Falmouth Pulls Away From Red Raiders In 4th
By: Rich Maclone
Beating Barnstable never gets old, and when a win over the Red Raiders also guarantees you a spot in the state tournament, well that’s getting two birds with one stone there.
On Tuesday night the Falmouth High boys’ basketball team assured themselves of their seventh straight trip to the MIAA big dance with a 68-54 win over Barnstable High at the Antonucci Field House. The win improved the Clippers’ record to 10-2 overall on the season as they led from midway through the first quarter until the final buzzer.
“We had a lot of energy; we were moving the basketball and going to the basket and being unselfish, almost too unselfish, and for the seniors, this was their last game against Barnstable and they beat them both times (this year), and the good news is we won (our 10th game) and we’re in (the state tournament). Seven years in a row, we’re in the state tournament; that’s not bad; we’ll take it,” said FHS Head Coach Paul Lundberg.
Big runs were the key to the victory for Falmouth who, for the 12th time this season, allowed 54 or fewer points on defense. Falmouth took control of the game in the first half with an 18-0 surge that turned a tie game into a lopsided affair. Then, in the fourth quarter, FHS answered a comeback by the Red Raiders that saw the visitors whittle the lead all the way down to five points by scoring the first 15 points of the final stanza.
Nelson Baptiste paced the scoring for the Clippers with 15 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Andrew McGill had 13 points and five assists and John Lavin hit for 12 points and eight rebounds. FHS also got great efforts off the bench from big men Kyle Kasprzyk (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Wyatt Hamilton (1 point, 8 rebounds).
“That was key. Kyle and Wyatt did a nice job coming in there and helping out Lavin on the boards,” Lundberg said.
At halftime the outcome seemed determined to be a blowout as Falmouth was riding high with a 38-21 advantage. But the Red Raiders certainly made things interesting in the third quarter as they began to hit shots and limited the Falmouth offense to only 10 points. Heading to the final period what had seemed well in control was all of a sudden anything but a sure thing as the Clippers clung to a 48-43 lead, with BHS having the ball to start the final quarter.
Falmouth responded in a big way to the adversity. On the first possession of the quarter, McGill picked the pocket of BHS’ Tyler Adams at the time line and drove the basket. He was fouled and knocked down both freebies. Falmouth then got a stop on defense, which led to another trip to the line, where Baptiste hit 1-of-2 to push the lead up to 8 points. McGill followed that up with another pocket-picking of Adams and got immediately fouled. He hit both ends of a 1-and-1 and less than a minute into the fourth quarter the lead was back to a comfortable 53-43.
But that wasn’t where FHS let up. The Clippers went on to score the next 10 points of the fourth quarter with a three-pointer by Baptiste, a couple of Damien Reid free throws, a lay-up by Lavin—off a beautiful pass from Hamilton, a Hamilton free throw and then a put-back by Lavin. That final basket by the senior big man got the margin back to 20, matching the biggest lead of the game.
From that point on Falmouth worried only about killing off the clock. BHS continued to play spirited basketball, refusing to allow any easy baskets even with just seconds left to play, but the end result was never in doubt.
Now Falmouth has to set its sights on something more important than beating their rivals, even if it did soften the blow some for Baptiste and Lavin, who missed the Thanksgiving Day football game with injuries. Next up is a road game at Marshfield this evening, with a share of the Atlantic Coast League lead on the line.
Marshfield, which defeated Nauset by 15 points on Tuesday, is 8-2 overall and 6-0 in the Atlantic Coast League. Falmouth enters action with a 6-1 league mark, with their only defeat coming at home early last month against the Rams, a 51-42 defeat. That game was the first one of the season for Lavin, who missed the first few weeks of the year with the previously mentioned leg injury from football.
That night Falmouth did not shoot the ball well at all. Baptiste hit for 25, but the rest of the team could not put the ball in the basket and they suffered their lone loss in league play. That night FHS managed a grand total of just 10 field goals.
MHS is led by sharpshooters Barett Murphy and Charlie Lapaglia, both of whom are capable of lighting it up any night of the week. In the first meeting of the season, though, it was Kyle MacKinley who really hurt Falmouth as he was unstoppable from three-point land in the first half.
“That’s a really tough, tough game. They’re very good, very fundamentally sound; we have played a 32-minute perfect game,” Lundberg said.
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