For the Rebel boys basketball team a 20 point lead may have been just enough to salvage a win after Dedham battled back to cut the lead to just seven with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
Walpole beat the Marauders 71-62 Friday night to put them at the .500 mark on the season with a record of 4-4. Dedham fell to 3-7 on the year.
The Rebels jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter thanks to three 3-pointers by guard Scott Arsenault, who hit five from beyond the arc in the game.
“He’s a great shooter. He works on his shot all the time," said Walpole Head Coach David St. Martin. "He’s one of the kids that stepped up for us.”
Dedham was reeling offensively in the first half and found themselves down 39-18 at the half.
“I think we had such a poor effort against Natick that I think it carried over in the first half of this game and what our kids have to realize is we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain," Dedham Head Coach Chris Fraioli said.
In the third quarter the Marauders came out and matched Walpole's intensity, hustling to lose balls, snagging rebounds and ended up doubling their point total heading into the fourth quarter with the score 55-36.
“I think we played with a little bit of an edge and I think that helped," Fraioli said. "I think we were fearless and to be completely honest with you Jeremy Clifford played his best half of the year. I’ve been looking for that the last 9 and a half games but that was by far his best half.”
Walpole was able to keep the Dedham attack at bay by scoring consistently, but it almost wasn't enough as they saw their lead shrink to just seven at 69-62 with 37.9 seconds left in the game.
“I just think we weren’t helping well enough. I think we got up big and we kind of got a little comfortable and they didn’t quit to their credit,” St. Martin said.
The Rebels hit their free throws down the stretch and won, 71-62.
“We can’t do that. Everybody in this league is really good and everybody is capable of winning. There’s no lead safe in this league and so we have to get better at finishing games,” St. Martin said.
Arsenault and junior Adam Quinlan led the way for Walpole with 20 points apiece. Clifford led the Marauders with 19 points and senior forward Devante Lopes added 13 points.
The Rebels will be on the road Tuesday at Norwood at 6:30 p.m. Dedham plays Milton at home Tuesday.