(VIDEO) Cambridge Rindge & Latin Locks Down Crossroads (CA) at the HoopHall

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

(VIDEO) Cambridge Rindge & Latin Locks Down Crossroads (CA) at the HoopHall
Jonathan Cenescar '18 - Cambridge Rindge and Latin

By Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Cambridge Rindge and Latin is widely regarded as the best team in the state of Massachusetts.
 
The defending Division 1 state champions have not lost to an in-state opponent in two seasons, but facing a star-studded program from Southern California at the annual Hoophall Classic at Springfield College presented a different type of challenge.
 
Yet the Falcons rose to the occasion in a physical matchup with Santa Monica Crossroads (CA), and emerged with a hard-fought 46-36 victory.
 
“It’s always good to find great competition and obviously tonight we found it,” asserted Cambridge head coach Lance Dottin. “Any time you have the opportunity for kids to play competitive basketball you want to take it and this was a great challenge for us.”
 
The Hoophall Classic always features teams with some of the best prospects in the nation and Crossroads came to Springfield with two highly touted recruits in Shareef O’Neal (son of Shaquille) and Arizona commit Ira Lee.
Shaquille O'Neal was in the house to watch his son Shareef. Nate Weitzer photos
 
Lee stands 6-foot-8 while O’Neal is a slender 6-foot-10, and the two forwards provide the base of a lethal 2-3 defensive zone that made it very difficult for Cambridge to score.
 
“It turned into a defensive battle and [Crossroads] is a very good defensive team,” Dottin admitted. “We like to be up in the 70's and there were a lot of things offensively that we didn’t do particular well tonight.”
 
The Falcons trailed 15-12 early in the second quarter and were unable to knock down an outside shot to stretch the zone, but with the shot clock winding down on one possession, senior guard Kareem Octavien (14 points) drained a deep three-pointer to tie the contest.
 
Octavien would hit his next two attempts from long range to open a 23-19 lead for Cambridge by halftime, while his fourth three of the night came during crunch time to put the Falcons up 41-36 and create some much needed separation in a defensive battle.
 
“Clearly [Crossroads] has great size on the inside but we still wanted to get the ball inside and then kick it back out to the shooters. Tonight, Malik [Correia] wasn’t on as he normally is, so it was great to see Kareem [Octavien] knock down those threes,” said Dottin.
 
Cambridge (9-0) received huge contributions from its front-court down the stretch as well with seniors Daniel Rymer (11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) and Dimon Carrigan (6 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals) scoring consecutively to make it a 45-36 game with just less than two minutes to play.
 
From there, the Falcons were able to salt away the win against a premier out-of-state program.
 
“It was just another game for us,” Carrigan boasted afterwards. “This was a business trip. We came out and tried to play offense and defense as best we could and show everybody that we’re Cambridge, and we’re a great team.”
 

 

Stars Who Shined

 

Cambridge

Jakigh Dottin ‘17 G – Only a point guard like Dottin can control the game while scoring just two points and failing to convert a single field goal. The senior produced nine rebounds and eight assists while finding Octavien for all four of his critical three-pointers.

He also found Carrigan off a well-designed inbounds play and the 6-foot-8 center dunked over a Crossroads defender to make it 45-36 and put the exclamation point on the win.

Kareem Octavien ‘17 G – The senior came up clutch against Santa Monica’s tough zone defense. His three triples in the second quarter softened up the Road Runners defense and allowed other Falcons to score in the paint down the stretch.

“I saw the clock running down and I knew I had to take the shot,” Octavien (video above/below) said about his first made three-pointer. “I have confidence in my ability and I don’t really mind where I’m at on the court. I was excited to come out and play and never really felt the nerves.”

His coached heaped praise on the Falcons unsung hero.

“Kareem [Octavien] just doesn’t get enough credit,” Dottin said. “He’s the fourth guy in our rotation behind [Carrigan], Daniel [Rymer] and Jakigh [Dottin]. It was nice to see him make those shots and he also deserves credit as our best on ball defender.”

Dimon Carrigan ‘17 C – The most critical defender for Cambridge on a night in which the Falcons faced a gigantic opposing front-court, Carrigan understood his role as the rim protector in this matchup.

Carrigan with the rejection

“I’m a defensive player, that’s what I do, and the coaches had us prepared for everything, but It’s all about heart at the end of the day,” Carrigan said. “Most games I’m the tallest player on the court but dealing with 6-foot-10 guys today, I had to really focus and get some help from Daniel [Rymer] as well, which is what took the heart.”

He added, “Today wasn’t really about blocking shots for me, it was about changing shots. [O’Neal and Lee] might be bigger than most players I face, but the coaches told me that as long as I stay on my feet and use my reach I can affect their shots.”

Daniel Rymer  ‘17 F – Right alongside Carrigan in terms of paint defense, Rymer denied Lee and O’Neal easy looks and helped force the duo to a combined 6-of-26 shooting from the field.


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