Donnellan Leads Rebels in Opening Night Victory

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James Cullinane

Coach David St. Martin’s Boys Basketball Team has proven to be a perennial Bay State Conference contender over the years.  Coming off of a difficult rebuilding year, in which the Rebels posted a 5-15 record and failed to qualify for the tournament, St. Martin led his reloaded and refocused Rebels into an opening night match up against the Braintree Wamps on December 17, 2010.  A team built around a strong senior class, including Captains Mike Tempesta, Tom Ryan, and Tim Gallivan, will also have strong contributions from junior Tom Donnellan and promising sophomores Johnny Adams and Chris Collins.  This mix of youth and experience will be useful for the Rebels in the 2010-2011 season.

Braintree hosted the Rebels in a gym which possessed an electric opening night atmosphere.  The Wamps jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead in the first eight minutes, due to poor ball handling and faulty shot selection.  The Rebels came out re-energized after St. Martin called a timeout.  Tempesta would score on the next possession, pulling up from the elbow and sinking a jumper.  Collins, in his first action of the season, showed strong skills on both sides of the ball, getting a defensive rebound and running the floor, where Tempesta would thread the needle between two Wamps for an open Collins layup.  The Wamps took a 13-9 lead into the second quarter.

The Rebels turned up the intensity on both sides of the ball in the second quarter.  Adams scored his first two points of the season, converting two free throws after being fouled by Braintree big man Pat Delano.  On the next Walpole possession, Gallivan banked a jump shot to tie the game at 13.  After two consecutive Braintree buckets, Donnellan showcased his athleticism with an agile finish at the rim.  Gallivan would once again tie the ball game at 17 after cleaning up the offensive glass and going up strong against Delano for two.  Tempesta would then pressure Braintree guard Pat Ellis into a turnover, stealing the ball and running the court before fouled hard by a frustrated Ellis.  Despite suffering a hard fall, Tempesta hit one of two free throws to give the Rebels a one point lead.  In a defensive oriented, turnover ridden half of basketball, the Rebels showed enough intensity to bring a 18-17 lead into halftime.

The Rebels simply outplayed the Wamps in the third quarter.  Whatever halftime adjustments St. Martin and his staff made, they worked, as the Rebels began to click on all cylinders.  The Rebels went on a 6 point run behind baskets out of Donnellan, Adams, and senior Dan McGovern, bringing the lead to 24-17.  At this point the Rebels talented backcourt began to take over the quarter as Tempesta grabbed another Wamp pass out of the air and gained another bucket off of a Braintree turnover.  On the very next Rebel possession, Tempesta dished out a slick assist to Dan McGovern on the fast break, who finished with a difficult reverse layup.  Gallivan and McGovern, who have become known as “Twin Towers” battled in the paint all night, gaining offensive rebounds throughout the quarter.  Tempesta’s defensive intensity continued as he took a charge on a Braintree fast break.  Following a Chris Collins layup, senior guard Phillian Ogbaegbe brought the Rebel lead to 32-22 from the free throw line.  The Rebels brought their ten point lead into the fourth quarter.

The Rebels started off the fourth quarter accordingly as Tempesta once again picked Ellis’ pocket before burrying a 15 foot pull up jumper.  McGovern and Gallivan continued to dominate the paint offensively as the Rebels brought the score to 44-33.  Walpole turnovers began to come back around in the fourth quarter as Braintree’s defense began to increase their intensity.  Behind Delano’s inside presense, the Wamps cut the Rebel lead to 47-45.  In a pressure filled third quarter, Rebel scorers were sent to the free throw line and showed maturity by knocking them down, rapidly increasing the Rebel lead to 56-45.  This score would hold as the Rebels picked up a win in their season opener.  Donnellan led the Rebels with 14 points, one of his best varsity performances.  Tempesta contributed 11 points and facilitated the fast paced Rebel offense.  Gallivan and McGovern combined for a total of 17 points.  The Rebels balanced attack will look to improve to 2-0 against Andrew Siden and the Natick Red and Blue at home in their next contest.