Falmouth Academy Boys Surge Past Rocky Hill In Second Half
By: Rich Maclone
“That’s kind of what we do,” Falmouth Academy Head Coach Peter Conzett said with a sheepish grin after watching his team rally from a 12-point halftime deficit to upend Rocky Hill 52-41 on Tuesday afternoon.
The Mariners had played about as badly as they could in the first half, managing just three field goals, two of which were three-pointers, and found themselves on the short end of a 26-14 deficit. By game’s end it seemed like a different team entirely had played that part of the contest as the Falmouth squad hit on all cylinders after the half.
Conzett said that a box-and-one defense employed by Rocky Hill in the first half against Tom Aviles had left the M’s looking for answers. The coach figured out how he wanted to combat the defense midway through the half, but chose to wait until halftime to make his adjustments as to not give RH a look at his idea and thus have to time to work on defending it during the intermission.
The delay in tactics switching looked like it may bite the Mariners hard, as Rocky Hill oustcored the home team 8-0 over the final four minutes of the first half to build a 12-point lead. But Conzett said that his team is built on chemistry and composure, and he wasn’t all that concerned that they would be able to rally.
“I think in the first half we were a little discombobulated because of the box-and-one on Thomas, but at halftime we set up a square and they didn’t have a way to cover Thomas out of the box that way. We got some nice looks and things came together,” Conzett said. “I love this team because they don’t really panic.”
The square that the coach referred to was the different offensive look he put into action for the second half. Basically the Mariners flooded one side of the offensive zone and ran back-screens and weaves to get open. Time after time the home team was able to find open looks on the far wing, for three-pointers, or jump shots that opened up from the free throw line and beyond. With Lyon Van Voorhis and Aviles pounding the glass, put-back opportunities opened up as well.
The second half saw just about everyone on the court contribute as the Mariners put together one of their best halves in recent memory. Falmouth would go on to outscore Rocky Hill 38-13 over the final 16 minutes and took the visitors completely out of their comfort zone.
A 13-2 run to open up the second half got the Mariners going. They would build that surge into a 20-6 margin in their favor.
FA began to really believe in its chances about four minutes into the second half. As the deficit began to whittle away, senior Elijah Switzer hit a huge second chance shot from just inside the foul line that pulled his team to within four points, 30-26. The fiery senior pumped his fist as he ran back down the court and his teammates were clearly riding the same high.
Rocky Hill pushed the lead back to five with a free throw, but the M’s kept coming. FA closed the gap to three on a foul line jumper by Keegan Kerrick, with 10:13 left in the game, and then pulled to within a single point when Van Voorhis pilfered the ball at the time line and drove in for a lay-up to make it a 32-31 game.
Xandy Walsh gave the Mariners their first lead of the game with 7:28 to play when he converted a baseline jumper from seven feet away. “He practices that shot all the time,” Conzett said. “That’s his shot; it’s the only one he ever seems to work on.”
A free throw by Van Voorhis gave FA a two-point lead with 7:09 left. Rocky Hill tied it on a pair of free throws with 6:49 to play, and then regained the lead on a jumper shot off the wing by Matt Munez with six minutes left. Falmouth refused to allow Rocky Hill time to enjoy its shortlived resurgence. Nate Haycock dropped in a pretty rainbow off the baseline just 13 seconds later, tying the game at 36. FA never trailed again.
An 8-0 run over a span of about a minute put the game away for the Mariners. Van Voorhis hit a baby hook, off a feed from Switzer, to put his team up 38-36 with 4:17 left. After a missed three by Rocky Hill, Van Voorhis canned a spot-up three from the wing with 3:40 to play to make it a five-point lead. Switzer then delivered the dagger, canning his own three from up top to make it 44-36 with 3:08 left to play.
Van Voorhis finished with a team-high 14 points, 13 of which he scored in the second half. Switzer, playing in his final home game for the 14-7 Mariners, had 10 points. Aviles had nine, and Mike Deasy scored eight. Munez led Rocky Hill with 15.
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