Layman Cuts Rebel Playoff Run Short


The high flying King Philip offense proved too hot for the Rebel defense to handle.

James Cullinane

Rebels Done in by Layman and Warriors in Playoffs
The high flying King Philip offense proved too hot for the Rebel defense to handle.


The first goal set by any head coach at the beginning of a season is often to advance to the postseason.  For Walpole boys basketball coach David St. Martin, this milestone was one of great uncertainty, as the Rebels looked to build off of a disappointing 5-15 season.  The senior driven 2010-2011 squad completed the regular season with a 12-8 record, which proved to be good enough for second place in the Bay State Herget and a postseason berth.  On March 1, the Rebels visited neighboring King Philip High School in a highly anticipated first round match up.

King Philip’s undersized gym found itself packed to full capacity as most Walpole fans made the ten minute trip down Route 1A to support their hometown team.  As these two bitter opponents warmed up, the atmosphere of the deafening gym could be described as nothing short of electric.  At 13-7, the Warriors record is deceiving due to the extremely deep Hockomock League which features powerhouse programs including Mansfield and North Attleborough.  The Warriors are led by junior phenom Jake Layman, who averaged a staggering 25 points per game during the regular season.  In a marquee match up, Walpole’s leading scorer and senior Captain Tim Gallivan would have the daunting task of stopping Layman placed mainly on his shoulders.

The opening tip off would symbolize the outcome of this intense match up as Layman would use his 6’8″ frame and athleticism to out-jump Gallivan.  Behind Jake Layman and his older brother Connor, the Warriors would jump out to a 5-0 lead after only a minute of play.  In an effort to combat the Rebels’ slow start, St. Martin called an early timeout, which would prove beneficial.  Immediately following this break in the action, Rebel Captain Tom Ryan stepped in front of the speeding Layman to take a charge, re-energizing the Rebel defense.  With four minutes remaining in the first quarter, junior Tom Donnellan would score the first Rebel points on a mid-range jumper, bringing the Rebels within three points of the Warriors.  Senior Captain Mike Tempesta, on the next KP possession, came up with a clean steal which led to an easy lay up on the offensive end.  On the next Rebel possession, Tempesta’s backcourt mate, sophomore Johnny Adams, buried a three in the face of a KP defender to put the Rebels ahead by a score of 7-5.  Following consecutive KP buckets, Layman showcased his athleticism on the fast break, emphatically throwing down a dunk to put the Warriors ahead.  This would ignite the Warrior offense, which finished the first quarter strong, leading 15-9.

The second quarter would prove to be very similar to the first, as both teams scored in bunches, swinging momentum back and forth.  King Philip’s senior forward Tim Sheehan stole the show from Layman in the second quarter, scoring six consecutive points on the Rebels to put the Warriors ahead 27-17.  With 18.3 seconds remaining in the first half, Donnellan knocked down a three to keep the Warrior lead in single digits at 29-20 at halftime.

Following halftime, it became obvious that the Rebels wanted to run the offense through Gallivan in the low post, who scored consecutive buckets in the first two minutes of the second half.  These efforts proved fruitless as KP’s well balanced offensive attacked continued to kill any momentum which the Rebels had captured.  The Rebels’ inability to stop the Warriors became apparent as they could not cut deeply into KP’s lead, even with Layman on the bench due to foul trouble.  Tempesta did everything in his power to keep the Rebels in the game, converting a three point play with 1.3 seconds left in the quarter.  Following a desperation half court attempt, the Warriors led the Rebels by a score of 41-36 at the end of the third quarter.

The Warriors put the game away in the third quarter behind Layman’s relentless work on the offensive end of the court.  Layman demoralized the Rebel defense with a highlight reel dunk over two Walpole defenders.  As the Rebels shifted most defensive attention to stopping Layman, King Philip forward Christian Fair seemed to be able to score at will, as the Warrior lead increased to 59-39.  As time expired, the Warriors walked off the court with an impressive 63-39 win over the tough Rebel squad.

Despite holding the explosive Layman to a reasonable 18 points, the Rebels were not able to contain the Warrior offense.  Gallivan led the way for the Rebels with a 16 point performance and a solid game on the glass.  The Rebels end their season with nothing to be ashamed of as they were consider overachievers for even reaching the playoffs.  Graduating their leading scorers in Gallivan and Tempesta, the Rebels, behind a returning core of Donnellan, Adams, and sophomore Chris Collins, will look to improve on their success next season.