Bulldogs win 72-55, reach second consecutive Final Four

Mar 8, 2024

MATTAPOISETT — Old Rochester Regional High School senior Robert Spenard scored all 14 of his points in the first quarter to jumpstart the Bulldogs on their way to a 72-55 victory over Dover-Sherborn High School in the MIAA Div. 3 quarterfinals on Friday, March 8.

At the end of the first quarter, Spenard had scored more points than Dover-Sherborn’s entire team, and the Bulldogs led 26-11.

“He’s a big, strong kid,” Old Rochester head coach Steve Carvalho said of Spenard. “It’s a luxury to have a big guy who can knock down 3-pointers and is also a good passer.”

After a Dover-Sherborn timeout with the Bulldogs leading 17-8, Spenard put the Old Rochester crowd on its feet with a sequence of plays that gave the Bulldogs all the momentum they needed to secure the victory.

Spenard scored a basket to put the Bulldogs up by 11, then sacrificed his body on defense, drawing a charging foul on a Dover-Sherborn player and giving the ball back to the Bulldogs. Spenard promptly made a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 22-8 lead.

Old Rochester expanded its lead to 23 points in the second quarter, and the Bulldogs cruised through the second half to clinch a spot in the Div. 3 Final Four.

“We always want to get off to a good start,” said Carvalho. “We were able to get some defensive pressure in the backcourt and set the tempo.”

Carvalho said that his team aimed to take advantage of a height differential between the Bulldogs and Dover-Sherborn, which resulted in Spenard, John Butler and Chase Besancon oftentimes being guarded by players multiple inches shorter than them.

Junior Zack Mourao led the Bulldogs with 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers in the process.

Mourao’s final 3-pointer gave Old Rochester a 70-50 lead with just over two minutes to play. Upon seeing his shot land where it was intended, the sharpshooting guard raised his right arm and waved goodbye to the Dover-Sherborn student section.

At that point, Carvalho deemed the Old Rochester lead insurmountable and pulled his lineup from the game. The Old Rochester crowd audibly expressed its pleasure with the performance as Carvalho shared a moment of embrace with his players on their way off of the court.

“I knew we had a good team coming into the season, but it took me a little while to mold it and get to where we are now,” said Carvalho.

Butler and Besancon provided additional assistance, each scoring 14 points in the victory.

After getting into foul trouble in the first quarter, point guard Gavin Martin calmly orchestrated the Bulldog offense in the second half.

With the win, Old Rochester punched a ticket to its second straight Final Four appearance.

The Bulldogs will next face Pittsfield High School at a time and date to be determined, with a trip to the state championship game on the line.