Mancini's the man as Falmouth beats Greely

Sport: Basketball (boys)

Posted: January 29th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Mancini's the man as Falmouth beats Greely
By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

FALMOUTH- The Falmouth Yachtsmen boys' basketball team is much more than sophomore sharpshooter Stefano Mancini, but when Mancini is on his game, the Yachtsmen are very difficult to beat..

The Greely Rangers, riding high after Saturday's stirring overtime win at Freeport, found that out the hard way Tuesday night as Mancini went off for 16 first half points and 24 overall, as Falmouth led from start to finish in a 65-56 victory.

"The young kids played very well tonight," Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan said. "We're playing better as a team. I'm pleased with what we're doing. We're not there by a longshot, but we're doing good things. We bent, but we didn't break. Earlier in the season, we'd break. Our confidence is growing."

This game proved yet again that the only thing for certain this winter in Western Class B is that absolutely nothing is for certain.

Greely looked to start a win streak, while Falmouth had won three in a row and 10 of 11 and was seeking revenge for a season-opening 63-52 loss in Cumberland.

The Yachtsmen got off to an ideal start when senior Michael Doyle made a bank shot and senior Kevin Smith made a 3-pointer for a 5-0 lead. The Rangers then got on the board on a layup from junior Chris Young, but Mancini converted an old-fashioned three-point play and sophomore Jahrel Registe made a spinning jumper to make it 10-2. After Greely senior Spenser Adams and Mancini traded 3-pointers, Greely got a jumper from junior Erik Thayer, only to see Mancini make a floating bank shot at the other end. Young then made a layup, but Mancini answered with a driving layup of his own to give the hosts a 17-9 lead after one.

Early in the second period, Smith made another 3-pointer for a 20-9 lead. Thayer got one point back with a foul shot, but Smith answered with a layup. Rangers' sophomore Trevor Tierney and Falmouth sophomore Ryan Rogers traded baskets before Greely junior Ben Andreasen and Adams both made short jumpers to pull the Rangers within eight, 24-16.

The Yachtsmen would close the half on an 8-2 run as Mancini made a 3-ball, sophomore Sam Hornung hit a layup, then, after Tierney made two free throws, Mancini hit another 3-pointer for a 32-18 advantage at the break.

After Greely coach Ken Marks delivered some choice words in the locker room, one player, Young, came to life in the third period, scoring 13 points on his own, but the Rangers couldn't get any closer than nine.

Right out of the locker room, Young made a rebound putback. After Mancini sank a jumper at the other end, Young made a layup, was fouled, and made the free throw. Fourteen seconds later, Young made another layup and it was 34-25. After Mancini made a leaner, Young made another layup. Registe converted a rebound putback at the other end, but Young scored on a layup once more to make it 38-29.

Smith then made two free throws and Hornung had a layup for Falmouth before Greely got a foul shot from sophomore Sam Thompson. With 1:31 to go in the period, Hornung scored on a rebound putback, only to have Tierney answer at the other end with a layup. In the waning seconds, Yachtsmen junior Jack Wyman made a layup and Young answered with a dunk. Despite Young's heroics, Falmouth still took a 12-point lead, 46-34, into the fourth.

Greely hoped to make a run in the fourth, but despite nine points from Thayer, couldn't do so. Thayer got things started with an old-fashioned three-point play. After Registe answered with a fastbreak layup, Thayer canned a 3-ball to make it 48-40. Smith responded with a jump shot for the hosts, but with 4:32 to go, Tierney made a layup and the Rangers were back within eight, 50-42.

Doyle responded with a layup and Smith made two free throws for a 54-42 lead, but Young made a foul shot, then Thayer made another 3 to make it 54-46 with 3:02 remaining.

The Yachtsmen simply wouldn't buckle. Wyman made a free throw, Registe followed with two more and it was 57-46. After Adams made a foul shot for Greely, Mancini made a pair of Falmouth and that was pretty much all she wrote. The closest the Rangers got down the stretch was seven, 63-56, before two free throws from Rogers accounted for the 65-56 final score.

Mancini led all scorers with 24 points.

"Tonight, I was able to adjust," he said. "Everyone else on the team is stepping up. We didn't feel like we had it until the end. Not the way Adams can shoot the ball."

"He's a big-time player, but the other kids played well too," Halligan added.

Smith finished with 14, while Hornung and Registe both had big nights with eight points apiece.

For Greely, Young led the way with 22 points (18 of which came in the second half) and 13 rebounds.

"Chris played well," Marks said. "We talked about getting the ball inside. He took it to heart."

Thayer wound up with 12 points. Adams had nine and Tierney eight.

"It was a slow start and Mr. Mancini made his shots," Marks said. "Kevin Smith played well and their role players played well. This is a tough place to play.

Greely (now 10-5 and third in the Western B Heals) hosts Fryeburg Friday, goes to Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday, then wraps up the regular season at home Feb. 8 versus red-hot Cape Elizabeth, in a game rife with Heal Points and playoff positioning implications.

"We have to somehow match teams' intensity," Marks said. "Not everybody's doing that. We have Cape to end the season. Between now and next week we have to put something together."

Falmouth improved to 11-4 and is sixth in Western B, but still has an opportunity to move up. The Yachtsmen go to Cape Elizabeth Friday, then close the year with a home game versus York Tuesday and a visit to Lake Region Friday.

"We have tough teams left," Halligan said. "In this league, you have to come to play every night. We'll be ready."

"Coach said at the beginning of the year that the team who's going to be the best is the one who's improving going into the tournament and it looks like we're on our way to doing that," Mancini added. "We need to work on being consistent."