HYANNIS — Most coaches will tell you that it’s all about the defense.
And defense is precisely what host Barnstable High (2-2) brought last night to the Stripes Tournament as the Red Raiders dispatched the previously unbeaten Nauset Warriors, 71-39.
Nauset falls to 3-1.
All totaled, Barnstable’s had 24 deflections, steals, blocks or forced turnovers in a suffocating combination of a full-court press, man-to-man and zone defense that fully flustered the Warriors. This simple fact was evident from the free-throw line where the Warriors went 7-19 in the first half and very well would have been in the game had they made their charity shots. Consider this: by game’s end, Nauset went 13-39 from the free-throw line, an almost unheard of number of charity shots at any level of basketball. Barnstable committed 25 fouls to Nauset’s 16.
But if the Red Raiders’ defense could be symbolized by any one player, then it very well could have been Barnstable senior forward Deon Bell. Bell held Nauset’s tough forward Eric Poyant to nothing in the first half. No points, no assists. Nothing. Bell finished the night with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
Barnstable and Nauset came out of the opening tip-off in basic attack-at-all-costs mode, with the Red Raiders holding onto an 11-8 first quarter lead. At halftime, Barnstable led 30-21, but it had been 28-15 before the fiery center Ethan Ladue drained a downtown trey and a muscled finger roll off the glass to beat the buzzer. Ladue had 10 of his 18 points in the first half. Nauset starters Razz Green and Poyant were held to a combined one point (Poyant) in the second half.
Barnstable’s Baptiste – who poured in 17 second half points – finished with a season-high 27 points on the night. Junior center Eric Holzman, who only had two points to show for his efforts, nevertheless was a dominating force in the paint in the first half with five rebounds and two blocked shots. Interestingly, point guard and junior captain Nate Balthazard also had two blocks and a pair of steals in the first half and all of his six points came in the first half as well.
“This is a defense that is a staple at Barnstable (High School),” head coach Chuck Kipnes said. “But it takes time to develop the team defense concept with a bunch of scorers (on your roster)… but it’s the type of defense this group is capable of.”
Barnstable’s Will O’Day came off the bench and added 10 points to the mix, half of which came in the first half.
Stripes Tournament Wrap-Ups:
Dennis-Yarmouth 46 – Nantucket 41
M-V 79 – Mashpee 43
Bourne 71 – Case 59
Monomoy 57 – St. John Paul II Lions 34
Sharon 54 – Falmouth 53
Barnstable 50 – Nauset 23 (see related story)
M-V 57 – Mashpee 35
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.