Mashpee Boys' Hoops Welcomes New Coach With Opening Day Win
By: Rich Maclone
If basketball games were played on turf, the Mashpee Falcon uniforms would have been downright filthy after their season opener at the Bock Gymnasium on Tuesday night against Monomoy Regional High School. New Head Coach Rick Boulrisse would have been happy to have had to deal with all of the stains.
With a gritty performance against the Sharks, which featured hustle and grit from the Falcons for four quarters, Mashpee opened the ledger for the new skipper with a positive inscription as they upended the visitors 52-47.
“It’s always fun to get the first win, and I didn’t want to have to wait for it,” the Falcons’ new coach said after the victory. “The kids just ground it out late in the game. (Monomoy) tied it, they went up by one, and we just kept getting stops and all of sudden we got a couple of baskets. We got two, three in a row. It was all defense; it was ugly. It was no pretty picture.”
Personifying the win for the Falcons was a pair of the team’s role players who each played huge roles. Forward Justin McCartney-Peters made the biggest plays of the game at crunch time, including a clutch corner 3-pointer with 47 seconds left that gave his team a six-point lead, all but icing the game. He then extended that lead to eight with a pair of free throws with 18 seconds to go.
“He did some big things late. He hit that three to put us up two possessions, and the free throws made it a three-possession game, and he got on the floor and forced a jump ball late too,” Boulrisse said.
The other unsung hero of the night was forward Scott Matoian. The starting small forward played the entire game in fifth gear as he chipped in with six points, three assists and three steals.
It’s always fun to get the first win, and I didn’t want to have to wait for it.
“That’s Scott’s game. It’s not always a pretty game. He plays hard, he runs, he rebounds, he does all those little things. Get on the floor, whatever it takes,” said the coach.
Monomoy guard Jon Robinson was the pregame story as the high scorer came into the contest needing just a single point to join the exclusive 1,000-point club. Robinson made the mark early on, scoring his team’s first bucket 2:34 into the contest to put him at 1,001. The game was halted to recognize the accomplishment and Robinson received an ovation from the fans of both teams.
That was the only real memorable moment for Robinson in the game, though. The Falcons shut him down the rest of the way as the talented shooter finished the night with just eight points. He was noticeably uninvolved offensively when the game mattered most, going scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Containing Robinson Key To Game
Boulrisse said that holding Robinson in check was part of the game plan. “He’s a tough player; we just kept running guys at him; we kept not sagging. We know he’s one of the top players on the Cape, so we just kept working him and making him run...we ran two or three athletes at him all game.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair for four quarters, with Mashpee pulling ahead for good late. Monomoy overcame a quick start by Mashpee to lead after one quarter, 16-7. MHS then reeled the Sharks back in the second quarter. The Falcons outscored their visitors 19-5 in the second to take a 28-21 lead into the intermission. Mashpee’s leading scorer, Nakia Hendricks (14 points, 5 rebounds), keyed the team’s surge late in the quarter.
After sitting out a long stretch due to foul trouble, he re-entered the game with the Falcons down 18-14 midway through the period. MHS fed him right away on the fast break for a bucket and he then turned a pretty spin move into two, free-throw attempts that he sank to tie the score at 18.
The rejuvenated Falcons began to hit on all cylinders and played their best ball of the night for the rest of the quarter. Guard Cody Hendricks (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) drove to the basket and got fouled for a 3-point play to put his team on top and then on the next trip Matoian stuck back an offensive rebound to make it a 23-20 game. A free throw by Cody Hendricks, a McCartney floater and a lay-up by Cody Hendricks closed out the half, with Monomoy adding a single free throw over the final two minutes.
In the third quarter the game settled into a back-and-forth rhythm. Monomoy battled back to tie it at 32 with about three minutes left in the period, but Mashpee regained the lead and held it at 40-37 at the end of three.
The Sharks used free throws to get close in the fourth, and a pair of Steven Gonsalves freebies with 4:25 left put the visitors ahead for the first time since the second quarter, 42-21. The Monomoy advantage was short-lived, though.
Nakia Hendricks turned the game around for the Falcons with four straight athletic plays. It started with a weak side put-back dunk that made it 43-42. Then on the defensive end, Hendricks swatted a Gonsalves shot into oblivion before coming up with the defensive rebound of a missed shot a few seconds later that he sent ahead for Cody Hendricks who laid the ball in while getting fouled. The free throw made it 46-42. “Once (Nakia) gets the ball, he gets so much attention. Three or four guys are around him,” Boulrisse said. “As soon as he gets the ball, three or four people collapse on him, but he kept his head pretty well, and we stayed with it, and other guys picked up the baskets.”
With the Falcon lead at three, McCartney delivered the dagger to the Sharks. The senior spotted up in the left-hand corner and caught and shot a feed from Cody Hendricks, rattling it in for three points and a 50-44 lead. He later added the aforementioned free throws that increased the lead to eight points, which nullified any impact of the 3-pointer that Evan Forgeron hit seconds later.
Boulrisse said that it may not have been a pretty win, but he likes ugly wins when they come in that style. “We just had stops...we kept grinding, we kept playing D and we got our stops there which led to (chances).”
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