MARSHFIELD — Depth of a team’s bench can mean everything when two solid high school basketball teams lock horns.
Down a few players this week and facing a tough Marshfield High School (1-1) team on the road, the visiting Barnstable High boys basketball team suffered a heart-wrenching, 74-72 loss Tuesday night to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Senior Elijah Baptiste led all scorers with 25 points, 12 of which came in a red-hot first quarter that gave the Red Raiders a 19-16 lead. He hit seven three-pointers on the night, but it was not enough to stave off the intense, high-pressure, full-court press implemented by Rams’ head coach Bob Fisher.
“They ran a full-court press the entire game,” Barnstable head coach Chuck Kipnes said. “They’re doing the same thing from the first second to the last minute.”
What resulted were the turnovers Marshfield had hoped for but what exacerbated Barnstable’s inability to get the lead back after the first quarter was that one mistake snowballed into another and Marshfield capitalized each time, repeatedly attacking the basket with shooting guard Will Boisvert who finished the night with a team-high 21 points.
“In a situation like that, we need to slow the temp down, but instead we got a little jumpy,” Kipnes said. “And the mistakes multiplied with turnovers and missed shots. I didn’t think we had good possessions after those mistakes.”
Still, Barnstable had a chance. Down 69-67 with 1:05 to go, junior center Eric Holzman (15 points) took a Nate Balthazard feed inside for two to make it 69-69. Holzman scored 11 points in the 4th quarter.
But with just under 30 seconds left in the game and the score tied at 69-69, Marshfield’s Pat Acer (18 pts.) drove to the basket and took the foul, converting the three-point play on the free throw line to make it 72-69 and just 25.8 seconds to go. Barnstable would not recover from that drive and it was the final free throw that struck a dagger in the Red Raiders’ hopes.
All totaled, Marshfield went 14-18 from the line while Barnstable went 4-11. The Rams went 8-8 from the line in the second quarter alone.
“They (the Rams) did a better job at adjusting to the new hand check rule,” Kipnes said. “You take away those free throws and it’s a different game.”
By halftime, Marshfield’s pressure and success at the line combined to wear the Red Raiders down. The Rams went to the halftime locker room ahead, 36-32 and Barnstable would not get back on top.
Barnstable will try to break even on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. when it faces the red-hot Nauset Warriors at Barnstable High School in the feature game of the Stripes Tournament.
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.