No lead seems safe against the Falmouth High School boys’ basketball team, even when you cross state lines.
Thursday night , December 26, for the third time in four games this season, the Clippers overcame a double-digit second half deficit to score a victory. After trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, Falmouth (4-0) took control over the last eight minutes and ran away from Middletown (Rhode Island) in the first round of the 2019 Barrington Boosters Holiday Tournament.
Gerald Mahoney and Julian Hendricks each hit for 14 points and Charlie Dowick had 11 points and 15 rebounds as Falmouth scored a 56-47 victory over Middletown.
As has been the case during Falmouth’s recent rallies, the defense led the way. Middletown bombed away to hit seven three-pointers in the first half as they led by seven, 31-24. Andrew Bolano (15 points) had four threes before halftime, and Ryan Andrade knocked in three, as the Islanders were able to shoot over FHS at will,
With Hendricks and Lucas Reis (five rebounds, two steals) helping to up the pressure in the second half, Falmouth began to wreak havoc over the final eight minutes and turned the game on its ear. Back-to-back buckets from Bolano and Ben Connerton had MHS up 44-33 with 8:10 to go, then Falmouth caught fire. The result was a 20-2 run by FHS and a brand new ballgame.
Mahoney started it with a put-back and then Taylor Frye converted a steal into a fast breka basket. A Dowick rebound and transition into a fast break lay-up for Mahoney had the Clippers back to within three points with 5:23 to go.
Dowick, who was held scoreless in the first half, then pulled the team within one with two free throws and provided the first lead of the game with a strong move through the middle to make it 46-45 FHS with 4:55 remaining.
“Coach told me to keep shooting and I knew I had to make some big plays in the second half,” Dowick said. “I think we perservere and everyone busts their butt on offense and defense.”
By doing exactly that, Falmouth pulled away. Hendricks rattled a three-pointer in off the back of the rim to make it a four-point lead and then Dowick put in a miss to make it 51-45. Another lay-up from Frye in transition put the Clippers up eight with two minutes left and that was that.
“We pressured the ball and got back on defense,” coach Paul Lundberg said. “They hit seven threes in the first half, they didn’t hit any in the second half... Lucas and Julian did a great job pressuring the ball and (the rest of the team) they were running back in the middle of the floor, so we were there to tip passes.”
Falmouth 52, Mashpee 45
It’s not the biggest game of the year, it just feels like that in the moment.
In front of a packed house at the Bock Gymnasium in Mashpee, the Falmouth High School boys’ basketball delivered in the fourth quarter to upend the host Mashpee Falcons, 52-45. Junior Charlie Dowick scored 17 to lead the Clippers and seven other players got in the scorebook as it took a team effort to pull out the team’s second straight win, both on the road, to open the season.
Mashpee looked like it might blow the Clippers out of the building early on. MHS dominated the first quarter, building the lead to double figures in the opening period, as they did whatever they wanted in the early stages. Kaiden Silva started a surge by the home team with a lay-up and then Devon Hughes knocked in a three. Another trey, from Matt Bowen, and then a great play by Hughes to steal the ball at midcourt and run in for a lay-up had the Falcons up 15-5 and flying high.
Falmouth trailed by nine at the end of the first, 18-9, and by eight at the half, 29-21. Still, coach Paul Lundberg’s team never gave up. In their season-opener they trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter before rallying to pull out a win at Martha’s Vineyard. On this night, they started their rally back earlier.
With their defense forcing MHS to take shots that they didn’t want, FHS was able to chip away. The Clippers scored just five field goals in the third quarter, but were able get back to even at 35-35 by the end of the period, holding MHS to just six points in the frame.
“It looked ugly early,” Lundberg said. “I just keep saying, ‘you’ve got to keep playing.’ You can’t look back and then they finally hit a few shots... everybody contributed. I told the guys, ‘you might not play well, but if you make one play —one play—you might help us win.”
Mashpee opened the fourth quarter by getting the first two baskets as Devon Hughes got them both. He hit a short shot from the baseline and then converted a strong move through the paint to put the Falcons up 41-37.
Dowick answered with two buckets for the Clippers to tie the score at 41 with 3:33 left in the contest, and from that point forward the Clippers put their foot squarely on the gas pedal. The back-to-back Dowick buckets began a 14-0 run by the Clippers. Gerald Mahoney, who was the team’s leading scorer against the Vineyard, hit the go-ahead three-pointer with two minutes to play. Then, after a stop, Dowick got to the line for two that he hit to make it 46-41.
Taylor Frye then came through with the back-breaker for the Clippers. After another defensive stop, FHS was looking to eat some clock off the board. With two seconds left on the shot clock, Timmy Lang threw a diagonal pass to a cutting Frye, who went strong with his left hand and laid the ball in off the glass. The FHS D then held strong and Lang was immediately fouled. He hit both to put Falmouth up nine with 35 seconds to go.
Kendall Rose ended the Falmouth run by hitting a three with 20 seconds left, but it was too little, too late for Mashpee.
“We just hit more shots than they did in the second half. They went cold, they can shoot it,” Lundberg said. “Our rebounding helped in the second half, no second shots. It was good.”
“It was a good basketball game, because it was so competitive,” Mashpee coach Justin Clark said. “Everybody was getting shots, we just didn’t make any.”
Clark said the combination of Falmouth’s tough defense, and his team not knocking in the open looks it was given, was the difference.
“Us not being able to hit shots, we hit only three threes all night, and they were able to extend that zone even further out. We took it hard to the basket a few times, but unfortunately didn’t get a couple of calls. They were able to continue to make us shoot threes,” Clark said.