini said that more is to come going forward.
“They’re expecting him to do good things,” he said. Hendricks is an aggressive player who is picking things up well and improving regularly. DeShaun Dias, a freshman, was a big-time energy provider for the JV Falcons. He also saw some varsity time. “He’s an Energizer Bunny, he just goes,” the coach said. Dias has the athleticism to get to the basket and also improved his jump shot as the season went along. When Hendricks was unavailable for the JV team, Dias saw some time playing the point guard spot and that flexibility will help him going forward.
In the post, sophomore Dan Crowley showed some nice moves on the blocks for Mashpee. “He runs the floor pretty well and he understands the game,” Martini said. Forward Gino Fellini, a sophomore, played multiple positions for the JV Falcons. He saw time at shooting guard and both forward spots over the course of the season. “He gets to the basket and is very good offensively,” Martini said. “He also rebounds well for his size, but he still has to work on his defense.”
Sophomore Connor Murphy is one of the bigger players in the Mashpee system. Standing 6-2, Murphy offers the team a big-man option for the future. Martini said that Murphy has nice touch around the basket and that he rebounds well. Freshman Joey Spinola saw time up front at both forward spots and at center. A 6-1 post player, Spinola has solid foot work and good basketball sense. He exploded for 19 points in a win over Cohasset, showing an ability to score on the block and hit the mid-range jumper.
“He just torched them,” Martini said. Devin Van Gelder, a sophomore guard, is a strong defender for the Falcons. He especially flourished marking up the man with the ball. He’s working to improve his ballhandling skills and shooting, but hard work on defense opens the door for players to succeed. Mackenzie “Mack” Burton, a sophomore guard, is another strong defender for the Falcons that gets after it on the defensive end. “He was one of our most improved players,” Martini said.
Guard Michael Ashley, a sophomore, was willing to work hard on his game and it showed. “Towards the end of the year, he was a real solid defender,” Martini said.
Devon Gomes stands six feet, two inches tall, and he is getting bigger. Despite having very little basketball experience, Gomes worked his way towards being a more productive player for the Falcons over the course of the season. “He had a few nice offensive games for us,” Martini said. The coach said that Gomes will improve as he fills out and that with dedication in the weight room he could earn his way up the ladder.
Riley LaCroix did not have the season he wanted to because of injuries. He was hurt early in the season, came back to play a handful of games and then got sick and missed the rest of the season. “He’s the best on-the-ball defender that we had,” the coach said. “He can play all day, he just goes and goes.”
Freshman Billy McNamara played mostly with the freshman team, but also saw some time with the JV squad. “He shoots the ball well and handles. He needs to work on his off-hand, but he’s a nice little player,” Martini said.
Also playing on both the freshman and JV teams was Justin Rose, a forward who saw time at the power forward and center spots. “He’s a tough kid. He’s a very good offensive rebounder and he’s got a nice mid-range jump shot.”
The JV Falcons will all get their chances to see time on the varsity court next year, but Martini said it is up to them to decide which ones are on the court a lot, and which ones aren’t. “If they can do what we ask them to do, the opportunities are there. We’re losing nine seniors, so the spots are there to fill, it’s up to them to fill them,” he said.