The CM basketball team’s season could be summed up as going from “doink” to “swish.”
With three games left in the regular season, the youngest varsity squad Coach Denis Tobin has ever fielded had
gone through a season where they played one of the hardest schedules in the state, lost some close games, and sought a star player who knew how to take over a game.
“We didn’t have that go-to guy that we had in Kurtis Henderson,” Tobin said, invoking the name of CM’s
most recent 1,000-point scorer. “That’s part of the reason we lost some close games. Our young guys were not assertive enough to step up at that point in the season.”
Then something interesting happened, the Knights found their confidence and went on a tournament run that no one expected. The turnaround began in the 18th game; a rematch against a 14-4 Scituate team that beat the Knights in the first game of the season. Trailing at halftime by 11, Tobin made it clear that if they had any shot at making the postseason, it had to happen now.
The team went on a 12-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half. Driving to the hoop and forcing turnovers was Peter Gellene ’24 who finished with 17 points, including six in the run that basically saved the season.
Following another upset over 15-4 Newton South, one last challenge remained before the tournament: 20-1
Beverly, a team that beat CM by 27 points earlier in the year. The young silver and red bucks who couldn’t buy a
bucket suddenly became shooters like Ryan Higgins ’24 and Gellene, who were fearless from three-point land
and helped put the Knights up 39-32 at halftime.
Beverly kept it close in the second half, forcing a 66-66 tie with 1:04 left. CM took the lead for good on a Gellene
fadeaway with less than 25 seconds remaining and walked away with a 72-71 win. The upset made it clear that this scrapy, wide-eyed team would enter the MIAA Division 1 tournament as a potential spoiler.
As the 21st seed, CM would be on the road for the rest of the season. First up was a visit to 12th-ranked Attleboro. CM attacked with a hot outside shot, nailing 10 three-pointers, and holding a double digit lead going into the fourth quarter. Attleboro came back late in the fourth and tied the game with 45 seconds
Knight fans were then put through a rollercoaster of emotions on the last CM possession as a wild pass ended up
near mid-court, where Bradt McGowan ’23 narrowly avoided a backcourt violation and quickly found Corey
Dolison ’23 for the game-winning three-pointer with only 15 seconds remaining.
“I made a move and had to shoot. I was thinking just get it in,” Dolison said.
The shot sent the Knights to the next round and showed that their record belied their talent and courage in the
“I felt our record was a little misleading because we had the hardest schedule in the state,” said captain Eoin Morrissey ‘22. “We played two state champions each twice, a finalist, and a few more quarterfinal teams.”
Fifth-ranked Franklin awaited in a second-round game that could be called a mirror match between two
small teams that loved to shoot threes. The Knights jumped out to a 42-28 lead, but Franklin was too good
to stay down and forced overtime.
Both teams traded baskets in the extra frame before threes from Dolison and Gellene put CM up 77-
73 with less than two minutes left. Franklin cut the lead to one with
under seven seconds to go and sent Dolison to the free-throw line for two shots that would determine the
Living up to his new nickname from Tobin, “The Closer” walked to the line and went two for two. One missed
Franklin shot later, and CM had an 81-78 win, a trip to the Elite Eight, a silent gym with the only noise coming
from the CM student section and their rendition of our school’s fight song.
The Knights put up a fight against Elite Eight foe, fourth-ranked Springfield Central and even led late
in the third quarter, but they ran out of gas in the fourth and their season ended with a 67-50 defeat.
While the season was over, Tobin couldn’t have been prouder of this team.
“Springfield Central was so much bigger and athletic than us. I was really proud of the way we competed. Their size wore us out,” Tobin said. “It was a great experience for these young guys who now know what it takes to go further.”
By advancing to the Elite Eight, the expectations for next year are high. With all but two players coming
back, the goal for next year isn’t to be the spoiler, it’s to be the favorite.