As the popular Nike slogan goes, basketball never stops. Those three words hold true even on the Cape amid the humid, muggy summer months.
Seven schools and eight teams gather every Tuesday 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.
Dennis-Yarmouth, Cape Cod Academy, Monomoy, Mashpee, Nauset, Sandwich and two Barnstable teams battle it out in a seven-game schedule before a four-team playoff begins on August 7. The season culminates on August 9 for an 8 PM championship game. Each game is played on a shortened court with two 20-minute halves of running time.
Below is a notebook of the local teams and players from Tuesday, July 15’s slate of games.
Sandwich Blue Knights
In a battle between two teams with two distinctly different styles of play, the Cape Cod Academy Seahawks pulled away late on the Blue Knights for a 47-36 win in the night cap of Tuesday’s slate of games.
The Seahawks, led by the the trio of Bourne native Jaedan Greenleaf, Andrew James and Alex Marchant, play with a splash of flash—pulling off captivating crossover dribbles and pulling up from deep with regularity. Sandwich, which will feature a new cast of characters in 2019, are methodically fundamental—relying on doing the little things to get by opponents.
The Knights return key starters Chris Cronin and JP Downes from last year’s squad, but were notably missing wing player Connor Campbell. The rising senior transferred to Dennis-Yarmouth after serving as a team captain during the 2018-19 campaign. Looking to fill the holes left by Campbell and graduated senior Eric Conrad are Will Harmon, George Hood, Kyle McNally, Matt and Jack Mandy, Tim Bengtson and Logan Murphy, although Harmon was the only player to see any considerable time on the varsity roster last season.
CCA jumped out in front fast—typical for the Division 4 South semifinalist from the Cape & Islands League, but Sandwich’s discipline on both ends of the floor kept them within striking distance for most of the game. Whether it was making the extra pass or following shots to grab offensive rebounds for putback buckets, the Knights wouldn’t go down with ease.
The marquee matchup was between the two point guards in Greenleaf and Downes, who both play a similar style of game. Although they weren’t solely guarding one another, the two traded crossover combinations along the 3-point arc in an effort to shake free of one another and raining three’s over each other’s heads.
Both Downes and Cronin displayed quick hands defensively, although Cronin found himself in foul trouble throughout the game. Bengtson and Murphy are two incoming freshman who showed promise and made an early case to crack the varsity rotation come December while the Mandy brothers brought a degree of size and grit at the forward positions.
But, as was the case throughout the season, CCA quickly turned a one-possession lead into a double-digit advantage late in the game with their ability to knock down shots, particularly from long range.
The Falcons may have graduated their all-time leading scorer in Devaun Ford and a South Shore League all-star in Brett Pells, but there are other players ready to fill the scoring void left by last year’s top two players.
Squaring off against Nauset on Tuesday in the second part of a basketball quadruple-header, the Falcons boasted seven players who showed promise on both ends of the court.
Although Mashpee lost, 46-42, the Division 4 team held its own against its Division 2 counterpart, particularly guard Ryan Hendricks. With his team trailing 19-13 at halftime, Hendricks helped spark a 10-0 run as he knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers to open the scoring in the second half. He regularly spotted up in the corner, when he wasn’t bringing up the ball, and driving baseline—showing off solid body control in the air and absorbing contact well.
Devon Hughes also saw regular time at the guard position, flashing some creativity with a nifty left-handed lay-in on an inbounds play along the baseline late in the first half.
The forward rotation of Kaiden Silva, Kendall Rose, Matthew Bowen, Cam Dennis and Nick Santos should give second-year head coach Justin Clark plenty to work with in the frontcourt come winter.
Rose, a standout on the gridiron along with Bowen, brings a level of grit as well as the ability to run the point as a bigger-body guard if the Falcons want to go with a big lineup. Silva and Santos are lengthy, athletic wings who can score and defend in the paint in addition to knocking down shots. That was evident with Santos as he made three-straight buckets, displaying sound footwork and quick post moves. Silva had a block and strong defensive stop on back-to-back possessions as Mashpee was attempting a late-game comeback with less than two minutes left in the game.
The Falcons were at their best when moving without the ball, setting off-ball screens and backdoor cuts. They appeared to have an affinity for the bounce-pass, scoring quite a few buckets with that particular trick of the trade.