As the popular Nike slogan goes, basketball never stops. Those three words hold true even on the Cape amid the humid, muggy summer months.
Five schools and six teams gather every Wednesday and Thursday at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center for the facility’s annual high school summer league. It’s there where teams hope to gain continuity and experience while staying in game shape instead of sitting on the couch or lying on the beach.
Sandwich, Mashpee, St. John Paul II, Cape Cod Tech and two Barnstable teams square off in a six-game schedule before a three-team playoff begins on August 7. Cape Cod Tech, SJPII and the JV Barnstable team make up the Small Division while Sandwich, Mashpee and the varsity Barnstable team make up the Large Division. The season culminates on August 8 for 5 PM and 6 PM championship games. Each game is typically on a shortened court with two 20-minute halves.
Below is a notebook of of the two local teams in action, the Mashpee Falcons and the Sandwich Blue Knights on Wednesday, July 24.
Mashpee 35, Sandwich 24
Leading by nine points, 26-17, early in the second half, the Falcons used their size and strength to muscle out a win against the Blue Knights.
Despite playing with eight players to Sandwich’s nine, Mashpee often outmanned the Knights in the paint, leading to quick outlet passes on the defensive end and second-chance opportunities offensively. Both teams battled admirably for loose balls as neither side didn’t mind sacrificing the body.
Mashpee pulled down three-straight offensive rebounds before finally scoring and getting fouled. The made free throw gave the Falcons a 29-20 lead with 9:09 left in the game. Prior to that, the Blue Knights sustained a long stretch of good defense and made the most of their hustle play to close within two possessions, 26-20.
Sandwich was at its best offensively when players were cutting to the hoop without the ball and playing a traditional, unselfish style of play. They seemed to favor the bounce pass on back-door cuts to beat defenders to the basket. But free throws doomed the Knights as they missed five of their last six attempts from the charity stripe.
Mashpee, on the other hand, padded its lead from the free throw line. Using a pound-the-paint tactic, the Falcons showed the ability to draw and absorb contact and convert free throws. Mashpee also appeared to be the more aggressive team, deploying a full-court press with six minutes left and an 11-point lead.
With the win the Falcons improved to 4-2 in the summer league, while the Knights fell to 1-3. Mashpee plays again on Wednesday, July 31, at 5 PM when they will meet Sandwich once again.