Hoophall Classic Sunday Recap
Sunday’s action at the hoophall classic featured six competitive games and a couple of standout performances.
Chicopee (MA) 48 Bishop Hendricken (RI) 47
The opening game of the day got Sunday’s action off to an exciting start as the outcome wasn’t decided until the final buzzer sounded. Chicopee led for the majority of the game, stretching their advantage to double figures briefly in the third quarter, but Hendricken made some defensive adjustments that sparked their transition offense and gradually chipped away at the lead. Down five with one minute to play Steven Bevilacqua banked in a three from the right wing at the one minute mark that cut the lead to two. After another Hendricken score and a miss at the free-throw line from Chicopee, the Rhode Island state champs had the last possession of the game trailing by one. Bevilacqua got another look at the bucket from the right wing and although the ball was dead on line, it came up just short hitting the front of the rim. Players from both teams scrambled after the long rebounded with the final horn sounding in the midst of the confusion giving Chicopee the one point win.
Sophomore swingman Jesus Sanchez earned MVP honors with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Sanchez was very efficient offensively uses his powerful frame to slash to the basket for a variety of easy baskets. The underclassman also showed the versatility to make open looks from the three-point, knock down mid-range jumpers and produce from the high post.
Hendricken big man Rory Tempkin took MOP honors for his team with 10 points and 7 rebounds. The normally potent three-guard line-up of Nick Manning, Bryan Vachon, and Ryan Palumbo all impressed in spurts but struggled to get anything going consistently.
Groton Dunstable (MA) 52 Sabis Charter (MA) 48
This contest was hard fought for all 32 minutes and went down to the wire much like the first game of the day. Ultimately Groton’s defense, along with some poor shooting from Sabis, proved to be the deciding factor as the home team converted just 28% from the floor. Nevertheless, Sabis still had a chance to win down the stretch but was again turned away by the Groton defense.
Ryan Romich earned MVP honors for Groton with a 16 point 10 rebound performance. Despite playing with a badly injured finger on his shooting hand, and consequently only knocking down 6 of his 16 shots, the mobile forward still proved to be a factor inside the paint as he ran the floor, finished plays in transition, and showed an evolving low post game complete with a bouncy jump hook and some patented high low footwork.
Andre King was the recipient of the MOP award from the losing team, finishing with 13 points, but in all reality neither King nor Kamali Bey could get anything going for the game, shooting a combined 8-24 from the floor. Bey did contribute 12 rebounds and 5 steals.
St. Frances (MD) 72 Newton North (MA) 57
Previously undefeated Newton North took on the most talented opponent they’ve seen all year as St. Frances is loaded with college prospects. Newton North opened the game clearly ready to compete as they went right at the heavily favored team, shot the ball well from the three-point line, and did a nice job with their transition defense.
But as the game progressed the talent and depth of St. Frances would gradually wear down the local MIAA team. Nevertheless, Newton North deserves a lot of credit for refusing to back down and competing for all 32 minutes. Greg Kelley picked up the MOP award for his team as he finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds. The Yale bound big man showed his typical array of picture perfect footwork on the low post (with a variety of drop steps, spins, up and unders, and step throughs)as well as consistent three-point range on his jumper. Sophomore guard Michael Thorpe was also impressive in spurts showing deep range and a quick release on his jumper. Junior forward Tevin Falzon was a sparkplug in the first quarter as he showed his smooth shooting stroke as well.
Wareham (MA) 80 Westfield (MA) 58
It was the story of two different halves as Westfield controlled the tempo of the game in the first half, getting back diligently in transition and utilizing a 2-3 zone to stymie the normally potent Wareham offense. But the second was a different story as Wareham got out and running and scored 53 points in the final 16 minutes.
Jules Tavares had a very rough time in the first half, making only 1 of his 11 shots after coming off the bench, but he came alive enough in the second to put some points on the board and claim MVP honors. But the real standout was Jordan Rezendes in our minds, as the senior guard played a game that wasn’t flashy but was terribly efficient. He stroked his jumper, made excellent decisions, and simply made the right play at the right time en route to his 18 point performance. Ryan Pina also chipped in with 14 points and 9 rebounds while freshman point guard Darien Fernandes showed flashes of potential off the bench.
Westfield was led by Alex Gartska who scored 17 points en route to his MOP performance. Gartska had problems finding the bottom of the net early but warmed up as the game went along, hitting some tough threes and even getting to the rim a few times.
Tantasqua (MA) 63 Springfield Cathedral (MA) 47
A gritty battle between two determined teams was much closer than the final score indicates. A one point game at the half was equally close throughout the third quarter until Tantasqua finally started to pull away in the fourth.
Jake Gubitose was the story of the second half as he showed a well rounded skill set en route to 26 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4 assists. The junior guard did his scoring in a variety of ways showing a tight handle and a super smooth stroke both from behind the arc as well as off the dribble on his way to MVP honors. Matt Phillips also stepped up for Tantasqua, earning a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Cathedral was led by Jordan Couture who scored inside and out for his 18 points while contributing 12 rebounds. Alex Maki and Ryan DiBernardo both chipped in with 8 points a piece.