Road Ends In D4 Semis For Mashpee Boys' Basketball

 A late rally by the Mashpee High School boys’ basketball team fell short and the Falcons were eliminated by Bishop Connolly on Monday night from the MIAA Division 4 south state tournament in the semifinals. The Falcons rallied back from a 13-point second half deficit to get to within five points late in the game, but were ousted by the Cougars, 62-52, before a standing room only crowd at Bridgewater-Raynham High School.

Connolly won the game because they were able to dictate tempo and took away a lot of what the Falcons wanted to do offensively. All season long the Falcons thrived when they were able to turn to their run-and-gun attack, using defensive takeaways and rebounding to jumpstart their transition game. Bishop Connolly, though, did a superb job of slowing the game down, using their offensive set plays to work the ball around and find open shooters out on the wings.

Those jump shooters knocked down plenty of long range shots and kept the pressure on Mashpee to match them. Bishop Connolly also was able to all but take away Mashpee’s inside game. The Falcons have been at their best when they have been able to produce lay-ups, but those looks were few and far between for the blue and white. Mashpee managed a total of just seven lay-ups in the game and scored just three times in transition.

Senior Nakia Hendricks, who has been the Falcons’ best all-around player this year, was held in check throughout the game by the Cougars. Nakia Hendricks finished the game with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but none of his points were scored on lay-ups. He hit four field goals in the game, all of which came on jump shots, including one 3-pointer. Nakia Hendricks’ game was hindered by fouls early on. He picked up his second just six minutes into the game, and had to sit for a few minutes before being reinserted into the lineup. He did play the bulk of the first half, but the foul issues forced him to play more tentatively on the defensive end of the floor. He eventually fouled out late in the game.

The other star scorer for Mashpee, Cody Hendricks, led all players in the game with 22 points. The shooting guard was effective, as was forward Malik Lee, who chipped in with 13. Perhaps the Falcons’ biggest problem, though, was the lack of scoring from the rest of the players on the floor. Cody Hendricks, Nakia Hendricks and Lee combined to score 50 points. The rest of the Falcons were held to a total of two, which were netted by Scott Matoian.

“(Bishop Connolly was) very good. They took some things away, they were tough, physical. Give them credit, they made us earn every shot we made,” MHS Head Coach Rick Boulrisse said. “I thought we played pretty good D. Offensively, we did our stuff, but we missed shots. We missed some point blank shots...when you run your offense, and you get shots, and if they don’t go in, they don’t go in. Nothing you can do about that..”

Bishop Connolly seized control of the game late in the second quarter as they were able to build an 8-point lead, which they protected for most of the game. BC’s tandem of small forward John Goncalo and guard Tom Keyes controlled the game’s tempo and scored when it mattered most. Goncalo finished with 17 in the game and Keyes, who has over 1,300 career points, finished with 16.

After trailing by an 18-10 score, the Falcons rallied back to pull within a bucket, at 20-18, with just under four minutes to go in the first half when Cody Hendricks launched a 3-pointer that connected, which Shawn Hendricks set up. Bishop Connolly then began to find a steady rhythm, one that produced points on five consecutive offensive trips. A jumper by Keyes and then a 3-pointer by Brian Quinn pushed the BC lead to 25-18. Cody Hendricks countered with an up-and-under move for two, but then Jack Santoro tipped in a miss. Nakia Hendricks followed with a long jumper, set up by Justin McCartney to shave the lead to five again. However, Dylan Holland converted from 3-point land and then hit 1-of-2 at the line on his team’s next trip and the lead for the sixth-seeded Cougars was up to 31-22. Mashpee added a free throw before half-time to set the difference at eight at the break.

Connolly continued to pour it on in the third. Their offensive consistency allowed them to increase the lead to as many as 14 points midway through the stanza, when a Keyes jumper from the elbow made it 46-32 with three minutes left in the period. Heading to the fourth, the Falcons trailed by a dozen. Mashpee certainly made it interesting in the fourth quarter. The Falcons held back the Connolly offense over the first half of the period, allowing them just a free throw for four and a half minutes. During that time Lee hit a free throw and then a baseline jumper and Cody Hendricks drilled a long 3-pointer, cutting the lead all the way down to five points with 4:20 left in the game. But, just as Mashpee made its run, the Cougars swung back with one of their own. Bishop Connolly outscored Mashpee 8-3 at crunch time. All but two of those points came at the free throw line. MHS couldn’t buy a hoop late in the game. After the long 3-pointer by Hendricks, the Falcons fell apart. Cody Hendricks was cited for an offensive foul on a trip through the lane and then he missed jump shots on consecutive trips. Nakia Hendricks missed a 3-pointer on the following possession, before landing one with 1:25 to play in the game, which made it a 58-52 game.

Those were the final points of the night for Mashpee. BC Head Coach Matt Coute, said that he believed his team would be able to handle what Mashpee threw at his club late because of the CC.

“Sure, I was a little worried (when Mashpee cut the lead to five), but at the same time it’s nice when you have a point guard that control the game. You don’t have to call a play out every time. Tommy Keyes is a floor general, he’s a leader,” the coach said. “In crunch time, it’s nice to have a kid that can handle the ball and control the game. I was worried, but I knew that I had a kid that could handle it.”

“The kids just kept hanging in there. They kept playing the D because (the deficit) wasn’t going up,” Boulrisse said. “A shot rims out a little bit, a couple of foul shots, and we’re looking at a different ballgame maybe.”

The coach said that Coute was right, though, Connolly had answers when they needed them.

“Give them credit because every time we made a run, they answered. They had somebody, it wasn’t the same guy all of the time. Keyes was tough, but they had somebody that made the next shot or the next foul trouble. Give Bishop Connolly a lot of credit, they were tough.” Boulrisse said that he was sorry to see his first season as the Falcons Head Coach come to a close. He said that he knew that there was talent back in the summer from watching the kids play in the summer league, but that they went above what he expected. “Coming in, I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I knew I had some talented kids, because Matt Triveri always ran such a strong program.” His first team made an impression on the coach, and he believes that the ones to come will have a lot to live up to. “The way these kids are, is family. When we come out of a time-out, we always say, ‘1-2-3, family,’ and it’s not me that set it up, it was them. We could have gotten all over people, but they stay together as a family. That’s a credit to those young men. We’ve had some tough times this year, we’ve gone through some different things, but they stayed together. They never quit.”

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