UPDATED: Wareham Vikings conquer first game of state tournament

Mar 6, 2022

The Wareham Vikings squeaked out a 73-69 overtime win over Matignon High School Friday night, propelling the team to its next state battle.

Wareham boys basketball earned a first-round bye week after the team’s winning season, 12-3 in the conference and 15-7 overall.

After the game, Wareham Head Coach Stephen Faniel said he felt relief after pulling out the overtime win at home, in front of a packed house.

“You know the kids have been putting in hard work all season for these situations here, the community came out to support us; I just didn’t want to let them down,” he said. “So it's relief when we win and then very much excitement to move on to the next round.”

Wareham started the game strong, scoring the first six points behind strong defensive play. After a hard-fought quarter, the score stood at 15-12 with Wareham leading.

The teams stayed relatively even through the next quarter of play, trading three-pointers to start the period and continuing to battle back and forth until the halftime whistle when Wareham led 26-24.

In the third quarter, Matignon took the momentum, making a seven-point scoring run to start the quarter and extending their lead to 10 points by the start of the final quarter.

Matignon extended its lead to 13 as the fourth quarter began, but the Vikings didn’t give up, fighting back to within three points of Matignon with less than a minute left. Then, with 45 seconds left, Ajay Lopes scored a mid range shot to cut the lead to a single point.

A Matignon player was fouled on the team’s next possession, hitting one of his two free throws to make the score 58-60 with 25 seconds on the clock.

The crowd erupted as the game went into overtime after sophomore Ajay Lopes scored a layup to tie the game with just seconds on the clock.

After that, a few more hoops put the Vikings over the edge into victory, and as the buzzer rang, students stormed the court in celebration.

Faniel said that part of his team’s game plan revolved around taking away one of Matignon’s best players, junior guard Lateef Patrick, Jr.

“We tried to do different things to take him away and I think that changed the game,” he said. “We started sending doubles at him, making him give up the ball and making other people beat us.”

Faniel said he was glad the team was able to “get a little momentum” going into the fourth quarter and that once they got to overtime he just took it “one play at a time.”

Wareham’s next game will be an away game against Cohasset at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8.

The Cohasset Skippers, seeded just above Wareham in the No. 8 spot as of Feb. 25, beat Bourne 63-42 in their last game.

If Wareham can keep up the momentum against Cohasset, the Vikings will be well on their way to the next Round of 8 game, just two matches away from the state finals.