When Tabor Academy graduate Matt Valles of Mattapoisett joined the Gordon College men’s basketball team, the Fighting Scots had been in a bit of a playoff drought, struggling to earn a win in the first round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. But this year, with the help of Valles, No. 2 Gordon won its first-round matchup 99-85 against No. 7 Salve Regina.
The Fighting Scots would go on to lose 86-70 in the CCC semifinals to No. 3 Endicott, but Valles knows this is a step in the right direction for the program.
“I feel like we have so much potential as a team,” Valles said. “Coming together towards the end of the year was so huge for us. And it’s cool to think we’re going to basically have pretty much the same team next year. We have really high hopes for next year.”
Valles appeared in 25 of Gordon’s 27 games, making 23 starts. He was in charge of guarding the best player on the floor on a nightly basis and made contributions on offense – scoring 4.6 points a game and scoring double-figures twice.
Although he wouldn’t say that he was completely satisfied with his freshman campaign, Valles believes he’s heading in the right direction.
“I believe I met my expectations,” Valles said. “But I’m never really satisfied. I try to work as long and hard as I can. So hopefully next year I’ll be satisfied.”
With the offseason beginning after the last whistle, Valles is already back to work, even though there’s nothing mandatory until after spring break. The soon-to-be sophomore knows he’ll have to evolve his game a little in order to keep his starting spot in the lineup.
That is why he will not only spend more time in the weight room, but he will also focus on improving his ball handling. That way, he can play the small forward position on defense, since those are the players he typically covers to begin with.
“We’re supposed to keep getting quite bigger kids, so I’m going to try and expand my game and be as versatile as I possibly can be,” Valles said.
That would give Gordon a 6-foot-6 small forward and a 6-foot-11 center in Valles’s classmate Parker Omslaer to go with whatever other big men Gordon decides to bring in next season.
After finishing second in the regular season, it seems Valles and Gordon will be well equipped to improve their finish in both the regular season and CCC tournament, with the hopes to make it to the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament.
Old Rochester Regional
Second seed Old Rochester Regional girls’ basketball was upset by No. 15 Pembroke 38-32 in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 South tournament. The young team had trouble dealing with some of the added tension and adversity that comes with a playoff game, but they now have some experience to build on for the future. May Butler was the lone Bulldog to finish with double digits in the points column, scoring 10. Meg Horan scored nine points and Cassidy Yeomans had eight. The Bulldogs finish the year 18-3 after the loss.
Fifth seeded ORR boys’ basketball suffered a similar fate in the opening round of the MIAA Division 3 South tournament, competing a division below the girls’ team. The Bulldogs came up short in overtime against No. 12 Norwell, falling 48-46. Jason Gamache finished with 17 points, five rebounds, and two steals in the loss. Jake Asiaf scored 11, grabbed five rebounds, and had a steal. Cole McIntyre had six rebounds and assists, four assists, and a steal. Old Rochester Regional finishes the 2017-2018 at 17-4.
After taking down No. 11 Diman 64-50, a team that had beaten No. 6 Old Colony in both meetings during the regular season, the Cougars were unable to take down No. 3 Mashpee in the MIAA Division 4 South tournament quarterfinals, losing 78-60. Jake Jason scored 33 points, accounting for over half the team’s scoring, while Zach Soucy had 15. Together Soucy and Jason were responsible for 80 percent of the team’s scoring, with the rest of the team contributing 12 points. The Cougars finish the season 15-7 after going 1-1 in the tournament.
Fifth seeded Old Colony girls’ basketball also made their way to the MIAA Division 4 South tournament quarterfinals after defeating Sacred Heart 49-36 in the first-round matchup. But their next opponent, Coyle-Cassidy, proved to be too much for the Cougars to handle and they fell 66-16. The Cougars finish the season 17-5 following the loss.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar