Falcons Fire Up 15th Straight Victory
By: Rich Maclone
The Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team is learning what it means to play with a target on your chest. The Falcons survived another tough ballgame on Wednesday night, escaping Chatham High School with a 73-70 victory as the Blue Devils hung tough with the Falcons until the bitter end.
Chatham had two chances to tie the game in the final seconds but each time missed the mark. With the Falcons clinging to a three-point lead, CHS got off a long three-point attempt with seven seconds to play, but the ball was way off the mark, actually scraping the roof. Zach MacRae came down with the ball, was quickly fouled, but was unable to hit from the foul line.
With one last hope, Chatham tried again, but this time Niko Hendricks stole the ball for Mashpee and the squad got out of town with yet another victory, improving to 17-1 on the season. The win was Mashpee’s, the 15th in a row for MHS, which ascended to No. 12 in the most recent Boston Globe top 20 poll.
With leading scorer Eric Lopes out nursing a sore ankle, after tweaking it the night before, Jason Farias picked up the slack for the Falcons and led the way with 20 points, while playing well on both ends of the court. Coach Matt Triveri said the other key to the win was the play of Teddy Purdy, who had a fantastic game off the bench and helped key an 11-point swing in the Falcons’ favor late in the second quarter.
“I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be easy, and I told the kids that, but whether or not they believe, you never know,” Triveri said. “Chatham has some kids who can score and they came out fired up.”
Chatham shot very well throughout the game, knocking down 10 three-pointers in total. They also did the job at the foul line where they went 14-of-16 in the fourth quarter. But the Falcons matched them, coming up big down the stretch by also hitting their freebies on a night that saw both teams play very physically, which kept the referees busy with the whistles. Hendricks keyed the team’s efforts at the line in the fourth as he went 7-for-8 in the game and the Falcons as a unit hit 6-of-7 in the last minute.
On Tuesday night the Falcons upended visiting Hull in a game that was much closer than the final score might indicate. Mashpee won the game by a 60-42 score, but the difference between the two teams stood at just five points with five minutes to play.
The Falcons closed it out with a 16-3 run over those final five minutes as the Pirates began doubling the MHS ball-handler who was bringing the basketball up the court which opened the floor up for the Falcons to attack the rim. When the double team would come, usually against point guard Andrew Tubbs, the dribbler would simply drop his shoulder and split the defense, taking the ball to the basket for easy shots. That led to the Falcons getting to the line three times in the last few minutes and several good looks from in close.
Hull erased a double-digit Mashpee lead and pulled to within 44-39 with 5:40 left after Paul Cardoos (15 points) hit both ends of a 1-and-1. MHS was then cited for a traveling violation on its next possession which gave Hull a chance to pull within a single basket.
However, Hull also turned the ball over, and the Falcons made them pay for it. Zak Orcutt, who was serenaded by the crowd in celebration of his birthday after the game, hit a tough fadeaway jumper with five minutes left on the clock, banking the ball off the window to make it a 46-39 game. Hull fired up an airball their next time down the court, and the Falcons countered with a great drive to the basket by Tubbs, who fought through the double team that came beyond the three-point line and penetrated for a scoop lay-up to extend the lead to nine points.
Hull scored its next time down, but the Falcons then got a three-pointer from Jason Farias (9 points, 3 assists) that got the team back up by 10, 51-41, with 3:39 left in the game. After another defensive stand, Orcutt hit two freebies after a drive to the rack to get the lead to 12 points and Zach MacRae scored on a lay-up, off a nice dribble drive and feed from Farias to make it a 14-point game with 2:25 to go.
Neither team got off to a very good start as the clubs traded misses throughout the first quarter. Mashpee led after eight minutes, 10-9. The second quarter was more of the same, though the Falcons did get better later in the stanza and took a 21-17 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter the Falcons caught fire early, scoring on 6 of their first 7 possessions and were able to open up a 34-23 lead after a fast break that saw Tubbs (6 points, 4 assists) hook up MacRae (10 points, 8 rebounds) for a lay-up that forced a Hull timeout. Mashpee took a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter, 42-28, but Hull battled back, starting the final period with an 11-2 run to make it a close ballgame.
The boys battle East Bridgewater High School at home on Tuesday at 6:30 PM. Then, on Friday, they play a potential league championship contest against Cohasset. Each team currently has just one South Shore League loss, and if that is still the case by that night, the winner will take home the championship. The contest will be covered by Fox 25 Sports, with highlights on the station’s sportscasts in the 10 and 11 PM news broadcasts.
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