The Oliver Ames boys' basketball team proved the importance of the fourth quarter Monday afternoon in the opener of the Harry Lehmann Memorial Boys' Basketball Tournament at Bridgewater State College.
Propelled by a final period in-which OA outscored Falmouth 24-13, the Tigers were able to take down the Clippers in a 78-74 victory.
"Fortunately we hit a couple of shots that put us at arms length while we figured out that we had to play a little bit harder to get it done," OA coach Don Byron said. "Once the second half came around I thought we did a little better intensity-wise. Coming down the stretch, we definitely did."
With the win, OA will move on to play Brockton in the tournament title game Tuesday night at 7. The game will be played at Bridgewater-Raynham High School.
While the Tigers played well to close out the game, they struggled early.
When sophomore Ryan Carney knocked down two free-throws to give the Tigers a 71-69 lead with 2:15 seconds remaining in the game, it was the first time the Tigers pulled ahead since the opening minutes.
"We came out a little bit listless early," Byron said. "We were careless with the ball. We got down as much as 11 or 12."
Each time the game seemed to be out of reach, OA was able to go on a short scoring spree with Carney often leading the charge. He ended the game with 30 points, including five 3-pointers.
"Sophomore or no sophomore, he’s a scorer," Byron said. "He had some big ones tonight. A lot of those shots in the first half – those ‘stop the bleeding’ type hoops - those were his."
Senior Andrew Reardon helped lead the charge as well, finishing the game with 21 points. Junior Nick Cidado added 9 points. Sophomore Brendan Welch added 8 points and senior St. Clair Ryan finished with 7.
Ryan also anchored OA's defense against a powerful Clippers offense. Both he and senior Richard Green were charged with manning up on four-year Falmouth starter Andrew McGill.
While McGill still led Falmouth with 21 points, Ryan and Green helped slow the Clippers - especially to close out the game. McGill was held scoreless in the final period.
"The combination of the two made him work all night," Byron said. "They weren’t always successful. He’s a good player- a four year starter. To know that he’s covered and know what he can do – we still didn’t totally shut him down by any means. But, you’ve got to make him work all night."
Oliver Ames improved to 11-6 overall. Falmouth dropped to 11-7.