By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Following a 71-56 victory against No. 25 Shawsheen in the round of 32, the No. 8 seed Dover-Sherborn High School boys basketball team hosted No. 9 Abington on Wednesday night in a battle of the last two Division III state champions (DS - 2019, Abington - 2020 co-champion).
Wednesday’s “Sweet 16” matchup between the Raiders and Green Wave decided who would advance to take on top-seeded St. Mary’s (Lynn) on Friday in the “Elite Eight.”
Back-to-back buckets by senior Ethan Lynch (eight points) and Brian Olson (nine points) helped the Raiders build a 6-0 lead. Abington responded with a 9-0 run with three consecutive 3-pointers by Tommy Fanara (24 points) to claim a 9-6 lead and force the Raiders to a timeout. Following the break, the Raiders made some adjustments and were able to limit Fanara to just two points throughout the remainder of the quarter. DS battled back to take an 18-16 lead at the end of one.
Junior forward Luke Rinaldi (25 points) began to enforce his will at the start of the second quarter, draining a 3-pointer before hitting a tough floater in the paint to make it a 23-18 game. A 3-point layup by Lynch and a 3-pointer by senior guard Zach Spellman (25 points) extended the lead to 30-21. Two more 3-pointers by Spellman, along with an athletic put-back by Olson, helped the Raiders build a comfortable 42-25 lead at halftime.
Rinaldi continued to overpower Abington at the start of the third quarter, laying home consecutive layups to begin the quarter followed by a 2-pointer from Spellman. An athletic put-back under the basket by Olson while fighting off contact helped DS build their lead to an even 20 points at 58-38. Following another layup by Rinaldi, Spellman hit the shot of the game, crossing up his man and drilling a deep 3-pointer as time expired in the quarter to give the Raiders a 63-38 lead at the end of three.
DS was able to sub out most of its starters in the fourth quarter and cruise to an 80-62 victory. Both Rinaldi and Spellman finished the night with 25 points. Unfortunately for DS, Spellman tested positive for COVID the following the day and was forced to miss Friday’s contest with St. Mary’s. DS fell by a final of 64-46.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.