by Max Clifford
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
In their final game of the season, Dover-Sherborn High School boys’ basketball hosted Cardinal-Spellman for a non-league showdown. After trailing for the majority of the first half, the Raiders turned the game into a back-and-forth affair in the fourth quarter before falling by a final score of 71-68.
After honoring Luke Rinaldi and Alex Banerjee during their pregame Senior Night ceremony, Dover-Sherborn took the court in search of their eighth straight victory. The teams looked evenly matched early on, trading three-pointers and swapping lead-taking buckets in the opening minutes.
Cardinal-Spellman was the first of the two teams to put together a true run, spinning an 8-7 deficit to an 18-8 lead. The game’s leading scorer, Cardinal-Spellman’s Jaydan Exalus, went to work early, dropping 11 of his 35 points in the opening frame.
Late in the second quarter, Dover Sherborn managed to close the gap with the visitors. Inside three minutes to play in the half, sophomore Luke Spellman nailed back-to-back three-pointers to send his team into the halftime break trailing by just two, 35-33.
The Raiders grabbed their first lead since the first quarter with 5:30 left to play in the fourth. Rinaldi, a member of the Dover-Sherborn 1000-point club, added a putback on their next possession to stretch the lead to 59-56.
Rinaldi did most of his damage in the final frame, scoring six of his 17 points in the fourth.
Exalus continued to be a thorn in the side of Dover-Sherborn defenders as he tied the game at 59 with a three point play and again at 61 with a spinning drive to the hoop.
Playing from behind once again, Spellman continued to be the Raiders’ savior, knocking down his sixth three-pointer to tie the game at 66 all with just over two minutes to play. The Sophomore led the way for the home team, scoring a team-high 22 points in the game.
As he did all game long, Exalus made the shots when Cardinal-Spellman needed them most. With under a minute to play, he drove to the hoop to extend their lead to 70-66.
Trailing by three, both of the Raiders potential game-tying shots came up short as the visitors went home with a 71-68 victory.
Dover-Sherborn, who already secured the Tri-Valley League small title for the season, will await their seeding in the MIAA Division III playoffs.