MATTAPOISETT — Collin Fitzpatrick demonstrated he’s more than a golfer on Thursday night.
A two-time Standard-Times Golfer of the Year, the senior proved his place on the hardcourt by scoring six of Old Rochester’s final eight points in a hard-fought 80-77 victory over GNB Voc-Tech.
“He’s a seasoned senior,” ORR coach Steve Carvalho said. “Collin understands the game. I wanted the ball in his hands, and Jake Yeoman’s hands, after Bennett (Fox) fouled out. I’m really confident with him going to the basket. We wanted to get to the line.”
With just over 20 seconds to go, Fitzpatrick drove down the right side of the key and launched an off-balance runner that went off the glass and in for an old-fashioned three-point play that raised a two-point lead to five with 18 seconds remaining.
“I saw the shot clock ticking down,” Fitzpatrick said. “My good friend Bennett was fouled out of the game, so I knew I was basically the best option at that point. I just wanted to take it to the basket and pick up a foul and it just fell in. I was pretty excited.”
Did he think the shot was going in?
“No,” he chuckled, “definitely not.”
Fitzpatrick capped a wild, up-and-down affair that saw the Bears win the battle on the boards (47-26), while the Bulldogs’ efficient offense allowed them to keep a slim lead throughout the game.
“We knew they were athletic,” Carvalho said. “I thought we might have a little trouble rebounding. We did the best we could. Then there was the trade-off of trying to guard them off the dribble in man, or rebound in the zone. It didn’t always work the way we wanted it to.”
While Voc-Tech only led once, at 32-21 in the second quarter, the Bulldogs didn’t go ahead by more than seven in the second half.
With the game tied at 71 with under three minutes to go, Fitzpatrick hit a free throw for a 72-71 edge. After Colin Wildrick tied it at 72 on a free throw, Fitzpatrick came back down and hit two from the stripe. The favor was returned by Shane Poitras Jr., a freshman who finished with 25 points, matching Fox for the game high and tying the game at 74-all with 1:49 to go.
“He’s special,” Voc-Tech coach Jeff Wildrick said of Poitras Jr., who connected on five 3-pointers. “He has a lot of potential. There’s a lot of things he can work on to get better. He has room for growth. But the kid is a player. He’s a difference maker. I’m glad he’s here. If he sticks with it and works hard, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
Old Rochester went up by two on a layup by Matt Brogioli with 1:15 left and the score would remain 76-74 until Fitzpatrick’s traditional 3-point play made it 79-74 with 18 seconds left.
A close battle against a one-win team might prove beneficial to the 7-1 Bulldogs.
“We might have gotten a little ahead of ourselves for a minute,” Fitzpatrick said. “You can’t take any game for granted in this league.”
It also proved to the Bears they can hang with anyone in the SCC.
“I’m really proud of them,” Jeff Wildrick said. “We grew up a little bit. We competed. That’s all you can ask for.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Old Rochester moves within three wins of qualifying for the postseason and bounces back after its first loss of the season on Tuesday to Apponequet.
FAST START: ORR led 24-10 with a minute to go in the first quarter, before the Bears clawed back with a 22-7 run of their own. “We got into our style early on,” Carvalho said. “We wanted to force turnovers and get them in our rat-pack game early on, but it didn’t last.”
ORR INDIVIDUAL STATS: The Bulldogs finished with five players in double figures, led by Fox’s 25. The senior also had eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block. Fitzpatrick finished with 14 points and two steals, Brogioli had 14 points and eight boards, Luke Burke had 11 points and three steals and Cole McIntyre had 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
ORR TEAM STATS: The Bulldogs shot 39 percent from the floor (25-for-64), 33.3 percent from deep (9-for-27) and 62.9 percent from the line (17-for-27) while turning the ball over 16 times.
BRENNAN ROSA: The sophomore sparkplug got off to a good start on the boards and kept fighting on the glass all night, despite standing just 5-foot-8. He finished with 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, adding two assists and three steals. “He’s the hardest working kid in the league,” Wildrick said. “Size doesn’t matter to him. He has tenacity. He understands basketball. He knows where to be and get position. He’s an awesome player.”
VOC-TECH INDIVIDUAL STATS: In addition to Poitras’ 25 points — which included a rare four-point play — and 19 from Rosa, the Bears got 11 from Alexander Polanco, who added three assists and five rebounds. Gabriel Abolarinwa helped Rosa on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds. Caleb Moniz had seven rebounds and two blocks and Ronaldo Diakite grabbed six boards.
VOC-TECH TEAM STATS: The Bears shot 37.1 percent from the floor (23-for-62), 40.7 percent from 3 (11-for-27) and 57.1 percent from the line (16-for-28) while turning the ball over 20 times.
WILDRICK: “I think they learned a lot about each other. If we play as a team and stick together and play hard, we can play with anybody. These kids are young. A lot of them it’s their first year playing varsity. For some of them it’s their first year playing in high school. We’re only going to get better.”
NOTES: The Bears started the game 9-for-14 from deep, but hit just 2-of-13 over the final 14 minutes. … Fox fouled out with 2:12 to go on a very dubious call, but he was later hit with a technical for coming too far off the bench after Fitzpatrick’s and-1 play, which was deserved. … A fan was escorted out of the gym by Old Rochester athletic director Bill Tilden in the final seconds.
Old Rochester (7-1, 3-1 SCC)
Bennett Fox 25, Collin Fitzpatrick 14, Matt Brogioli 14, Luke Burke 11, Cole McIntyre 11, Jake Asiaf 3, Jake Yeomans 2
GNB Voc-Tech (1-6, 1-3 SCC)
Shane Poitras Jr. 25, Brennan Rosa 19, Alexander Polanco 11, Caleb Moniz 7, Ryan Robichaud 6, Colin Wildrick 5, Gabriel Abolarinwa 5
3-pointers: GNB: Poitras 5, Moniz 2, Polanco 2, Wildrick 1, Robichaud 1; ORR: Burke 3, McIntyre 3, Fox 2, Fitzpatrick 1
Next: The Bears host Seekonk on Friday. The Bulldogs host Fairhaven on Friday.