Mashpee Washes Away Green Wave
By: Rich Maclone
Home has not only been where the heart is for the Mashpee High boys’ basketball team, but also a place where the wins have piled up. Over the first three weeks of the season the Falcons have played all but one of their games at the Ron Bock Gymnasium and the fans have had plenty to cheer about as the Falcons have won, and won, and won some more. With a convincing 66-51 victory over Abington High School on Wednesday night the blue and white improved to an impressive 7-0 to start the season.
The team also scored an impressive win over a tough Martha’s Vineyard squad over the weekend, upending the Vineyarders to take the Stripes Tournament with a 68-64 victory.
Mashpee’s impressive run has not gone unnoticed. In this week’s Boston Herald boys’ basketball poll, the Falcons were ranked as the No. 1 team in Division IV south.
Against Abington, Mashpee flew out of the starting blocks and grabbed a double-digit first quarter lead. Relying on steady man-to-man defense, and a run-and-gun attack on offense, the Falcons led 21-10 after the first eight minutes. “We played really well defensively, but we left some points on the court. We missed some lay-ups and some easy shots, it could have been more,” Head Coach Rick Boulrisse said.
The Green Wave rallied back into the game in the second quarter and closed the gap to just five at halftime, 33-28.
Mashpee, as it has in each game this season, came through with an answer in the second half. The Falcons dealt well with a 1-3-1 zone that the Wave threw at them, and handled full court pressure by the visitors as well. “We did a good job of break in when they went to the pressure, and in the second half we attacked the press,” Boulrisse said.
Mashpee’s attack was led by seniors Nakia Hendricks and Cody Hendricks. The duo combined to score about two-thirds of the team’s points in the game, with Nakia dropping 24 on the Wave and Cody hitting for 21. Dean Feliciano came off the bench to score in double digits for the third straight game, finishing with 10 points for the Falcons in the contest.
Senior co-captain Scott Matoian added four points, but his biggest contributions came on the defensive end. Matoian drew the responsibility of checking Brandon Cawley, Abington’s top scorer, for large portions of the game and he did well in that capacity. Cawley finished with 20 in the game, but Boulrisse said that the scorer had to work hard for each and every one of them.
“They’re disciplined in their offense and we did a good job of reading what they were trying to do, being disciplined in what we were doing and tipping balls and playing hard,” the Mashpee coach said.
Against Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, the Falcons jumped out to a huge lead early, but the Vineyarders rallied to make things very exciting in the second half. Early on it appeared that the Falcons were going to run MV out of the building as they led 23-6 after one quarter and were up by 19 with 3:45 left in the first half, 33-14.
The Vineyard closed the first half on fire, though. MV scored a 12-0 run to end the half and just like that Mashpee had a ballgame on its hands, leading 33-26 at the intermission.
During the third quarter the Vineyarders continued to surge and came all the way back to take the lead. MV chipped away and chipped away. A Cody Hendricks free throw with 2:24 to go in the third had the Falcons lead at 42-39, but then Izak Browne hit a floater in the lane to make it a one-point game before coming up with a steal and finding Malik Johnson in transition to put the Vineyarders ahead for the first time, 43-42.
To the Falcons’ credit, they did not panic when things got tough. MHS ran a brilliant in-bound play to get the lead back later in the quarter, with Cody Hendricks delivering a beautiful lob to the front of the rim, from the left sideline, to Nakia Hendricks for a two-handed dunk that got the crowd back into the game, and made it 44-43.
Mashpee held on to lead by a bucket at the end of three, 48-46. In the fourth quarter, MV continued to hang around and scored a 62-60 lead with 2:40 left when Brandon Watkins drained a 3-pointer from the corner.
A pair of Cody Hendricks free throws tied the game two seconds later, and then the Falcons closed the game out. After a miss by MV, Nakia Hendricks gave Mashpee the lead back with a 15-footer from the baseline, which was set up by Matoian. With 54 seconds to go the Falcons made it a two-possession game. After a stop on the defensive side, which saw MV miss three lay-ups that could have tied it, Cody Hendricks drove to the rim and hit a layup to make it 66-62, with 54 seconds to go.
Martha’s Vineyard closed to within two points with 12 seconds left on a layup by Jahmari Thomas, and quickly fouled. MV had a golden opportunity handed to them when the Falcons missed both free throws, but they panicked after rebounding the second miss and traveled, giving the ball right back to Mashpee.
Once again MHS was in an inbound situation from the sideline, and came up with a beautiful play. Matoian lobbed it in to Nakia Hendricks for a fast break bucket that sealed the deal.
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