Mashpee Boys' Basketball Knocked Out of Tourney
By: Rich Maclone
It very well could have been the Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team playing tomorrow at UMass Boston for the Division IV south championship instead of Cohasset High. With the bounce of the ball one way or the other it would have been.
Last Friday night the Skippers held off the Falcons in a grudge match between the top two teams in the South Shore League this season as the Skippers held the lead wire-to-wire and survived a 54-51 game on their home court before a packed house. The loss ended the sixth-seeded Falcons year at 18-4.
“What can I say; we had a shot. We had two shots at the end (to win it), which I thought was great,” Head Coach Matt Triveri said. “We had a one-and-one and two looks at the end...you can’t ask for a better opportunity than that. I thought we played the last three minutes great. We were down five and we played great; we executed. It certainly doesn’t feel great though; with seven seniors that’s a tough way to go out.”
Mashpee was in the game the whole way, but was never able to grab the lead as they fought and fought but could never get over the top. Cohasset came out like a house afire and ran out to a quick 12-0 lead to start the game and then kept getting the big plays when they needed them to hold the lead.
Despite playing from behind from the get-go, the Falcons had a chance to win the game in the last minute. Trailing by six with 1:51 to go, Jason Farias drove in for a lay-up and a foul and finished off the three-point play to make it a one-possession game. Cohasset then bricked a 3-pointer on its next trip.
A baseline jumper that swished through the rim with 28 seconds to play by Niko Hendricks trimmed the deficit to a single point. It was the last bucket of the night for Hendricks, who used the contest as his personal announcement that he will be heard from over the next two years. The sophomore had a monster night, scoring 20 points while pulling down eight rebounds. He nearly single-handedly brought his team back early on as he scored six straight points in the first quarter to help the Falcons right the ship and played like a grizzled veteran throughout the game.
“He brings a lot of energy to the table. He doesn’t cower at all at a moment like this; he’s got a lot of guts,” Triveri said. “He’s not afraid.”
With time getting low, the Falcons still had several fouls to give in order to send the Skippers to the free throw line. Coach Triveri’s team hawked the inbounder and went for steals and fouled quickly three straight times before finally sending CHS’ MVP Robert Jones to the free throw line with a chance to extend the lead. Jones, like his teammates, struggled at the line, though, and missed the freebie, which Hendricks rebounded with 21 seconds left in the game.
Down a point, with the ball, the Falcons could not have hoped for a better opportunity to win the game and move on in the state tournament. Unfortunately, though, they would not be able to make the most of it.
But they certainly had their chances. Early on in the possession, guard Zak Orcutt took the ball across midcourt to try to set up the offense and was hacked as he came over the time line, sending him to the stripe with a chance to tie the game and put his team ahead with a 1-and-1. Orcutt, who was held to just one first half field goal on the night, missed the first shot, but Hendricks–who was seemingly everywhere–skied for the rebound. The lanky forward attempted to put a shot from the left baseline, but it came up a bit shy of the mark as well.
Senior Andrew Tubbs, who had a score to settle with the Skippers after being mistreated by the team’s fans in their last trip to town, made a heads-up play to keep hope alive for the Falcons. The senior came away with the rebound and threw it off a CHS player to retain possession and give the Falcons another chance with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Triveri called his final timeout to set up a game-winning play, but it did not work out as planned. Eric Lopes (6 points) triggered the ball from the baseline and got it to Orcutt, who was looking to either get it back to Lopes or find a flashing big man down low. Neither option materialized, though, as Cohasset did a fine job of defending the play. That left the junior to take matters into his own hands. He squared up and got off a good-looking shot, but it came up short.
Both teams’ players dove madly after the ball and the refs called for a jump ball with CHS owning the possession arrow at that point. With just 2.1 seconds left, Mashpee had no choice but to immediately foul, sending Sam Richardson (22 points) to the line for a 1-and-1. The senior co-captain nailed both shots for the Skippers to make it a three-point game.
Time was left for just a desperation heave, and the bid by Tubbs certainly made the Skippers’ fans hold their collective breaths. The senior launched a full-court line drive from under his own hoop that was on line, missing by inches as it grazed the bottom of the net as the horn sounded.
What stuck in the Falcons’ craw, though, was that Triveri said that Cohasset’s lead should have been two points less going to the final minutes. With about 2:45 to go, the ball hit the floor and there was a scramble for it at the end of the Skippers’ shot clock. The Skippers came up with the ball and were awarded a fresh 30 seconds, which they weren’t entitled to. Triveri said that the error was “egregious.” It led to a Jones lay-up, which upped the lead to 50-44 late.
But that seemed to be the way that things went on that night. Loose balls and contested calls seemed to favor the home team throughout the contest. Mashpee never gave up but couldn’t overcome in the end.
Zack Dauksz had a big game for MHS in the post, finishing his final game with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Farias, also a senior, had 10 points. Tubbs finished with five points, three rebounds and three steals. Orcutt had seven assists in the game.
“You can’t blame the effort. Our guys got after it,” Triveri said.
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