For the first time in nearly a month, the Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team played in front of its home fans at the Bock Gymnasium on Tuesday evening. The setting was comfortable, but the lead never was as the Pirates of Hull proved to be quite pesky for four quarters.
Behind a statement game from center Nakia Hendricks, who dominated throughout, the Falcons survived a late run by the Pirates and held on for a 47-45 victory to improve to 13-4 on the season and 9-4 in the South Shore League.
Hendricks showed off all of the variables that have many local colleges hoping to have him sign on to play for their programs. He threw down dunks, knocked down jump shots, grabbed rebounds and even handled the ball against Hull’s pressure. The senior finished the night with 28 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive) and a pair of blocked shots.
Even with the explosive Hendricks having a highlight reel night, Hull had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but the Falcons held on. After a rare missed shot by Hendricks with eight seconds left to play, which would have extended the lead to four points, Hull came down with the rebound. Justin McCartney-Peters then tipped the ball loose and dove on the court, forcing a jump ball with 6.9 seconds left as he and Mack Murphy tied the ball up. Murphy’s team, though, owned the possession arrow and Hull called timeout to set up a final play with 6.9 seconds left to go.
The play that Hull drew up worked perfectly, maybe too perfectly. Senior guard Sonny Hill got the ball on the near sideline and had a wide-open look from 3-point land that he rushed, and put up from an off-balanced position. Scott Matoian grabbed the rebound for the Falcons with 2.7 seconds to play, and was quickly fouled.
With Hull still having a foul to give, the Falcons had to inbound the ball from under their own basket, and Hill once again gave his team a chance, but it was not meant to be for the Pirates. After starting the game red hot, scoring 8 points in the opening few minutes, Hill cooled down and couldn’t get anything to fall. His last ditch effort came off an athletic steal of Mashpee’s inbound pass under the hoop. Hill had more time than he thought, and never squared to the basket after pilfering the ball, opting instead to shove his shot over his head while facing in the opposite direction of the rim. The ball hit the front of the rim and bounced off just before the horn and Mashpee escaped with a win.
“That’s our league for you,” said a clearly run down Head Coach Rick Boulrisse, who has been fighting illness for the last several weeks. “It doesn’t matter that they had only two league wins coming into the game. Every team in our league is going to fight every night.”
It appeared that the Falcons were about to drop the hammer on the Pirates in the fourth quarter, but let the visitors back into the game at crunch time. Malik Lee’s lone bucket of the night, with 2:33 to play, extended the home team’s lead to 45-38.
Hull fired back, though, and ran off five quick points to make it a one-possession game in barely any time at all. Murphy knocked down a quick corner three after the Lee jumper and the Pirates turned a Mashpee traveling violation into a foul line jump shot by Erik Johnson (10 points) with 1:36 left to make it 45-43.
Cody Hendricks pushed the Falcons’ lead back to four with about 35 seconds left. The guard, who finished with 9 points and 7 assists, drove behind a Nakia Hendricks screen and laid it off the glass to make it 47-45. Hull scored quickly after that, on a Johnson lay-up, to set up the drama late in the game.
The first three quarters were much like the last one, back and forth. Hull came out red hot, with Hill leading the charge. The Pirates sprinted to a 13-4 lead early, but Nakia Hendricks began his assault and helped Mashpee get back into it. MHS came back to tie the score at 17-all late in the second quarter when Nakia Hendricks played above the rim, grabbing a missed shot by Lee and dunking it with force. Christian Fuda put HHS back up a basket with 1:30 left to play in the period, but Shawn Hendricks set up a long Nakia Hendricks jump shot that knotted things at 19.
Hull scored the last three points of the first half to take a 22-19 lead into the intermission.
Mashpee dominated the third period. The Falcons opened the second half with a 10-2 run as the team set up its offense with defensive pressure. The first basket of the half was a tomahawk jam by Nakia Hendricks of a nice feed by McCartney-Peters. A Cody Hendricks steal then led to a Matoian lay-up on the break, and Mashpee’s first lead of the night, 23-22. Nakia Hendricks then dropped in a floater. After a put-back by Hull’s Mike Warren, Cody Hendricks threw a pretty weak side lob to Matoian for a lay-up off the window that got the lead back up to three. Matoian then set up a back door lay-up by Nakia Hendricks as Mashpee could do no wrong on the offensive end. At the end of three quarters, Mashpee led 33-27.
Next up for the Falcons is a big time showdown against league-leading Rockland High School tonight at home. The Falcons were run out of the gym by the Bulldogs on their home court a few weeks back and Mashpee is looking to avenge that defeat.
“They got us up there, and we’re looking to give one back,” Boulrisse said.