BOURNE — Mere seconds from the possibility of watching their team’s unblemished record fall, Jacob Ashworth and David Laine laced the four most important free throws of the season.
Ahead of visiting Apponequet, 53-51, with just 25.3 seconds left in the 4th quarter, the gutsy sophomore co-captain sank a pair of freebies after getting fouled on a baseline inbounds pass on the other end. With the Lakers in foul trouble, Ashworth and Laine both went to the line in a one-and-one situation and drained both of their free throws, and in so doing changed the entire complexion of perhaps the longest 10 seconds in Cape high school basketball in recent memory. With the score 55-54, a grand total of three time outs were called by Bourne and Apponequet in the final 10 seconds as both coaches furiously strategized about how to prevent a basket or by the same turn, put one in. It was Laine’s final two free throws that made it 57-54 and set up the frenetic fury of the game’s final 10 seconds.
“I told them to make everything go to the basket. It’s all about making it difficult,” Bourne head coach Scott Ashworth said. “Everything’s got to go to the rim. They score, don’t foul them for a plus-one and try and crowd the three-point line and we tried to switch all the screens so they couldn’t get a clean look.”
With just 1.2 seconds left in the game, Apponequet still in possession with one shot left to drain a game-tying three-pointer, the ball was kicked out to senior Stephen O’Malley but he could not get the shot off in time and the Canalmen’s undefeated record of 5-0 remained intact. Bourne is the last boys high school basketball team on the Cape to remain unbeaten. A very solid Apponequet team fell to 2-3 with the South Coast Conference loss.
Jacob Ashworth led all scorers with 22 points on the night, including a 4-4 performance from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. He also hit three of Bourne’s seven three-pointers, all of them in the first half. Nine total Canalmen added to the score sheet while eight Lakers made the book. Apponequet senior Kevin Falaki – who had 20 points on the night – scored an incredible 16 of those points in the second half. Falaki’s performance in the second half made it possible for the Lakers to climb back into the game and gave his teammates a chance to win.
The first half was quite a different story.
After being briefly behind Apponequet to start the first quarter, Bourne sophomore Parker Freedman drained a bucket to tie it at 9-9 with just 2:15 left to go. That single basket altered the entire momentum of the game through the first half as the hosts went on an 8-0 run to finish the first quarter, then followed with a 19-9 pasting in the second quarter. At the half, it was Bourne 36, Apponequet 18. With 6’7″ senior center Matt Anderson in almost immediate foul trouble, the Lakers had little choice but to rely upon 6’6″ senior Falaki in an attempt to shut down 6’5″ Bourne senior co-captain Connor Schaefer. Falaki did not fail.
“They played phenomenally well in the second half,” Coach Ashworth said. “We had a drout.”
Truth be told, Bourne capitalized on its inside game in the first half and then some, going 7-8 from the free throw line while Apponequet did not visit the line once. The Canalment went 11-27 from the field, but seven of those field goals were three pointers — three by Ashworth, two by David Laine and one each from Chris Davis and Stevie McCarthy.
Apponequet went 8-23 from the floor in the first half, one three-pointer from senior point guard Pete Loranger.
Loranger, who finished with a hard-earned 18 points on the night behind Falaki’s 20, netted 13 of his 18 points in the second half. Falaki finished with a double-double, adding 13 rebounds to his offensive output. Bourne’s Schaefer had 10 rebounds to go along with nine points and Laine was the next highest scorer with 10 points behind Ashworth.
Falaki, O’Malley and Loranger were all equally heroic for Apponequet in the game’s final moments.
With 2:06 left, Falaki drove the basket, made it and got fouled, making it 53-47. He missed his free throw and Loranger, 5’9″ of sheer willpower, rebounded the putback and sank it to make it 53-49. Bourne’s Laine turned it over at halfcourt with just over 40 seconds left and somehow O’Malley drove the baseline, went beneath the basket and sank a finger roll reverse layup to make it 53-51. Ashworth made things right on the other end after getting fouled on the floor, and sank a pair of freebies to make it 55-51.
Loranger gave his team its best chance to come from behind and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat when he went coast to coast with about 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter, down 55-51, and buried a three-pointer to make it 55-54 with 10.3 seconds left.
But Laine got pushed from behind on the inbounds and went to the line, sinking a pair of free throws to make it 57-54, the game’s final score.
Apponequet visited the free throw line just five times in the game, and went 2-8. Bourne went to the free-throw line seven times in the second half, and went 13-14. All totaled, Bourne was 20-22 from the charity stripe on the night.
The Canalmen will try to keep their winning streak alive on Saturday when they face New Bedford Voke in another SCC contest.