Local Establishment Has Helped Power Clippers' Tourney Run
By: Rich Maclone
It’s been a magical ride so far for the Falmouth High boys’ basketball team. The Clippers won their third straight tournament game on Monday night, crushing Whitman-Hanson High to advance to the Division II south finals. The team is 18-5 overall and enjoying its deepest run in the tournament in 30 years.
The reason for the team’s successes? Maybe it’s coaching. Maybe it’s just talent. Perhaps it’s the spaghetti and meatballs.
Before every state tournament game so far, on the night before the game, the Burrito Place in East Falmouth has closed the doors early to host the Clippers for a spaghetti and meatballs feast. No one is going to prove that the carbo-loading has been the key ingredient in the team’s winning streak, but at least one Clipper thinks it might have something to do with it.
“It was funny, because during the second half against Whitman-Hanson (a game that Falmouth won 87-50), (John) Lavin looked over at Coach (Terry) Rogers and said, ‘What do they put in the meatballs over there?’ ” Coach Paul Lundberg recalled with a laugh.
Coach Rogers’ brother, Rich Rogers, is one of the owners of the East Falmouth hot spot, along with his longtime friend Damien Palanza. The pair opened up the store, which is on the corner of Route 28 and Davisville Road, a year ago and it has become a very popular spot among locals.
The restaurant has deep ties to Falmouth High School athletics. There is a jersey hanging on the walls that was donated by former Clipper Xander Fuccillo that he wore in the Shriners football game a year ago. Both Rich Rogers (Class of 1997) and Palanza (Class of 1995) played football for the Clippers when they were in high school. Palanza also played hockey and lacrosse. An FHS football helmet is behind the counter, and two current Clippers work behind that counter. Joey Olsen, who plays football and baseball, and Jesse Katon, who plays girls’ soccer and lacrosse, are both employees.
“The whole thing was kind of Terry’s idea and we just wanted to do something to give back to the community, because we finally have the chance to do that,” Rich Rogers said. “The first time we did it, the kids loved it, and so we’ve done it for all of the playoff games. It’s great because they can all get together, and they eat and then hang out for like an hour, watching a game on the TV and just talking and stuff.”
They’ll be back in the restaurant tonight to have another meal prior to the team’s showdown tomorrow night against Milton High School. If history repeats itself, there’s a good chance there will be another dinner planned for Sunday, because the winner tomorrow has a trip to the TD Garden on tap for Monday, and the Clippers will want to head to the home of the parquet floor fully prepared.
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