Defensive Dominance Drives Mashpee Into Tourney’s 2nd Round
By: Rich Maclone
The emphasis in practice all week for the Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team leading into the MIAA state tournament was on defense.
“They say, offense wins games, defense wins championships,” MHS Head Coach Rick Boulrisse said. Well, if Wednesday night’s effort is any indication of the defensive effort that the Falcons plan on employing in the state tournament, then the MHS boys’ hoop team may have a shot at the Division 4 South title. Mashpee dominated the glass and allowed South Shore Vocational Tech to score just 10 field goals in the game, four in the first half, and took home a first round tournament win at the Bock Gymnasium, 50-36.
Mashpee moves on to face Cape Cod Academy tonight at 7 PM at Sandwich High School.
The second-seeded Seahawks defeated Bristol-Plymouth 60-56 in their tourney opener on Wednesday.
“What we’ve been preaching is defense and I think we had one of our better defensive games of the season. We rebounded the ball well, we held them to one shot and we contested shots. It was our best rebounding effort, as a team, all year,” Boulrisse said.
Mashpee’s defense stifled South Shore all night long, keeping the Vikings from establishing anything on that end of the court. It was on the glass where Mashpee’s advantage was biggest. SSVT players grabbed a total of 17 rebounds in the game, with Josh Ruffin leading the charge with five. Mashpee came up with more that twice that number, combining for 39, with Nakia Hendricks and Malik Lee each getting nine. Neither team did much of anything offensively during the first half of the game. At the break, the Falcons led by just four points, 21-17, as SSVT was kept in the game by junior guard Joe Draichio, who shot 7-for-8 at the free-throw line in the half. Mashpee, on the other hand, went just 1-for-8 from the charity stripe during the first 16 minutes.
But that clamp-down defense helped the Falcons to turn things in their favor permanently in the second half, right out of the gate. Cody Hendricks, who had a monster night for the Falcons, opened the half with a steal that he took the distance for a lay-up. MHS pilfered the ball away from the Vikes on their next possession, with Kevin Frye doing the damage and just like that the four-point halftime lead jumped to eight points. Nakia Hendricks then swatted away an effort by Korey Fitzgerald (13 points) on the other end before dropping in his first points of the night with a floater off the baseline 1:08 into the third quarter, making it 27-17 in Mashpee’s favor.
The Hendricks cousins were certainly difference makers on the night. Cody Hendricks led all scorers with 19 points. He also grabbed three rebounds, dished out four assists and came up with seven steals on the night. Nakia Hendricks finished with 10 points, all in the second half, with nine boards, four steals and four blocked shots.
After getting the lead to 10, it hovered around that number for most of the third quarter. South Shore closed to within 34-27 with 1:38 left in the period, after a lay-up and a free throw by Fitzgerald, but Cody Hendricks ended the quarter with a bang for MHS. The shooting guard knocked down a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left in the third and then stole the ball away from Michael Reale (9 points) and took it for a conventional 3-point play with 35 ticks left on the clock in the period. That made it a 40-27 game and South Shore never threatened again.
“Getting that to double figures, right at the end, you go to the fourth quarter at double figures, that’s big. I don’t know why … for the other team it’s just a mental difference,” Boulrisse said.
MHS rolled the lead up to as many as 20 late in the fourth. The team’s final points came from Nakia Hendricks, who started the night with a huge smile on his face in the lay-up line and finished it with another one after turning a feed from Justin McCartney into a room-pleasing two-handed dunk with 2:25 left in the game, making it 50-30. Hendricks returned to the lineup after missing over a week with injuries sustained in an off-the-court incident.
Boulrisse said that he smiled even bigger on Monday when he walked into practice with a note from his doctor granting him medical clearance to participate in basketball-related activities.
“He was still a little bit rusty, but he got into the flow of things…It’s still going to take him a while to get back to Niko, but he hit some big shots,” the coach said.
Now the Falcons prepare for the Seahawks of CCA, who are just down Route 28, just a few miles from the MHS campus. CCA features big man Sam Johnson, who is a physical specimen that runs the floor well and does a nice job of rebounding the ball.
“It’s so tough, you never know, we want to go a couple of rounds. Cape Cod Academy is tough, Sam Johnson is real tough on the boards. We’ve got to play the defense, and not let teams get off and shoot well and that will allow us to get into a flow,” Boulrisse said. The winner of that game will meet the winner of Bishop Connolly (15-6) and Carver (11-10), both of whom survived first round games against Cape teams. Connolly scored a 64-52 win over Monomoy and Carver beat Pope John Paul II, 68-51.
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.