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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Following a tough 47-32 loss to arch-rival and undefeated Needham (7-0) at TD Garden in the Good Sports Invitational on January 8, the Wellesley High School boys varsity basketball team rebounded this past week with two consecutive wins over Brookline (75-64) on January 10, and Dedham (63-38) on January 13. The two-game streak puts the Raiders back over .500 at 7-5 on the season and well within reach of a postseason berth if they continue their winning ways down the stretch.
The Raiders made a defensive statement right off of the opening tip against Dedham, as after the Marauders won possession, junior guard Ryan Murrey stole the ball back for Wellesley and dished it to senior captain and guard Jack Waisel for the easy lay-in to put the Raiders ahead 2-0.
Both the Marauders and Raiders played lockdown defense throughout the majority of the first quarter, but freshman point guard Anthony Lumley quickly got the Raider offense into rhythm after coming off the bench midway through the quarter. Dedham seemingly had no answer to Lumley’s ability to move the ball quickly up the floor and find open teammates, as Lumley’s efforts and swift passing led to buckets by junior guard Colin Blasco and senior captain and forward Max Guiffre (13 points). Through the efforts of Lumley, Blasco, and Guiffre, the Raiders were able to build a 7-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Dedham went on a 6-2 run to begin the second, and suddenly the Raiders found themselves down by three midway through the quarter. Max Guiffre gave the Raiders back the lead with a three-point play toward the end of the quarter to make it 17-15 Wellesley, and a three by sophomore guard Alex Stoddard made it a 20-15 advantage for the black and red. However, a three-pointer followed by a two-point buzzer beater by Dedham made it a 20-20 game at the half.
The Raiders came out of the break looking like a completely different team on offense, as Wellesley simply couldn’t miss from beyond the arc. Jack Waisel and Alex Stoddard each buried a three-pointer in the first minute of the third quarter, followed by two baskets by Guiffre, as the Raiders went on a 13-2 run to build a 33-17 lead midway through the quarter.
The Raiders did even more damage in the fourth, constantly forcing turnovers through incredible defensive pressure in the Dedham backcourt. Wellesley capitalized off of the Dedham turnovers by knocking down threes and dominating down low in the paint, mainly through the 6’7” frame of senior captain and forward Will Jackowitz. The Raiders were able to pull away by 20 points late and hang on for the 63-38 victory.
At the time of print, the Raiders will return to the court against Natick on January 20 at home before hosting Newton North on January 24.