By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
On Tuesday night, I was back in the beautiful town of Longmeadow for their last game of the season. They hosted the Spartans of East Longmeadow.
(Intersection of Grassy Gutter Road and Bliss Road in Longmeadow, MA)
Tonight was “The Battle of the Longmeadows’”. The are neighboring towns. The high schools are about a 5 minute drive from each other. Longmeadow Seniors Colin Hoffman and James McLaughlin wanted to end their Longmeadow careers with a victory. East Longmeadow Senior Cam Shaw played at Longmeadow last year.
The 1st quarter started with Longmeadow getting out to a 7-0 lead. That run was capped by Longmeadow’s Ryan Mulderig driving to the basket and getting fouled. East Longmeadow HC Brendan Abad called a timeout immediately. After the timeout, Mulderig hit the FT.
(East Longmeadow team huddle)
Shaw hit a three to break the slight scoring drought for the Spartans. On the next possession, McLaughlin hit a nice jumper in the lane. East Longmeadow (EL) Senior Jack Sweeney responded with another three. The score was 9-6, Longmeadow.
(Cam Shaw 3 breaks scoring seal for East Longmeadow early)
Longmeadow got another easy bucket but EL responded quickly. Shaw hit a reverse layup and Ray Carter drained a three to tie the game at 11. All the momentum Longmeadow had before the game and during the opening minutes was transferring to EL.
After the Carter 3, Mulderig got an offensive rebound off a missed shot and put the 🏀 back up for two. On the next EL possession, Carter hit a tough floater which tied the game at 13.
Sophmore Nick Carterud scored before the quarter ended for Longmeadow and they were ahead 15-13. Longmeadow got out to the early lead by getting shots at the basket; East Longmeadow started slow but they got hot from deep and creeped back into the game.
(Nick Carterud awaits inbounds)
The second quarter opened with a three by EL Junior Pat Crenshaw. Over the season, he has gotten better at hitting the open three’s created by Shaw and Carter. He has a good shooting form so he should have a big year for EL next season.
(Pat Crenshaw shoots a 3)
After two FTs by Shaw and a basket on the other end by Carterud, EL was up 18-17.
Longmeadow Sophmore AJ Miles made a flurry of plays to get Longmeadow a slight lead in the game. He made a nice pass to Carterud for another layup; he got to the basket, made the shot, got fouled and made the FT; he made a three. Once again, EL HC Abad called a timeout to break the momentum Longmeadow was regaining.
(AJ Miles passes the ball)
Carter made a great pass to Sweeney for another 3. Longmeadow caught EL sleeping and an outlet pass was made to Hoffman. He went to the basket and attempted a left hand layup. I was standing close to that baseline; the layup looked good but he left it short. EL got the rebound and worked the ball around to Crenshaw and he made another 3 in the second quarter. Longmeadow was up 28-27.
Before the end of the 2nd, Sweeney made a nice pass to Crenshaw for a layup and East Longmeadow took the lead 29-28. That was the score at halftime.
(Jack Sweeney looks to pass the ball)
In the 2nd quarter, EL started creating more turnovers. They pressured the ball and sped up the Longmeadow ball handlers. Longmeadow was still getting shots in the paint.
The third quarter began with a 10-0 run by EL. Anthony Guimares made a 3; Carter got a steal and went the other way for a layup; Guimares made a fast-break layup; Jack Sweeney hit another 3 🔥.
Longmeadow fought back. Hoffman hit a 3 and Carterud made space in the paint for himself (which isn’t hard 😂) and he scored a layup. The score was 39-33 EL.
Carter stopped the Lancers mini-run with another tough floater.
This is where the most theatrical part of the night happened. FP SPORTS tells the story of the whole game: the referees were “letting the kids play” on Tuesday. Longmeadow HC Pat Murphy was getting increasing annoyed and frustrated with the referees. The refs did miss several calls that could have gone Longmeadow’s way. Most of the missed calls (my opinion) were on Longmeadow shots in the paint, especially on offensive rebounds.
HC Murphy’s frustration boiled over after he thought the refs missed another call. He received one technical foul from the ref. HC Murphy kept going with his tirade and he was on the court. He received another technical and got ejected from the game.
(Longmeadow HC Murphy voicing his frustrations)
(Referee ejects HC Murphy)
Last week, Minnechaug HC Mike Orzech mentioned a “6 point play” after the game against Paulo Freire.
This week, EL got a 9 point play: 2 FTs by Guimares, 4 FTs by Shaw and a three-pointer by Crenshaw 😳.
The Spartans were up 50-33. They weren’t done. Shaw hit another 3 and the Spartans were up 53-33. The momentum had completely swung to EL and it stuck there.
The 4th quarter was competitive but Longmeadow could never cut the lead under 9 points. The Spartans won 72-62.
Scorers for East Longmeadow:
(Cam Shaw shoots FT)
Cam Shaw - 24 points
Ray Carter & Anthony Guimares - 14 points each
Pat Crenshaw - 12 points
Jack Sweeney - 8 points
Scorers for Longmeadow:
Colin Hoffman - 17 points
AJ Miles - 14 points
Nick Carterud - 11 points
Ryan Mulderig - 9 points
James McLaughlin - 5 points
Griffin Collins & Luke Pasterczyk - 3 points each
(Colin Hoffman waits to be handed the ball from the referee)
After the game I spoke with EL HC Abad and Ray Carter.
🔴EL HC Brendan Abad⚪️
What led to the slow start in the 1st quarter?
“They came out, they attacked us; they had a great game plan. We had to make adjustments. Our ball-screen defense was very weak but we made an adjustment and our guys dug in. They stepped up to the challenge and they adjusted to that adjustment real quick. And that’s something we always talk about. In games, you have to able to adjust on the fly...also toughness and that toughness mentality. We kinda got out-‘physcialled’ to begin the game, but we dug deep, executed our stuff. They ended tonight’s game the way they should end the season.”
The game was in a bit of ‘chaos’ after Longmeadow HC Murphy got ejected. You called your team together, what were you thinking in that moment?
“Couple things. I know Coach Murphy real well, played for him my Senior year. I was thinking...he’s fiery, he’s intense; he loves basketball. I told the guys, ‘Listen, finish the job, knock these FTs down...keep [your] composure, stick to the gameplan and finish the job.”
Can you tell us about Cam Shaw and what he has given to your program this year?
“Cam Shaw has been an absolute warrior for us; he is a baller. He loves basketball. He can do so much for us...He is so good at creating advantages and utilizing those advantages. He can hit the 3-ball, he has a great mid-range game and he has lot of, like you saw tonight, acrobatic finishes*. He’s been huge for us. I wish he was here 4 years at East Longmeadow but we will take him for one year; he has been absolutely great for us.”
I know its early but how did you feel about this season?
“Ahhh, these guys are just warriors; we love them to death. We tried to instill a team-first culture and a selflessness culture and they have demonstrated that to the fullest...couldn’t be more proud of how the season went.”
🔴EL Guard Ray Carter⚪️
How did you feel out there tonight?
“I mean, we started off bad at first but then we picked it up and took off from there and we blew ‘em out”.
How did you feel about playing your neighboring rival?
“I mean, we been losing to them these past couple years so I was feeling good; I really wanted to beat them and that’s what we came here and did.
What did you say to your teammates after the ejection?
“They were down and it was time to go ‘kill’”.
What are your plans for the offseason?
“Just gonna be working out...”
Both teams had a great season and FP SPORTS was honored to cover these two programs this year.
I personally thank East Longmeadow Athletic Director Kevin Magee, HC Abad and his coaching staff. They have helped me and also encouraged me. Thank you.
I also want to thank Longmeadow Athletic Director Michael Captosoto and the Longmeadow Basketball program. Thank you 🙏🏽.
The biggest thanks is to all the HS basketball players. Thank you for playing and sacrificing, especially this season. 🙏🏽
*😳 Shaw made a layup after putting the ball between his legs and flipping it up to the rim like Kyrie Irving. Shaw was wearing a pair of Kyrie’s 🤷🏽♂️. The basket didn’t count though 😢