The pain of not playing games for far too long at Bourne High was replaced by the growing pains of a young boys’ basketball team that hasn’t quite found its groove just yet. The Canalmen dug themselves an early hole against a stout Apponequet High School team and never were able to dig all the way out. AHS overpowered the home team in the fourth quarter and headed home with a 65-41 victory.
“We don’t guard anybody and we don’t shoot it well. That’s a recipe for disaster,” head coach Scott Ashworth said after his team watched Apponequet turn a three-point lead late in the second quarter into 11 points by the half and 18 by within the midway mark of the third. A surge by the Canalmen over the final four minutes of the third quarter allowed the home team to cut the deficit to 10 with 67 seconds left in the period.
From that point forward, Apponequet slammed the door. AHS closed the third quarter by scoring three layups before the horn, making it a 16-point game. The Lakers then held the Canalmen without a basket until just 5:09 remained in the game. By that point the lead had stretched to 18, and the valley was too steep to ascend.
“We had great shots that we didn’t make, and our idea of transition defense is suspect at best right now,” Ashworth said.
Senior Brady Fitzpatrick paced the offense for the Canalmen with a team-high 12 points in the game, eight of which came in the second half. Sophomore Shea Ullo scored 10 for the club. Sophomore Damon White and senior Cross Sierra each had five points.
The team’s best moments in the second half came when the Canalmen showed resiliency after falling behind by a 43-25 score. Ullo put a halt to a 9-0 run by the Lakers when he knocked down a turnaround jumper from the right elbow. White then had a great sequence that saw him come up with a couple of blocks in succession on the defensive end before setting up a cutting Joe Carrara for a slashing layup. Two free throws by Fitzpatrick and then a steal by Carrara that led to a second chance bucket for Fitzpatrick made it a 10-point game with 1:20 to play in the third quarter. Unfortunately for BHS, that was its last surge of the night.
Coach Ashworth said that the Canalmen team, which has just three seniors, three juniors and four sophomores on the roster, is in the learning stages when it comes to the “new normal” that is 2021 basketball in the state of Massachusetts. The veteran skipper said that he hopes his team gets used to it quickly, or the shorter season might seem longer than a normal one.
“Everything that they’ve been used to has changed. We don’t meet in the locker room before the game. They can’t shoot at halftime of the JV game because halftime is two and a half minutes. It was a big adjustment; half of the kids are in school, half of the kids aren’t. The routine is different. Hopefully we get used to the routine better or we have a lot of those staring us in the face,” Ashworth said.