Hendricks Leads Mashpee Boys' Hoops Over Carver
By: Rich Maclone
Basketball is a game of matchups and the South Shore League is learning just how difficult it is to match up against Mashpee center Nakia Hendricks. The lanky, big man had his way against the Carver Crusaders on Tuesday night as he led the Falcons to a 70-59 win at home as the blue and white improved to 3-0 overall to start the year and 2-0 in the South Shore League.
Hendricks was dynamic in the paint for Mashpee, where he used a variety of spin moves, hook shots and old-fashioned dunks to wreak havoc against the Carver defense. He finished with a game-high 29 points. Hendricks also had 11 rebounds and five assists.
The big man wasn’t the only issue that Carver had defensively in the game. Power forward Malik Lee, despite constant foul trouble, finished with 13 points and four rebounds while Cody Hendricks had eight points, three rebounds and eight assists.
Hendricks and Lee were key for the Falcons down the stretch. Over the course of the final five minutes of the game, the Crusaders did everything they could to turn the game into a helter-skelter affair with their full court press looking to force turnovers. Mashpee was able to utilize the two big men in the middle of the floor to catch the ball over the pressing guards and find open teammates for easy baskets. “If they get the ball in the middle of the press, you’re not nervous because they’re not just big guys, they’re basketball players, they are not just bigger players,” Mashpee Head Coach Rick Boulrisse said.
A put-back by the Crusaders’ Tony Pires (23 points) with 4:45 left cut the Falcons’ lead down to 10 at 57-47, but Mashpee held on by taking care of the ball. All five of Mashpee’s field goals at crunch time were on lay-ups, and the team also went 3-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch.
Nakia Hendricks was in the middle of it all. With CHS pressing, he first found a cutting Lee for a lay-up, after the Pires basket, to get it back to 12 and then, after a Carver traveling violation, the big man drove down the lane and dished it off for a Lee lay-up that pushed the lead back to 14 at 61-47.
Pires then hit a couple of free throws to make it a 12-point game. With 2:55 to play, after a traveling call against Carver, Scott Matoian made a nice play that led to an easy bucket. With most of the CHS team up around the basket trying to get after the inbound pass, Matoian heaved a long ball up the floor for Cody Hendricks who ran under it like a wide receiver, caught it and took it to the rim for a lay-up.
Carver got it to 11 with a 3-pointer by James Frazier, but the Falcons were able to answer that with a ferocious dunk by Nakia Hendricks as Cody Hendricks drove the lane, drew the defense and dished it off for his cousin, who did the rest with 1:42 to play. Carver never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
“We did a nice job in the last four minutes against the press. We didn’t really turn it over. Our kids did a nice job of getting to the open spot and finding the guy that was cutting to the open area,” Boulrisse said. “They played a very smart game against the press in the last four minutes.”
Mashpee ran Carver ragged in the first half. The Falcons fed Nakia Hendricks every chance that they got, and that helped them build a 19-10 lead after a quarter and a 37-19 halftime lead. Carver began to reel the Falcons back in some in the second half. CHS scored the first six points of the second half to get to within 12 but never was able to whittle the lead into single-digit territory.
Carver had momentum going in the last minute of the third quarter as back-to-back buckets had the Falcon lead down to 11, but Mashpee finished strong over the final 20 seconds. First Nakia Hendricks used a great spin move to get to the rack for a lay-up with 20 ticks left, which was set up by Phil Hamm. When CHS inbounded the ball, Hamm came up with the steal and went to the rim to throw up a lay-up off a give-and-go with Cody Hendricks. The shot spun off, but Matoian had position for the put-back at the buzzer that made it 53-38 after three.
“We scored four points in the last 10 seconds or so, and those two (baskets) kind of made it seem like a bigger (lead) than maybe it was. I thought that was big,” Boulrisse said.
Matoian had a workmanlike effort for MHS. Those points were his only two of the night, but he pulled in 10 rebounds, had five assists and two steals. “He moved from his three spot down to the four spot (with Lee in foul trouble) and came up with a lot of defensive rebounds,” Boulrisse said.
Overall, Boulrisse said he was pleased with the team’s overall effort as they took care of business once again and did not allow the emotion of the game to rattle them. “We have to keep playing with intensity and not emotion. You can be fired up and intense, but save the emotion for in the locker room afterward. For the most part we did that. They kept their heads,” he said.
Over the weekend, Mashpee beat up on Nantucket, taking a 66-34 decision at home on Saturday. Nakia Hendricks led the way with 17 points and Matoian had 12. MHS jumped out early on Nantucket, taking a 21-9 lead after the first eight minutes and by halftime it was 40-16.
The home crowd was going to go home happy anyway, but junior Robbie Hendricks made sure of it in the final seconds. The junior guard drove the length of the court and hit a circus-worthy up-and-under scoop shot just before the buzzer.
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