When they needed to get the job done, the Upper Cape Tech Rams did just that. Monday afternoon UCT hosted Holbrook and for the full 32 minutes battled the Bulldogs. With four seconds on the clock and Holbrook inbounding the ball under its own net, the game remained undecided, but tough in-your-face defense by the Rams kept the ball out of the net giving UCT a 58-57 victory.
Rally Wheaton dropped five 3-pointers on Holbrook in the first half as the Rams settled for the outside shot against a zone defense. The Bulldogs took a very brief one-point lead early in the game, but for most of the remainder of the first quarter the Rams stayed in front, until with 12 seconds left the Bulldogs tied the game at 18-18.
Holbrook took an early lead to open the second quarter, but another 3-pointer by Wheaton tied it at 21-all. Before the Bulldogs could shake off the Wheaton 3-pointer Alex Spinner buried another for a 24-21 lead. Holbrook chipped away at the lead, but Austin Smolinsky and Jason Comoletti each got inside for baskets. Smolinsky then sank a pretty turnaround jumper with 2:26 left in the half to put the Rams on top by six. Holbrook made an attempt to close the gap, but another long ball by Spinner gave the Rams a 33-29 lead at halftime.
UCT turned the ball over twice early in the third quarter and both times the Bulldogs went back up the floor for two points.
With three minutes left in the third, Patrick Driscoll came off the bench and stole the ball, taking it to the hoop for two to give UCT just the spark they needed. Smolinsky drove the lane and tapped one in off the glass and Driscoll followed that up with a jumper off a Smolinsky feed for a four-point lead.
Marcus Ferdinand stole the ball at midcourt and took it back for a couple of points and Comoletti drained a jumper in the paint. The Rams took a 44-41 lead into the final eight-minute stretch.
Holbrook edged ahead 1:36 into the fourth, but Ferdinand tied it at 47-47 after taking the ball away and going the length of the floor for a lay-up. Again the Bulldogs edged ahead. With 2:11 left in the game, Holbrook held a 54-49 lead.
At the 1:58 mark Ferdinand again stole the ball and this time dished it to Smolinsky for a lay-up. Thirty-three seconds later Ferdinand stole the ball once again. For a second time he found Smolinsky, this time driving up the middle to hit him with a pass, which Smolinsky took to the hoop, drawing a foul. Smolinsky sank the free throw with 1:19 left and it was a new game at 54-54.
Before the Bulldogs could score, Ferdinand stole the ball one more time, quickly dishing it to Smolinsky, who passed it to Wheaton, who hit Ferdinand driving to the basket and the Rams took a 56-54 lead.
Richie Semple gave UCT a four-point lead with 45 seconds on the clock, banking one in off the glass, but the Bulldogs cut that lead to one point on a Michael Ziktanda 3-pointer. A turnover gave the ball right back to Holbrook, but the UCT defense did an excellent job of getting the ball back. Holbrook had their final chance at the four-second mark, but could not crack the Ram’s defense.
“The kids played hard,” coach Roy Porter said after the game. “When it didn’t look good, they hung in there. They really earned this win. I thought having the combo of Marcus [Ferdinand] and Richie [Semple] on the floor at the same time paid off. Marcus pushes the ball and he is quick. Richie is as tough as nails, blocks the bigger players and plays very physical. I also thought Pat Driscoll came up huge. He disrupted their defense in the second half.”
Wheaton led the UCT scoring with 16 points, Smolinsky had 15, Comoletti had eight and Spinner added six.
The Rams host Old Colony tomorrow at 6:30 PM.