Never underestimate the adrenaline produced by an energetic home crowd.
Add 20 turnovers to the mix and a debilitating first five minutes of the third quarter, and the Old Colony League champion Red Raiders soon found themselves on the back end of a rout as the host Catholic Memorial Knights ran away with last night's MIAA Division 1 South Sectional first-round affair, 81-63.
Outrebounded by the likes of 6'8" junior center Gerard Adams and senior captain Dan Powers, the Red Raiders nevertheless did not lack for hustle; but intermittent spurts of the team chemistry seen earlier in the season, combined with a 43.64% shooting percentage from the field, proved ill-fated for the guests and uplifting to a host accustomed to performing in a veritable beehive of amped up fans.
With gym-reverberating chants of "We want Brockton," Catholic Memorial's non-league arch-rival this season, Barnstable's collective ears were ringing. Still, it was not enough to fluster sophomore tall man Liam Garrity who came screaming off the Barnstable bench for 10 points - including a pair of three pointers. Garrity's valiant attempt to boost his teammates' confidence and help the Red & White get back into the mix was admirable, as was the 16-point, 8-rebound performance by senior captain Charlie Rice and the 14-point, 9-rebound effort by Nick Peabody. Garrity would finish the night a perfect 4-4 with two rebounds and an assist.
But those efforts were readily countered by the 7-time Division 1 South Sectional and three-time State Champions, as no less than 10 Knights made the scorer's sheet, including: 15 points from senior captain Matt Droney, 17 pts. from Powers, 11 pts. from sophomore guard Aamahne Santos, 10 pts. from Chris Siggers and 10 points from Adams.
Barnstable's additional scorers included Justin Alvaran (4), Everett Walsh (2), Dylan Morris (2), Travis Kendrew (9), Jason Eddy (4) and Jake Kipnes (3), in numerical order.
Barnstable wrapped up its season at 16-5, while Catholic Memorial moves on at 17-4.
Catholic Memorial enjoyed a 24-17 lead after the first quarter, even as Walsh, Morris, Peabody and Rice scrapped like madmen to keep things reasonable. But in the second frame, the Knights applied an intense full-court press that made even inbounding and getting the ball across mid-court a challenge for the guests. At halftime, the Knights led by 15, 46-31.
And when the halftime intermission elapsed, the CM boys were as calm and cool as one could imagine, steadily racking up points en route to a 68-45 spread. Barnstable had some spark left in it, though, and a few stops and conversions saw the Red Raiders whittle that expansive lead down to nine points with 4:00 remaining in the game. A heroic comeback, just wasn't meant to be.
The Knights will take on Brockton on the road Saturday at 5:00 p.m. Brockton beat CM at the buzzer in a memorable Feb. 10 match-up.