Payback was a beautiful thing for the Falmouth High School girls’ basketball team. Undefeated Nauset was the only team to put a blemish on the Clippers’ record this season, but FHS returned the favor—with interest—with a dominating performance at the Antonucci Field House Thursday, February 18. Seniors Lily Craft and Ari Silvia combined for 36 points and Falmouth’s defense suffocated the Warriors from start to finish in a 51-22 decision.
FHS is now 9-1 overall on the season. The Clippers play Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21, at Nantucket and at home against Barnstable, respectively. Wins would give the team a share of the Cape and Islands title with NHS.
Silvia had perhaps her finest game as a high school performer, dominating in every aspect. She finished with 17 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 7 steals. Craft had a game-high 19 and manned-up on the league’s leading scorer, Avery Burns, who entered the game averaging 23 points per outing. Craft held her to just four points.
“She’s the best defender in the league in my opinion,” head coach Bob Buscher said. “She can just take players out of the game.”
Looking to build energy out of the gate, Falmouth pressed the Warriors relentlessly. The team did not shoot the ball well, but forced turnovers and tipped balls constantly as they built a 17-8 halftime lead. The lead seemed bigger than it actually was because FHS gave NHS no room to make anything happen.
In the third quarter things began to open up. FHS settled into a halfcourt defense, but their offensive flow began to find a rhythm, and FHS pulled away as Craft hit for eight points in the third and Silvia had five. Back-to-back drives to the basket by Craft were the backbreakers as she twice took her first step from the left wing and went by her man, scooping the ball in. On the second she was fouled and completed the and-one play to put her team up by 16. By the end of three Falmouth was up 34-16.
In the fourth, it was more of the same as the Clippers took turns making big plays. Teagan Lind and Tish Blackwood, the team’s excellent freshman front court players, were huge on the glass. Blackwood had 14 rebounds, to go with eight points. Lind had six points and seven rebounds.
Silvia said that her team was nervous early on, explaining the slow start, but pointed to the way the team defended to being the difference in the game.
“Our defense, our help defense, helping off the two bigs and the number-one scorer in the league, that was big,” Silvia said. “We didn’t help off of (Burns), so that helped a lot. Lily just stayed on her the whole game and she didn’t really get any shots off.”
Craft said that the entire team’s efforts on defense was the difference.
“They’re one of our biggest competitors, especially this year. I love playing against them; it’s fun. I have some friends on that team, so it’s fun,” Craft said. “I feel like everything was shared really well among everyone. It’s really fun when everyone is involved and everyone has the same intensity.”
In a normal year that intensity could point toward a deep run in the state tournament. Coach Buscher said that he thinks that this year’s group would have been capable of just that. Instead they’ll have to settle for a run at the Cape and Islands title, and that will be where their mindset is at the rest of the way.
“This game was huge, just for the kids to finally get to play well against Nauset. We had severe foul trouble up there against them early in the season. This, this is what they are, and I wish we had a state tournament because we can play. Because of that, this is our Super Bowl, and hopefully we’ll get to see them again next week (in the league tournament) and we’ll really get to see who is who.”