Boys Basketball Makes a Statement at Wellesley, 61-43

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Walpole’s center scores over a Wellesley defender.

Peter Hoegler

Walpole's center scores over a Wellesley defender.
Walpole’s center scores over a Wellesley defender.

Their record may look unimpressive at 3-3, but Boys Basketball enters the new year in pretty good shape. After starting the season against three formidable Bay State League opponents (Natick, Brookline, and Newton North) and a solid field in the Muscato Tournament, which consisted of some of the best Division 2 teams east of Worcester, the Rebels could easily be 0-6. But a blowout win against Brookline and a gutsy win against Boston English put Walpole in the win column after three losses by an average score of three points. Then on January 4, the Rebels demonstrated their true prowess at Wellesley’s brand-new high school, winning by a score of 61-43.

“I knew looking at our first five games we could be 0-6 or 1-5 or 2-4 or 3-3, so I expected it, but I’m proud because we’ve lost to three really good teams (Natick, Newton North and Oliver Ames) and all less than five points,” said Walpole coach Dave St. Martin. “I told our guys, the difference from this year to last year is we’re pretty good. I think if we cannot give up this many points, I think we’ll be tough enough down the stretch.”

The Rebels did not enter Friday night against Wellesley with a sense of urgency, but rather with a sense of drive or obligation to win. Wellesley took advantage of Walpole’s ‘rebuilding’ year last year, defeating the Rebels by an average score of 20 points both times. So it was necessary for seasoned-veterans such as senior Captains Johnny Adams and Ronni Shephard to have a little revenge on the proficient Herget foe.

“I have been on this team four years, and every year Wellesley gives us a tough game,” said Adams. “But this time, I knew we had the players to run this team out of the gym.”

The Rebels did just that on Friday, dominating the Wellesley Raiders from the opening tip. Junior guard Scott Arsenault added five early points and Walpole led 14-9 after the first quarter.

Junior Ryan Gulley—the quickest defender the Rebels have—made his first appearance of the season late in the first quarter, adding four points on two of three shooting. Gulley was forced to serve a five game suspension for breaking the team’s conduct policy; however, now that he is eligible, Gulley will be a valuable asset off the bench. He will most likely spill time for Adams and junior Ryan Fogarty, who has been pulling most of the workload at the point guard position.

The game got away from the Raiders in third quarter when the pace reached its crescendo. At one point, the Rebels led by as much as 20 points, resulting from solid forward play by juniors Maurice Young and Adam Quinlan, who dominated the glass with 25 rebounds.

Yet the biggest surprise this year is Fogarty, who leads the Rebels in scoring after six games. Named to the Muscato All-Tournament Team over break, Fogarty has dictated the point guard position, driving past quick opposing defenders with ease finishing elegantly in the lane. Fogarty added 15 points to lead all Walpole scoring Friday and finished with an astonishing 20 points against OA, the supposed powerhouse of Division 2.

Although Fogarty and Quinlan are exciting basketball players, they sometimes have trouble controlling their emotions. This flaw can be very problematic as the Rebels cannot afford to be giving up any technical fouls that could decide the fate of a close basketball game. Against Oliver Ames, juniors Maurice Young and Nick Cordopatri each picked up technical fouls for minor altercations to help jump-start a 17-4 run. Coach St. Martin said after the blow-out win against Wellesley: “Our guys just have to play a little smarter.”

The Rebels look to spark a winning streak as they face Milton on Tuesday January 8.