Cambridge, Mass. - The defending Division 1 champions came out a bit slow in their season debut, but thanks to a strong second half from senior captain Jakigh Dottin, the Falcons were able to hold off an inspired Concord-Carlisle team by a final of 71-63.
Jakigh admits that he and his teammates felt a little tight in the first game of their title defense.
“It was a big crowd as usual and of course there were some nerves coming out for our first game trying to defend a state title,” said Jakigh. “A lot of guys were stepping into new roles and we had a new starting lineup but in the second half we played unbelievably well.”
Even with the Falcons struggling from the floor, they held a 32-26 lead going into halftime and a 60-56 advantage after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the stars shined brightest.
Patriots senior Spencer Patenaude (28 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) had a spectacular game shooting the ball, as he went 7-of-12 from three-point range and kept the road team close. Yet every time Patenaude hit a big shot, Jakigh would come right back and attack the basket for a lay-up or a couple of free throws.
The point guard scored 18 of his 32 points in the final frame and assisted on the Falcons only other field goals in the fourth quarter. Yet his uncle and head coach still was not pleased with his overall performance.
“We like to see [Jakigh] be aggressive, but I think he could’ve played a whole lot better,” asserted Cambridge head coach Lance Dottin. “That’s my honest opinion. Guys were open and point guards need to distribute. That’s not to say when you’re open you can’t get to the basket, but we can’t have careless turnovers from our senior point guard.”
Jakigh did find Cambridge sharpshooter Malik Correia for a huge three-pointer to make it 55-49 midway through the fourth, but Patenaude immediately responded with a triple. Along with fellow captains John Mulligan (11 points, 5 assists) and David Poor (16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists), Patenaude and the Patriots performed very admirably in a road game that they were not necessarily expected to win.
“That’s a very good team,” Dottin said, praising his adversary. “They’re well coached by David Cohen, Spencer [Patenaude] is going to college to play basketball for a reason, and [David Poor] has really improved a lot. He was in the shadow of Eric [Sellew] last season but now he’s much improved.”
Poor is replacing an ESPNBoston all-state forward in Eric Seller, and he showcased a new array of post moves with a very capable performance. But Cambridge has a big man who is no slouch, and the 6-foot-8 Dimon Carrigan (14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks) picked up right where he left off in the state tournament last year by controlling the paint on both ends of the floor.
While the Falcons held on for the win, Dottin believes that there is plenty for his team to work on as they move their Dual County League schedule and his nephew recognizes the bulls eye on his teams’ jersey after the brought home an MIAA State Championship trophy last spring.
“Hands down [Concord-Carlisle[ is a great team and I don’t want to take anything away from them,” said Jakigh, “But now my teammates and I know that no one is going to back down from us, and we’re going to get everyone’s best shot, so the next game we just have to come out with more intensity from the start.”
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DC blocks, Jakigh scores on break. Seen this movie? Cambridge up 22-15 early Q2 pic.twitter.com/XbgjWUJznm— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Cambridge playing how it wants, in the open court. Jakigh scores and Falcons lead 28-21 late Q2 pic.twitter.com/oTnJLLETpS— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Halftime: Cambridge 32, Concord-Carlisle 26. Aidan Keefer scores at the buzzer pic.twitter.com/7oYV1DWQez— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Patenaude lighting it up but Jakigh responds with STL and lay. Cambridge 44-39 mid Q3 pic.twitter.com/AP3qD3Uze2— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
End Q3: Cambridge 50, C-C 46. DC gets his 6th BLK here but Palmer follows for Patriots pic.twitter.com/zUieouNG5Z— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Jakigh to Correia for huge 3, but Patenaude hits his 6th going the other way. Cambridge 55, C-C 52 early Q4 pic.twitter.com/biNo1LM2ER— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Another good post move from Poor. C-C trails 61-60 late Q4 pic.twitter.com/D4K507iNxo— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Big and-1 from Jakigh. Cambridge up 65-61 2:38 remaining pic.twitter.com/Ner2agMdrG— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016
Huge fourth quarter from Jakigh Dottin. 17 pts, 2 ast to create all Cambridge scoring. Falcons up 70-61 with 1:18 remaining pic.twitter.com/mgVyQXVCUR— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) December 14, 2016