The Falmouth Yachtsmen used a balanced scoring attack Friday night to pull away from the Cape Elizabeth Capers in a matchup of two of the top boys’ basketball teams in the Western B conference.
Falmouth (now 12-0) played sound fundamental basketball and outscored the Capers (7-5) 16-5 in the fourth quarter to earn the 52-37 victory.
The defense was clicking and the offense had few problems breaking the Capers’ press, which ultimately led to several easy baskets for the Yachtsmen. Falmouth’s stifling defense forced 21 Cape Elizabeth turnovers and it’s just too tough to stay competitive in the game with that many mistakes, especially against an undefeated opponent.
Matt Kingry scored 10 points, Matt Packard had 12 and junior Charlie Fay dominated the fourth quarter to finish with 11 points.
The Yachtsmen come out very strong in the first quarter, building an 18-9 lead. The punctuation mark was a Fay breakaway dunk after he intercepted a pass with 15 seconds remaining. He said it was just his first dunk of the year. The twin tower combination of six-foot-five Fay and equally tall senior Jack Cooleen create a difficult matchup for any team in the state.
“We really stuck in on defense,” said Fay. “We really cracked down on that. We got up and down the court fast.”
Fay is not a starter and neither is junior guard Grant Burfeind, but both came off the bench and made it difficult for coach David Halligan to take them out. Burfeind handles the ball very well and was instrumental in breaking the Cape Elizabeth press. The trio of Packard, Kingry, and Burfeind rarely panicked during the contest.
“That’s probably been the biggest difference between last year and this year,” said Packard of the plethora of talent. “Only a few seniors graduated, so this year our depth has been really great.”
Cape Elizabeth put together an impressive third quarter, though. It was 28-18 Falmouth at halftime, but just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, it was just 36-35 Falmouth with the Capers surging. During the push, junior Chris Robicheaw hit a 3-pointer, classmate Henry Babcock scored down low, and junior big man Kyle Snowden came off the bench and fought down low to grab an offensive rebound and put it back in through a mob of blue jerseys. Babcock made two free throws and Robicheaw got an easy down low bucket, too.
Falmouth’s Kingry scored four inside points and Packard had four points in the quarter for just eight total Yachtsmen points.
However, at the end of the third quarter, coach Halligan let his team know he wanted a change in tempo.
“Coach lit into us coming into the fourth,” said Packard. “He wanted us to be a lot more aggressive.”
You could say that Fay took coach’s words and translated it out to electrifying play. Over a one minute and 20 second spree which ended with 4:40 left in the fourth, Fay scored seven straight points, pulling the Yachtsmen away into a 48-37 lead. An old fashioned three-point play, a coast to coast layup (almost another dunk), and a mid-range jumper were all in his arsenal. Fay said his knee buckled a bit on the layup, but that he was definitely thinking dunk on the play.
Slam dunks are becoming a rarity in the conference, so it’s just an excitement booster for the entire league that an emerging star, with still another year left, is more than capable of providing some high flying action. Fay had several steals in the game, which is a perfect recipe for a breakaway slam.
A quick Babcock 3-pointer moments into the fourth quarter was instantly answered by Packard. Snowden then scored off another offensive rebound to make it 39-37 Falmouth with 6:50 left in the game. However, two Alex Cattell free throws and Fay’s scoring rampage emphatically squashed the Capers’ threat, as they never scored again.
“You need to go and you need to play with a little more heart,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray. “You need to attack. We had chances. We have a tough time digging ourselves out of a hole.
“The way we started this game, we played 100 percent unacceptable. Nonchalant passes. No bounce in their step defensively. Nobody talking. I’m sorry, you’re just not going to be successful against a team like Falmouth if you come out and play that way.”
Babcock scored 13 points for the Capers and Robicheaw added eight, but consistent scoring from others wasn’t there for the home team.
Coach Halligan has a dangerous squad with offensive weapons and lockdown defenders by the handful. They won’t always score 70 points, but that’s not necessary in this league. The key is that they figure out a way to get the win in the end of the game. A 53-51 win against the Greely Rangers, a 46-42 low scoring affair against the Yarmouth Clippers, and 61-58 victory over the Poland Knights show that they aren’t blowing away teams, but definitely closing.
“I think the versatility and the depth that we have lends us to that,” Halligan said of the balanced scoring attack. “We can go small and quick, we can go big and strong. Mix it up if we need to. We can press, we can play a half court. It’s a nice combination to have.”
The Yachtsmen are undefeated this year after missing the playoffs last winter. Seniors Kingry, Packard, Cooleen, Cattell, and Jeremy Lydick, all starters, are hungry and have their goals set. The undefeated aspect is just a number, but being the last team standing in the playoffs is the ultimate goal.
“The kids are confident,” said Halligan. “The kids aren’t satisfied with where they are because we were on the outside looking in last year. They have a lot to prove. They have a lot to prove to themselves.”
Falmouth (first in the Western Class B Heal Points standings) is home with Wells Saturday night and visits Poland Friday.
Cape Elizabeth (eighth in Western B) is at York Tuesday and hosts Gray-New Gloucester Friday.
Falmouth senior Matt Packard floats a shot over a pair of Cape Elizabeth defenders.
Cape Elizabeth junior Henry Babcock eyes the rim.
Falmouth junior Charlie Fay soars above the ram and slams home two points.
Falmouth senior Matt Packard blows past Cape Elizabeth junior Henry Babcock.
Cape Elizabeth junior Henry Babcock leans to his left to elude a block attempt from Falmouth senior Matt Kingry.
Cape Elizabeth junior Kyle Snowden goes up for a shot between Falmouth freshman Jack Simonds (22) and senior Jack Cooleen. The Yachtsmen pulled away to a 52-37 win to improve to 12-0 on the season.