All the Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team wanted for Christmas was its first victory. Santa delivered just that on Monday afternoon at the Bock Gymnasium, with a little bit of help from MHS senior guard Kevin Frye.
The Mashpee captain came up huge at crunch time, knocking down a couple of big shots and sealing the deal at the free throw line. Frye scored 16 points in the game, including five-of-six from the charity stripe in the last minute, to lead the Mashpee Falcons past visiting Nantucket High School, 57-52.
MHS is now 1-2 overall on the season.
“Kevin did a really good job in the fourth quarter. He hit a big three to push the lead from four to seven points and he hit a bunch at the free throw line with the game on the line,” head coach Rick Boulrisse said.
Point guard Shawn Hendricks (eight points) had fouled out of the game with a few minutes left to go. With Nantucket employing a pressure defense, in an attempt to cut in the Falcons’ lead, Frye was called upon to be the primary ball-handler. Boulrisse said that he did a fine job of protecting the basketball and came through with free throws when the team needed them. The only one that he missed was the final one of the game, with MHS leading by five points with just five seconds left.
“We never gave up the lead, but it got down to two a few times. We had a lot of leadership late in the game,” the coach said.
Gino Fellini had his best game as a varsity player thus far for the Falcons. The forward had a career-high 14 points in the game, including a big 3-pointer and several lay-ups as he worked hard to get to the basket throughout the game.
MHS had enjoyed a double-digit lead in the first half, but Nantucket whittled it down to a manageable number in the second half. Led by Will Ferreira, who had 18 points, the Whalers hung around and made it close at crunch time.
To counter the Whalers’ comeback, Mashpee broke out its pressure defense, which proved to be a definitive move in the game. “When we went into full court pressure, it created turnovers and we got some easy baskets. It sped up the game, and that was big,” Boulrisse said.
Freshman Nick Carpenter, who played some important minutes of the game, made one of the game’s biggest defensive plays. The rookie came up with a tipped ball defensively late in the contest that landed in Frye’s hands. The senior then was fouled and knocked down a couple of free throws.
More than anything else, the victory does wonders for the Falcons’ collective psyche. The team suffered a lopsided loss in its opener to Norwell, and then on Friday hung around against Monomoy before the Sharks pulled away late to make it a 13-point differential at the final buzzer. Boulrisse said that getting a win was just what the doctor ordered.
“To pull it out, and make the right passes and hit the clutch baskets was great,” the coach said. “It’s a huge confidence thing for the kids. Offensively we’re coming further, starting to figure things out.”
Mashpee will be at home tomorrow in the first round of the annual Stripes Tournament against Upper Cape Tech at 6:30. On Monday, the team will play in the second round, at a time to be determined, at Falmouth High.