By Eli Hearne.
(TAUNTON)- On Tuesday night, the Sharon High Boys Basketball team fell 65-51 to Taunton High School in their 2016-17 season opener.
Going into this season opener the Eagles had many questions after graduating four of the five starters as well as key role players. To make matters worse, the Eagles lost two would be starters as Peter Banks and Devon Mann transferred away from Sharon.
The Eagles starting lineup features returning varsity players, Jimmy Fitzhenry, Malik Lorquet, and captain Ricardo Ripley, as well as two first-year varsity players Jayvon Monteiro and Alex Kaufmann.
In the first quarter Taunton jumped out to an early lead, but Sharon clawed their way back tieing up the game. Taunton’s shots began to fall as they pulled out to a ten point lead in the second quarter, but Sharon did not give up.
The Eagles began to hit their shots and rebound more efficiently, as they cut the Tigers lead to three at the half.
Yet Sharon could not continue the momentum through halftime. Sharon was outscored 21-5 in the third quarter, digging themselves a deep hole.
Sharon went on a run as Jimmy Fitzhenry caught a hot hand, cutting the lead down to under ten points halfway through the fourth. Yet the 19 point deficit was too much for the Eagles to overcome.
The Eagles lack size this year, so they need to rely on their speed and athleticism. This was evident against Taunton, as the Tigers too often had second and third chances on the offensive end due to poor rebounding by the Eagles.
Captain Ricardo Ripley says that the team had a good first game considering many players had not seen any varsity time before. “I think we did well for a team with a lot of guys who it was their first time stepping on a varsity court, to go and play a team that has been consistently good for the past few years’” Ripley said.
Ripley emphasized communication on defense as something the Eagles need to work on for the next game. “We played decent defense for the most part, but if we communicated better the rotations would have been a little bit easier on defense and boxing out and rebounding would have been better,” Ripley added.
The Sharon Eagles will host rival Oliver Ames on Friday night in what promises to be a hard-fought, electric game.