Bottled Up

Cohasset's defense against Hialeah Turner-Foster and the rest of the Mashpee girls' basketball team prevented the Falcons from rallying in the fourth quarter as the Skippers scored a win in Mashpee.

Cohasset High School knocked the Mashpee High School girls’ basketball team out of the state tournament last year in an emotional game at the Bock Gymnasium, and for the last 10 months the Falcons have thought a lot about getting some payback. Their chance to do that came on Tuesday, January 7, once again at home.

Cohasset did it to them again, though.

“I think, personally, there was probably more pressure on us to win the game, and the pressure got to us a little bit,” MHS head coach Chris Tresca said. “I don’t think it was anything special that Cohasset did that made us not do well.”

The Skippers’ superior size and depth wore down the Falcons in a game in which MHS had every opportunity to get to the buzzer with a win, but their inability to produce on the offensive end of the court in the fourth quarter was their downfall. Freshman Stella Stecei opened the fourth up with a steal at midcourt that she ran to the hoop for a lay-up. That bucket sliced the Coho lead to just three points, 32-29. It was also the final field goal of the game for MHS.

Mashpee (3-3, 0-3 South Shore League) went o-for-the rest of the game from the field as the hoop seemed to grow a lid. MHS managed just two more points, on a pair of Ashley Keleher free throws, in the period.

Cohasset players did not exactly light the world ablaze themselves in the fourth. Mashpee’s defense was very good, holding CHS to just nine points over the last eight minutes, but it was more than enough to hold off the home team.

“We missed a lot of shots. When you hit eight field goals for the game, and you end up getting 13 points in the second half, it’s tough to win a ballgame,” Tresca said. “Early on we just missed a lot of shots, and in the fourth our offense got really stagnant. It became very isolated basketball. Some girls were trying to make things happen, because we were really struggling... still, they only scored 41. Defensively, we did enough to win the game.”

Mashpee’s defense was fine, and could have been even better if it had been able to do what it wanted to do with more regularity. The Falcons favor pressing the full court, which is much easier to set up when baskets are being made. MHS still was able to extend its defense in the half court and made things tough for CHS, but the Skippers got 20 points from Molly Greer, many of which came on second-effort baskets.

Cohasset’s size advantage underneath, and depth on the bench, were problematic for Mashpee. MHS got stops on most first shot attempts by the Skippers in both halves, but the visitors dominated the glass and set themselves up for second and third opportunities with regularity.

“We’re so undersized, and so thin, and I know that the pressing wears us down some, but if we just sit back and let them come at us I don’t think that that’s going to be successful either,” Tresca said.

Cohasset held the lead throughout the first half, but a late rally in the second quarter tightened things up. Ashley Keleher (8 points) scored a pair of free throws to bring the team within three and then made it a one-point game when she finished off a great team play that saw Kalajia Moore bring down a defensive rebound and get it right to Amiyah Peters, who heaved the ball ahead for Keleher for a scoop lay-up.

That bucket pulled MHS within one point, 19-18, at the half. In the second half they continued to rally, taking the lead on another lay-up by Keleher. Cohasset bounced back, but Peters tied the game at 23 on on a three-point bomb.

After that the Falcons offense hit a lull, and Cohasset powered ahead. It had a 32-27 lead by the end of three and then put the game out of reach in the fourth.

Mashpee does not play again until next Tuesday, January 14. They’ll square off against Norwell High on the road that night.

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