St. Martin’s Rebels Plagued by Inconsistency on Road to State Tournament

The Rebels have shown signs of greatness thusfar in the season.

The Rebels have shown signs of greatness thusfar in the season.

James Cullinane

 

When clicking on all cylinders, the Rebels have proven a worthy opponent this season.
When clicking on all cylinders, the Rebels have proven a worthy opponent this season.

 

Coach David St. Martin’s 2010-2011 Boys Basketball Team has shown signs of greatness thus far in the season, with a dominating performance in the Bellingham Tournament and a stunning upset over the 9-3 Wellesley Raiders.  If these types of performances could be harnessed in on a night-to-night basis, the potential of this experienced squad would be sky high.  Unfortunately for St. Martin and company, the Rebels have been unable to put together a significant winning streak and establish momentum on their road to the State Tournament, falling to Herget “cellar dwellers” Dedham and Milton.  The Rebels have proven to possess an innate ability to play up or down to the level of their opponents, challenging the best in the Bay State, while often coming out flat and unprepared against sub par teams.

One asset that the Rebels certainly do not lack is talent, as senior Captains Mike Tempesta and Tim Gallivan are both top 10 scorers in the Herget.  Also providing strong contributions are junior Tom Donnellan and Senior Dan McGovern, both of whom are instrumental parts of the Rebel offense.  The Rebels’ top varsity newcomer thus far in the season has been Chris Collins, who provides dominating minutes off the bench at the power forward spot.   All of these key contributions have led the Rebels to a 7-5 record and third place in the Bay State Herget.  As the Wellesley Raiders can attest to, the Rebels are a dangerous opponent when clicking on all cylinders.

On January 25, the Rebels looked to build off of an impressive victory over Norwood against the NeedhamRockets. Squaring off against a 6-6 Rockets team, Walpole fans could only hope to see the high powered, high energy Rebels which they saw against Wellesley earlier in the season.  In a demoralizing let down, the Rebels were outplayed on both ends of the court by Paul Liner’s Rockets, suffering a blow-out defeat on their home court.

From the opening tip off, the Rockets came out flying, while the Rebels displayed an unusual lack of intensity. Donnellan buried a deep three on the Rebels first possession to put the Rebels ahead 3-0.  From this point on, the Rockets would control the game.  Behind excellent ball movement and senior Captain Kevin Farley’s shooting touch, the Rockets jumped out to a 17-5 lead.  Spark plug Chris Collins came off the bench with a strong presence inside on the Rebels last possession of the quarter, powering his way to the rim to bring the Rebels within ten of the Rockets at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was the same story for the struggling Rebel offense, which was seemingly unable to establish a rhythm.  Needham’s offense on the other hand ran fluently as Captains Kevin Farley and Kevin Brennan executed the pick and role to perfection.  The Rebel defense had no answer for Brennan and Farley as the Rockets appeared to be scoring at will.  Despite solid second quarter offensive performances from Collins and Gallivan, any Walpole bucket was answered immediately on the other end by the Rockets.  By the end of the first half, the Rockets had doubled the Rebels’ offensive production, leading by a score of 32-16.

Throughout the early-goings of the season, the Rebels have shown a resilient attitude, often coming from behind to swing momentum in their favor, especially following St. Martin’s halftime adjustments.  The beginning of the second half showed signs of improvement for the Rebels as Gallivan and sophomore guard Johnny Adams scored consecutive buckets to cut the deficit to 36-20.  On the other end, the Rebels defensive intensity picked up as senior Tempesta came away with a steal and a monster rejection on a Needham fast break.  Following a Gallivan jump shot, senior Captain Tom Ryan hustled to get in front of a driving Mike Retzky, taking a charge and electrifying the Rebel bench.  This momentum shift would be short lived however, as turnovers began to plague the Rebel offense.  By the end of the quarter, the running Rockets led by a score of 50-28.

With the game seemingly out of reach, the fourth quarter would determine whether or not the Rebels would let up or continue to play hard.  Behind the triad of Gallivan, Collins, and Tempesta, the Rebels showed no signs of quitting, pushing the tempo on offense and doing their best to slow down the high scoring Rocket offense.  Gallivan and Collins continued to work hard in the paint and were rewarded by Tempesta and Adams, both of whom began to rack up assists to this big man tandem.  Down 22 points with only minutes remaining, Tempesta epitomized the Rebels persistent style of play by diving on a loose ball and possessing the presence of mind to call an immediate timeout. The Rebels hustle and determination proved to be of no avail as the Rockets’ offensive attack could not be stopped.  As time expired in the fourth quarter, the Rebels faced the harsh reality of a crushing 65-45 loss.

Gallivan’s 14 point performance seemed to be the only positive thing that the Rebels could take out of this disheartening loss.  Although this loss marks a low point for the 2010-2011 Rebels, St. Martin’s squad will look to correct their mistakes and build off of this disappointing loss, as they continue their quest to the State Tournament.  If this goal is attained, with the Rebels returning to form and reaching their full potential, fans could be hearing a lot about the talented Walpole squad come March’s State Tournament.