There’s little doubt that the Mashpee High School girls’ basketball team has great things ahead, and the Lady Falcons, playing in the Hyannis Youth and Community Center’s high school summer league, proved that point emphatically with a run all the way to the championship game.
The Falcons took the Barnstable Red Raiders to the brink, but the deeper squad from the Cape’s largest school was able to wear down MHS and score a 41-36 victory in the title game.
Rising freshman Hialeah Turner-Foster was a dynamo over the course of the game for the Falcons. Turner-Foster scored a game-high 22 points, picking up the slack with the team’s top scorer, Ashley Keleher, unable to play due to a prior commitment. Turner-Foster kept Mashpee in the game with great interior moves to the basket throughout the second half despite a Barnstable defensive effort that closed the doors tight against the rest of the squad.
Mashpee dominated at times during the first half and took a lead into the half. The team was up six late in the first, but Barnstable closed it down to a one possession game by halftime. MHS held a 24-22 lead at the break.
In the second half the Red Raiders used a two-pronged approach to pull ahead. Guard Olivia Gourdine dictated the game flow and used her defense to create offensive chances for the Red Raiders. Gourdine scored 16 to lead her squad.
BHS was able to wear down Mashpee in part because of their size advantage in the post. Center Tianna Fernades refused to give Kalajia Moore room to breathe down low and leaned on her throughout the second half. With the referees not calling the game tightly, Fernandes was able to move Moore at will. Moore was held to just three points, and kept off the board in the second half. Fernandes had eight points, but also dominated the glass.
With Gourdine pushing the pace Barnstable took over over the final six minutes and built their lead up to seven points with 5:35 left on a Gourdine steal that led to a fast break lay-in by Dajanay Mendes (6 points). The lead was still seven with two minutes to play. Mashpee made a push and closed to within four after a Turner-Foster free throw and then an Amiyah Peters (6 points) steal that led to a fast break bucket for Turner-Foster with 40 seconds to play.
Barnstable closed it out though in the clutch. Mendes, who had missed all four of the free throws that she had taken in the game, converted both ends of a one-and-one with 27 seconds left to push her team’s lead up to six. Turner-Foster got to the free throw line with 20 ticks on the clock, and hit the first one. Barnstable then threw the ball away, giving Mashpee renewed hope, but the Falcons were unable to get off a good look from three-point land and Barnstable finished it off with the win.