Over the last two decades there have not been very many games in which the Bourne High School boys’ basketball team has not had Head Coach Scott Ashworth calling the plays from the sideline, but these are not normal times. Ashworth and three of his Canalmen were unable to suit up to participate on Tuesday, December 28, as Bourne High School hosted Fairhaven in a South Coast Conference battle.
BHS played with a depleted roster of seven, and JV Coach Tom Grady in charge of the squad. Despite the tough odds the Canalmen were in the game all the way, but came up short to the Blue Devils 60-53.
“It’s been 20 years since anyone but Scott Ashworth has been on the Bourne sidelines,” Grady said. “It’s different for me, and I think it’s different for everyone. We’ve had plenty of time, we’ve had four days of prep with me...would it have been a different outcome? Maybe, but I think we got good trips in the last five minutes but balls just didn’t go down.”
It was a back-and-forth game for the first three and a half quarters, with each team enjoying small leads. In the first, Fairhaven jumped out in front by 10, but Bourne (1-2) fought back and took the lead in the second quarter early. BHS trailed 17-7 after the first six minutes, but a run by Bourne allowed them to surge ahead and go up by as many as five points in the second quarter.
Leo Withiam-Andrade was a big reason for the Canalmen’s ability to hang with the Blue Devils. He hit for 14 of his 20 points in the first half, knocking down a pair of three-point shots and also got to the basket well. In the second quarter Dominic Quelle hit a couple of big buckets as the Canalmen rallied ahead to a 26-21 lead, capping off a 19-4 run.
This teeter-totter type of game continued as it was Fairhaven’s turn to go up next. They rallied to tie it up and take a halftime lead as they rode the hot hands of Caden Letendre and Peter Joseph. Letendre had eight in the second quarter and hit for 17 in the game. Joseph led all scorers in the game with 21 and hit a number of big shots, especially in the third quarter to help his team pull ahead. In the fourth, Jack Cunha was the man that seemed to deliver when Fairhaven needed it most. The toughest player for the Devils had six of his eight points at crunch time.
Fairhaven led by a basket at the break, 35-33. They then opened with an 8-0 run to start the second half. Quinn Moriarty stopped the bleeding with a gorgeous look-away drive and lay-up and then Shea Ullo canned a three that got it back to five points. Nate Reynolds then backed his man down to the basket and hit a bucket to cut the deficit to three before Ullo put the ball on the floor, drove and got one to fall to make it a one-point game.
Just as quickly as Bourne closed the gap, Fairhaven had an answer. The Devils rode Joseph’s big shots late in the period to go up 51-45 at the end of three. Bourne fought back to within two, on a Withiam-Andrade bomb that made it 53-51 with 5:38 left, and then the team went ice cold when it mattered most. With four minutes left in the game BHS was down just 55-53. The Canalmen played excellent defense down the stretch, but did not get another shot to fall and suffered the loss.
“Sometimes it just stops going down,” Grady said. “I think a young club starts to panic a little, we’ve only got seven guys tonight and they were a little tired. Four starters didn’t sub at all. I think you can attribute long threes not going down at the end to (tired) legs.”