Basketball: Mashpee Boys Beat Cohasset, Tie For SSL Lead
By: Rich Maclone
“This league is a bloodbath. Every night out it’s like this,” Mashpee Head Coach Matt Triveri said with a grin, following his team’s exciting 66-53 win over Cohasset High School on Tuesday night.
Heading into the game the Skippers had posted an undefeated record and were starting to get some high profile recognition. On both sides of the MHS locker room door, a story from the Boston Herald was posted that profiled just how good things had gone for the Skippers early in the year.
Mashpee added an amendment to that feature as they knocked the visitors from the ranks of the perfect, thanks to a stellar showing in the second half. The win was big for the Falcons in a variety of ways. MHS earned an automatic berth into the state tournament as it improved to 11-1, and it earned a tie with both CHS and Rockland for first place in the league standings as the teams ready for the second half of the league slate to get going.
“This is big for us. We’re tied for first place; we’re in the state tournament...we’re very happy.”
Triveri said that ball management was key to the comeback and victory. “We stopped turning the ball over and made better decisions with the basketball,” Triveri said. “In the first half the ball was on the floor too much; everything was a dribble or one-on-one move. We started to get the ball down low, and they played behind our guys. That’s probably not good news for them.”
The first half was a frustrating 16 minutes of basketball as the Falcons made mistakes over and over, which allowed the Skippers to vault out to a 20-10 lead at the end of the first. Guard Robert Jones (24 points) was on fire from the get-go for MHS as he lit up the Falcons for 11 points during the opening period, draining three 3-pointers during that run.
MHS started to play better ball in the second quarter, whittling the lead down to seven at the break, 26-19, but their best stuff was saved for the break.
Guard Eric Lopes scored 12 of his game-high 25 points in the third quarter as the Falcons seized control, playing with both desire and intensity at both ends of the court. MHS opened the second half with a 6-0 run in the first two minutes to make it a one-point game as Zack Dauksz hit a lay-up on the first possession and then Zack Orcutt (14 points) scored on a follow-up on the next trip. A fast-break bucket by Lopes, who was led perfectly by Zach MacRae, pulled the Falcons back to within a single point.
In total the Falcons would score points on six straight trips with a put-back by MacRae, with 4:58 to play in the third, giving the team its first lead since owning a 6-5 edge early in the game. MacRae’s lay-up, a put-back of his own missed shot, made it 32-31. He then stole the ball at the other end, which led to a long jump shot in the corner by Lopes, whom the Skippers left wide open and were made to pay for that error.
By the end of the third quarter the game had a brand new feel as the squad owned a 42-39 lead after outscoring Cohasset 23-13 in the third, which was four points more than the Falcons offense had been able to accumulate during the entire first half.
MHS might have had the lead heading to crunch time but the Skippers were not about to make things easy for the home team. With Jones leading the charge, Cohasset hung around and hung around. Mashpee was able to get the lead up to seven on a three-pointer by Orcutt that MacRae set up with a nice kickout pass, but then CHS came back and netted four quick points, thanks to a Kyrel Juandoo lay-up and then a pull-up jumper from the left elbow by Jones to make it 49-46. A fast-break bucket by the Skippers’ Sam Richardson with 4:53 left got the lead down to three, 51-48.
When it mattered most, the Falcons made the plays to win the game. Jay Farias hit a pair of free throws with 3:43 to go to get the lead back to five and then after a rare miss by Jones, point guard Andrew Tubbs (six points) hit the shot of the night, pulling up as the Falcons were getting into their offensive set and sticking a three-pointer to make it 56-48 with 3:25 left.
Jones answered with another three for the Skippers to cut the lead to five, with 3:03 left, but once again the Falcons would pull ahead more. Orcutt hit a pretty runner with 2:33 left that made it a seven-point affair and then, after two missed free throws by Juandoo, Niko Hendricks stuck back his own miss to make it a nine-point game with 2:14 left.
From that point the Skippers tried to bomb away to get close but did not score over the final two minutes.
Lopes’ 25 was his second-best offensive night of the season as he was all over the court for the Falcons, running the floor and rebounding the ball on both ends. He finished 12 rebounds, half of which came on the offensive glass. “He killed them with the offensive rebounds...everything was hustle points. He’s an unselfish kid, too. In the last game he had just two points. He just plays smart all the time; he just gets after it.”
Mashpee’s big men had a field day down low. Hendricks finished with nine points, nine rebounds, and five blocked shots. Dauksz had six points and 10 rebounds and MacRae scored four points and pulled in 10 rebounds.
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