Lopes Lights Up Rough Riders For 28 In Mashpee Win
By: Rich Maclone
The last time that the Mashpee and Harwich boys’ basketball teams met, the Rough Riders rode out of town winners of a first-round state tournament game. On that night the Falcons shot the ball poorly and turned it over too much.
On Tuesday night things were much different. Eric Lopes had one of the best shooting nights of his life as he exploded for a career-high 28 points to lead Mashpee to a convincing 72-46 victory. The win improved the Falcons to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in South Shore League play.
“He was pretty much on fire,” Coach Matt Triveri said of the senior guard. “He knocked down jump shots early, some were really tough ones, step-back jumpers, a three-pointer. He scored a variety of ways. It was a huge game for him.”
Lopes did the bulk of his scoring in the first half, especially in the opening quarter. He canned 15 alone in the first half and had 22 by halftime as the Falcons enjoyed a 10-point cushion at that juncture, 41-31.
In the second half the rest of the team shared in on the fun as the Falcons got points from all over the roster. The only other member to reach double figures was senior forward Zach MacRae, who had 10. Teddy Purdy had one of his best games of the season so far, scoring eight. Andrew Tubbs and Zack Orcutt each had six.
The Rough Riders, who have just one win to their credit thus far, got a strong showing from Zack Blute in the first half. Blute netted 12 points before intermission but just two after that. Joe Dimauro, the Rough Riders’ leading scorer, was held in check all night long as the Falcons did a great job of checking him up and down the court. Jay Farias and Tubbs shared that duty for most of the night and held him to a single field goal in each half.
As a team the Falcons’ defense was strong, especially after halftime. “We did a nice job of pressuring the ball and taking away the passing lanes,” Triveri explained.
With the season beginning to reach its middle stages, the Falcons are now putting themselves in a good position to make a run at the league title. A win on the road tonight at Hull would help that cause greatly, but Triveri said that his team knows that it will not come easily.
Hull High School is not known as a pleasant place to play, and the Falcons have had more than their share of wars in that gym over the years.
“For whatever reason, that place is always tough. They play physical and they like to let you play (that way) up there,” Triveri said.
Scoring the ball is not Hull’s specialty, but they do not give points up easily and will make good use of their allotment of fouls. “They play in-your-face, man-to-man defense, and they scrap for points,” he said. “I think they’ll try to pressure us and create turnovers.”
Mashpee will get a nice lift from getting Nakia Hendricks back in the lineup. Hendricks was available against Harwich but did not play as he’s been battling illness over the last few days. His touch inside, both rebounding and scoring, will come in handy against a team that does not like to let teams do much of either.
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