Tempesta’s Strong Performance Not Enough in Loss to Brookline

Tempestas Strong Performance Not Enough in Loss to Brookline

James Cullinane

The Rebels have gained leadership from the point guard position this season.

Entering Friday’s match up with the Brookline Warriors, the Walpole Rebels Basketball team had reason to be optimistic.  After starting the season 2-0, the Rebels challenged the powerhouse program in Newton North – losing narrowly.  This close margin showed that the Rebels are tournament contenders this season.

Beating the talented Brookline squad would move the Rebels into second place in the Herget Divison behind 5-2 Wellesley.  The Rebels would prove to be up to the challenge against the Warriors, but would once again be narrowly defeated by a Bay State League foe.

The Rebels relied heavily on their big men in the first quarter.  The Rebels 6’6″ tandemn in the paint of seniors Tim Gallivan and Dan McGovern combined for 10 of the Rebel’s 18 first quarter points.  Brookline’s offense was facilitated by impressive junior guard Stephen O’Neal, who totaled five first quarter points and multiple assists.

The second quarter showed obvious adjustments in the Brookline defense as their zone began to crash down hard on McGovern and Gallivan.  Accordingly, Coach David St. Martin made his own adjustments offensively to counter Brookline’s new defensive strategy.  The Rebels offense looked to become more guard oriented as senior Captain Mike Tempesta continued to shine offensively.  Behind Tempesta, the Rebels jumped out to a 23-16 lead in the second quarter.  The seven point Rebel lead quickly disintegrated behind Brookline’s athleticism and three point shooting.  The Rebels and the Warriors continued to trade buckets until the Rebels lead 34-33 with six seconds left in the first half.  Brookline guard Shiraz Mumtaz then burried a deep jumper to put the Warriors up 35-34 entering the second half.

O’Neal and the Warriors got off to a hot start in the third quarter, jumping out to a 41-34 lead.  Behind key contributions from underclassmen, the Rebels fought their way back into the game.  Sophomore Chris Collins scored 10 of his season high 13 points in the third quarter.  Sophomore guard Johnny Adams also had a solid quarter on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.  The Warriors held a 50-46 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Tempesta and O’Neal each took over their respective offenses in the fourth quarter.  Behind two slashing lay ups by Tempesta, the Rebels and Warriors became tied at 50 with 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.  The Warriors gained valuable momentum as they went on an eight point running, putting them ahead 58-50.  Donnellan and Collins delivered clutch baskets to cut into the Brookline lead.  With 3:45 remaining in the game, Tempesta stepped in front of a Brookline pass, sprinting down the court on a fast break before being brought down hard from behind.  Tempesta would knock down both free throws to decrease the Warrior leader to 61-56.  With 2:40 remaining, Collins showcased his brute strength by bodying Brookline center Jonah Morgenstern- Gaines, and finishing at the rim.  Following two clutch free throws from Adams, O’Neal missed his chance to ice the game for the warriors from the line, leaving the Warriors ahead 62-61 with 7.8 seconds remaining.  Following a St. Martin timeout, the Rebels threw the inbounds pass to Donnellan with the game on the line.  Donnellan sprinted down the court, unable to find an open teammate and was forced to take a pull up jumping from the right elbow.  Donnellan showed  athleticism to get a good look at the hoop, but rimmed out as time expired.

The Rebels fell to the Warriors in one of the seasons most intense battles.  Despite their 2-2 record, the Rebels have showcased an ability to play with any Bay State League opponent.  The Rebels attempt to improve their record to 3-2 on Tuesday against Wellesley.