Falmouth Boys Keep Pace Atop Atlantic Coast League
By: Rich Maclone
A big second quarter for Falmouth (8-2, 5-1 ACL) put the Clippers on top by 10 points by halftime Wednesday night. Sandwich (5-5, 2-4 ACL) attempted a second half comeback, but ended up trading points with the visitors as the Clippers sailed to a 69-60 win.
“It’s always a very tough game every time we play Sandwich,” Clippers Coach Paul Lundberg said. “They have a tough team.”
The game marked the mid-point of the ACL season for the Clippers. With the 5-1 league mark Falmouth finds itself in a three-way deadlock for first place. They are tied with both Plymouth North and Marshfield.
The Blue Knights opened strongly, scoring eight unanswered points. Brian Hickey and Al Stanton worked their way inside against a tough Falmouth defense, while Josh Downes knocked down a couple for the early SHS lead. DK Johnson cut the lead on a pass from John Lavin down low and Nelson Baptiste made it a two-point game with 3:16 left.
Sandwich edged ahead with two from the free throw line by John Hendy, but Falmouth cut it to one with a Johnson three-pointer from the top of the key.
Falmouth outscored the Blue Knights 17-6 in the second quarter, with Lavin scoring eight of his 23 points on the night. Downes made a nice move to the net early in the quarter for the Knights, but the Clippers outscored Sandwich 12-2 in the first 5:43 of the quarter.
Hendy and Stanton hit down the stretch for the Knights, but seven Sandwich turnovers left the Clippers on top 33-23 at halftime.
“It’s tough when you throw the ball around,” Sandwich Coach Mike O’Brien said. “We missed some key opportunities.”
Sandwich cut into the Falmouth lead in the third quarter. Stanton opened the second half with a three-pointer from the right side. Downes drove the lane for two more, but a Falmouth trey by David Kent kept things tight.
Stanton cracked the tough Falmouth 2-3 zone defense for two points, but another Clipper trey, this time by Baptiste, put FHS up by 11 points. Lavin added two baskets for a 15-point Falmouth lead with 3:38 left, but Stanton answered with his second three-pointer and a put back.
Dylan Mansfield drained a trey for the Clippers down the stretch, but the Knights came back with a bomb from beyond the arc by Justin Fitzmaurice. Baptiste stole the ball in the final seconds going the length of the court for a couple. Stanton hit a jumper to end the quarter with the Knights trailing 54-44.
In the final quarter Falmouth maintained the 12-point lead until the final minute when Stanton hit a jumper and Fitzmaurice hit another trey. Fitzmaurice ended the scoring for the Knights with a put back.
“In the second half they broke our zone,” Lundberg said, “but we picked up a tough road win. Our defense played tough and the kids took care of the ball.”
Baptiste led all scorers with 26 points, including two three-pointers. Lavin had 23 points for Falmouth and Johnson finished with 13. Stanton led the Knights with 20 points. Downes added 15 and Fitzmaurice had 11, including three treys.
“I thought we played them tough in the second half,” O’Brien added. “We were getting more movement on the ball.”
The Clippers return to action tonight with a home game at the Antonucci Field House against Nauset High School. The Clippers won the first meeting between the two teams back in December, beating the Warriors on their home court by a 57-44 score.
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