CAPE ELIZABETH – Jack Simonds and his Falmouth High teammates were intent on making a statement on opening night Friday.
“We lost all five of our starters from last year so we thought we’d come back and prove a point that Falmouth basketball was still going to be around,” Simonds said after scoring a game-high 22 points in a 72-49 victory against Cape Elizabeth in a Western Maine Conference game.
“It was disappointing to lose against Yarmouth last year (in the Western Class B final) so we’re kind of playing with an edge to try to get back there again this year. It all starts with the first game.”
Simonds was front-and-center in the victory, and played a significant role in three stretches that decided it.
Simonds, a 6-foot-5 forward, drained the final five points in an 11-2 run late in the opening quarter that gave the Yachtsmen an 18-9 lead after one.
Cape answered to start the second period with what turned out to be its only dominant stretch. Chris Robicheaw started an 11-2 run with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Two minutes into the period, Cape Elizabeth had tied it, 20-20.
Falmouth leaned on its experience and depth, and didn’t show a moment of concern.
Simonds started an immediate answer to Cape’s threat with the first four points of a 17-3 run that carried the Yachtsmen into the half with a comfortable 37-23 advantage.
“We had a good lead but then we turned the ball over and rushed it,” said Simonds. “Once we set our offense back up, we got back up and didn’t look back from there.”
Simonds helped to all but finish off the Capers with eight more points in a 13-2 third-quarter surge that put the Yachtsmen ahead 52-30.
“Simonds is a special one and he’s just a sophomore,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan.
“Sometimes you expect big things from big kids but you have to remember he’s still 14 years old. I think he built his confidence during the course of last season, and because of his basketball IQ and his basketball experience, he was a tremendous help to us in the tournament. He’s built off of that.”
Grant Burfeind added 15 points and Justin Rogers chipped in 10 for Falmouth.
The game proved an early eye-opener for Cape.
The Capers were expecting a rebound-type campaign this year after a down season a year ago.
“We have some growing pains and a lot of little things, like how we carry ourselves when we’re faced with adversity,” said Cape Coach Jim Ray.
“When we came back and tied it you didn’t see a different demeanor in Falmouth because they believe. When the momentum shifted in the other direction, there was a change in our demeanor and it looked like we were beat in the second quarter.”
Henry Babcock, Ethan Murphy and Robicheaw each scored 11 for the Capers.