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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two long-time Bay State Conference rivals met on the hardwood last Tuesday evening as the Wellesley Raiders hosted the Walpole Rebels.
Behind a game-high 19 points by senior guard Ryan Murrey, the Raiders (11-4, 6-4) fought off Matt Falvey (16 points) and the Rebels (5-10, 1-6) for a 58-47 victory.
Wellesley opened the game on a 12-2 run, thanks to a pair of early three-pointers by Murrey, a two-point jumper by junior forward Alex Stoddard (six points), and a layup by sophomore guard Anthony Lumley (13 points). Wellesley went on to extend its lead to as many as 13 at 22-9 before senior guard Brett Lavanchy (12 points) got the Rebels right back in the thick of things with eight straight points, including two three-pointers to conclude the quarter, cutting the deficit to 22-17 at the end of one.
Unlike the first quarter, which saw basket after basket, points were at a premium in the second frame. The Raiders outscored the Rebels 11-2 in the second quarter, thanks to tight defensive play. A three-pointer by Lumley with time winding down in the quarter allowed the Raiders to take a 33-19 lead into halftime.
The Raiders maintained their 14-point edge for the majority of the third quarter following the break, as layups by Stoddard and senior forward Alex Barron (10 points) gave Wellesley a 40-26 lead with 2:34 to play. A free throw by Falvey and a three-pointer by senior guard Trey Wilkes cut the deficit to 10 points at 40-30 for the Rebels.
However, during the end of the third quarter and into the beginning of the fourth, the Raiders went on an 8-0 run thanks to a trio of free throws by Murrey, a three-pointer by Lumley, and a layup by Barron to extend their lead to 48-30.
Walpole cut the deficit back to 48-36 with a little over five minutes to play with a quick 6-0 run. A pair of free throws by Murrey, along with a layup by Barron, extended the Wellesley lead back to 14 points, however, at 52-38. A three-pointer by senior guard Pat Fallon cut the deficit to 57-43 for the Rebels with a little over a minute to play, but the damage had already been done and the Raiders hung on for the 11-point victory.
At the time of print, Wellesley will look to stick to its winning ways at home against Carver on February 16 while Walpole will try and get back on track against rival Natick on February 15.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.