Two-way play leads Wareham Boys Basketball to beat Apponequet

Jan 8, 2023

LAKEVILLE — Thanks to strong defense and versatile offense, the Wareham High School Vikings beat the Apponequet Regional High School Lakers 74-62 in a boys basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Apponequet.

The Vikings built a large first-half lead through aggressive defense and efficient shooting, but the Lakers roared back late in the game when they matched Wareham’s physicality.

Wareham’s junior center Antoine Crosson led both teams with 18 points. Most of his points came from near the basket, where he used his 5-foot-6-inch frame to corral offensive rebounds and put the ball in the basket over swarming defenders.

Ajay Lopes, Wareham’s junior guard and co-captain, scored the second-most points for his team with 17. Apponequet’s leading scorer, senior Josh Keller, also scored 17 points.

Wareham used a full-court press on defense from the game’s first possession. 

Apponequet struggled to break the press in the first half, and it showed on the scoreboard. Wareham caused an early turnover with a 10-second violation, meaning they prevented the Lakers from getting the ball past halfcourt within the time limit.

“I thought the defensive pressure and intensity was really good,” said Vikings Head Coach Steve Faniel. “That’s what leads to offensive possessions and easy baskets.”

Lopes kickstarted the game with a three-pointer, and fellow Vikings co-captain Diego Mello added three threes of his own to give the visitors a 24-13 lead after the first quarter. Seven first-quarter points from Keller and five from senior Jackson Gagnier kept Apponequet within reach.

Wareham entered halftime with a 36-23 lead, but the Lakers cut Wareham’s lead to seven points in the second half. 

“In the first half, I thought Wareham was more physical than us and they earned the lead they had,” said Lakers Head Coach Jim Cabucio. “I thought we picked it up with the physicality to try to get back into the game.”

Keller scored seven of his 17 points in the third quarter to spark Apponequet’s offense. Six different Lakers scored in the game’s final quarter, including five points from Will Levrault and four from Caiden Cyr.

Wareham held a 21-point lead with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, led by Crosson’s eight points in the period.

Apponequet cut the Vikings’ lead to seven points during the fourth quarter. Despite encouragement from a loud students’ section and two late three-pointers from senior Marcus Kuriscak, Apponequet could not fight all the way back. 

“Wareham made shots when they were supposed to make them,” Cabucio said. “I have to give them a lot of credit. I don’t feel we played real bad, but they played so much better.”

Wareham freshman Aaron Cote scored five of his eight points in the fourth quarter, and Lopes scored four points in the last two minutes of the game to seal the win for the visitors.

“With this group, it’s about energy, intensity, and playing like a team,” Faniel said. “When they do that, they’re tough to stop.”