It is 4 minutes and 36 seconds Coach. St Martin and the Boys Basketball team will never get back.
For more than 27 minutes on Thursday, February 28, the Rebels dominated Hingham. The clock read 4:36—moments away from winning their first tournament game since 2009. Halfway through the fourth quarter, junior Mo Young finished an “and one” hoop to put the team up 62-46. Those would be the last three points Walpole would score for the rest of the season.
On the ensuing possession, Hingham’s senior Captain Pat Kelly hit a three point shot in the corner to cut the Rebels’ lead to 13; immediately after, the Harbormen coach called a timeout.
“That was the first time all game I felt the momentum starting to shift,” said Coach St. Martin. “We took some poor shots, we turned the ball over, and we just didn’t play like ourselves. The last couple months we’ve been in close games and we’ve done fine, but the State Tournament is different.”
The last four-plus minutes belonged to No. 8 Harbormen, who scored the final 17 points of the game to stun No. 9 Walpole, 63-62, in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 South sectional tournament. Hingham’s senior Eddie Fowler—who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds—hit a fade away layup with 9.8 seconds left for the winning margin, erasing what had been a 23-point deficit at one point.
To gain the 23-point margin, Walpole dictated play in the first half with their up-tempo offense. Juniors Scott Arsenault and Ryan Fogarty continued to make shot after shot, and before you knew it, the Rebels had a considerable lead. Walpole’s initial success quieted Hingham’s vibrant student section—dressed in a full white-out in preparation for their big tournament tilt.
In the last minute of the first half, however, the Harbormen went on an 8-2 run that seemingly continued into the second half. Chipping away at the Rebels’ enormous lead, Hingham cut the deficit to 13 heading into the fourth quarter.
All signs indicated the Rebels were going to win this game: they had silenced the fan section, they were in the bonus, and they had all the momentum. With six minutes left, senior Captain Johnny Adams hit a strait away three pointer, giving a little head nod to the Walpole fan base seated on the opposite side of the court. At that point, everyone thought Walpole was bound to win this tournament game—everyone except the five Hingham Harbormen on the court.
“In the tournament, you can’t lose your focus. And all it takes is four and a half minutes to lose your focus,” said Coach St. Martin.
The Harbormen became like a tsunami the Rebels could not stop. You’d looked up from your phone, shocked to see the Boys Basketball only up by six. Coach St. Martin continued to call timeouts and calm his players down, but nothing could stop Hingham’s momentum. With 9.4 seconds left, Hingham’s Eddie Fowler gave his team their first lead of the game, erasing what had been a 23 point deficit.
Walpole had a chance to escape with the victory as Johnny Adams dashed down the floor, but his shot from a tough angle under the basket was off the mark.
“We played hard, but we couldn’t get it done,” Walpole Coach St. Martin said. “I thought we could make a run (in the tournament), but we came up short.”
After having such a successful season, the Rebels’ inexperience finally came back to bite them; Adams was the only player on the team with any tournament experience.
In the locker room after the game, St. Martin said, “My seniors—Adams, Shepard, Cameron, and Bean—were great leaders and set the foundation for the future of this program. They gave me everything they had for four years and I will miss coaching them.”
“I am very proud of my team and what they accomplished. This loss will only make us stronger.”
Walpole returns four starters next season.