Boys Basketball Closes Out Dartmouth in Opening Round of DII South Tournament

Walpole+guard+rushes+past+an+opposing+defender.

Walpole guard rushes past an opposing defender.

Matt Brownsword

Walpole guard rushes past an opposing defender.
Walpole guard rushes past an opposing defender.

All year, there’s been something  that Coach Dave St. Martin and Boys Basketball can’t consistently figure out: how to close out tight games. Milton, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton (again), and Norwood were all close games — but all of them resulted in late losses.

However, Coach St. Martin and the Rebels changed all that in the first round of the Division 2 South Tournament where they defeated the 6th seed Dartmouth by a score of 64-52.

“The win means a lot because of what we have been through the last year with losing to Hingham, suffering injuries, and going through tragedies,” said Coach St. Martin. “But we have higher goals and will take one game at a time.”

Senior Ryan Fogarty took charge against the Indians, leading all Rebels with 23 points while senior Captain Adam Quinlan chipped in with 16. What was remarkable about Quinlan’s performance was that 10 of his 16 points were scored after he went down with what appeared to be a severe ankle injury late in the second quarter. After his fadeaway attempt went off the backboard and in, Quinlan landed awkwardly on his ankle and remained in pain on the floor for over two minutes.

“[Quinlan] was awesome,” said Coach St. Martin. “This state tournament means a lot to him, and he gave us everything he got last night. But he has been great all year.”

After receiving treatment during halftime, Quinlan reentered the lineup but was noticeably limping up and down the court.  Unfortunately for the Rebels, Quinlan was not able to continue after his ankle was re-aggravated halfway through the fourth quarter.

During Quinlan’s injury-ridden minutes on the court, he drew numerous jeers from the Dartmouth home crowd — comments which Coach St. Martin did not appreciate. Defending his key player, he started yelling at the Dartmouth fans, who responded with more inappropriate language and gestures.

“The Dartmouth fans were all over our guys and coaches all game which is fine and I have no problem with that,” said Coach St. Martin. “But when [Quinlan] got hurt and their fans started laughing and mocking him, that’s where I draw the line. [Quinlan] was in pain and upset that he could not play and they laughed at him. I love my players and I always have their back.”

Unfortunately for the Rebels, Quinlan was not able to continue after his ankle was re-aggravated halfway through the fourth quarter.  Quinlan’s injury seemed to have little effect on the Rebels though.

After Dartmouth brought the game within four points with about 4 minutes left to go, the Rebels pulled away to take a nine point lead into the final minute. The dagger was a three from senior Scott Arsenault off of an offensive rebound — a staple of Walpole’s game throughout the night.

“We were able to do a lot down low this game because of [Dartmouth’s] lack of size,” said Quinlan. “However, we wanted to capitalize a little more than we did, so we will need to work on that going forward.”

Other than the sharpshooting of the Indians’ Cody Burges — which kept Dartmouth in the game — the Rebels did a good job containing Nick Simonetti and the rest of the Dartmouth shooters. Walpole shot 23 percentage points higher than Dartmouth in the first half — which resulted in a 5 point lead going into the midway point — and that continued into the second half.

“We knew they had great shooters so our goal was to not give them any open looks,” said Coach St. Martin. “Even though one of their kids (Burges) scored 28 points I felt he had to work for it and make tough shots.”

The win earned the Rebels a spot in the Division 2 South quarterfinals against crosstown rivals Westwood and their familiar coach, Steve St. Martin.

“It is tough coaching against my brother. I am so proud of what he has done to that program, and he has great kids who work hard,” said Coach Dave St. Martin. “But I also do not want to lose; at least one of us will move on.”

Quinlan’s status is questionable for Friday’s game, but the Rebels remain confident that with or without Quinlan, they can compete with the 3rd seeded Wolverines in Westwood at 7PM. It will certainly be an atmosphere similar to Dartmouth, as Westwood’s renowned fan section “The Den” gears up for the St. Martin vs. St. Martin, crosstown rival showdown.