Melrose drops second game to Raiders, 73-69

Published January 22, 2021


MELROSE—During the second of their two meetings, the Melrose Red Raider basketball team and the Watertown Raiders left it all on the court at the Melrose Middle School gym on Monday morning with our neighbors to the south prevailing in a tighter-than-expected 73-69 game. Melrose had fallen to the Raiders on Saturday on the road by 20 points so this contest was a vast improvement. 

ZACH FEDERICO had 15 points in Melrose’s loss to Watertown on Monday. (Jennifer Gentile photo)

The outings proved to be a tough draw for Melrose, who was up against a super talented Raider team—perhaps the team to beat in Div. 3—who are led by Div. 1 recruit Gabe Spinelli, who had at least 20 points in the game, including a number of threes. Watertown’s hallmark was the three pointer and they had nearly 15 in the game behind the efforts of a smooth Spinelli and teammate Matt DeOliveria, who had 15 points, including three treys that helped Watertown steal a lead from Melrose as halftime approached. 

Melrose senior captain Ryan Maher led the Red Raiders with 19 points while junior Zach Federico and Chris Paul had particularly strong games with 15 points and 11 points, respectively. Federico carved out a nice game for himself with a double double, leading with rebounds over the day. 

It was a raucous first quarter for Melrose, who fell to a quick deficit of 12-4 and 18-3 behind a bevy of treys from Watertown’s Tyler Timperio. Melrose chipped away behind the efforts of Zach Federico, who was flawless on the foul line. Paul, meanwhile, had numerous assists over the day and prompted Melrose’s late, first-period comeback on a steal turned layup. Ryan Maher made it a game when he hit a three to get the bench on their feet to find Melrose down just 18-15. Nice defense from sophomore Ellis Davis who helped maintain Melrose’s possession and it was critical when Ryan Maher struck again and then Federico found Chris Paul for a layup at the buzzer, which gave Melrose their first lead of the day, 19-18, at the end of one.  

Melrose’s Davis kept the Red Raiders ahead in the second quarter by going clean at the foul line while Ryan Maher and Cam Lippie kept things moving along with a series of baskets. Max Kirby found Lippie on a nice layup to keep Melrose up 29-26. 

From there, Watertown’s Matt DeOliveria found his groove and delivered a punch to Melrose courtesy of three straight treys. Watertown senior Spinelli finished the job before halftime, delivering the last trey before the buzzer, putting Watertown up, 41-35. Melrose wouldn’t take the lead again. 

In the third, Watertown stretched out to larger leads of 46-35 and 52-37 behind the work of Spinelli and DeOliveria. By the fourth quarter, Melrose faced a 20 point deficit of 61-41. But Melrose made it a game in the last quarter. As Watertown slowed down their tempo, Melrose kept things moving, starting with two baskets from Ryan Maher and another clean appearance at the foul line from Zach Federico.

Melrose’s Connor Doherty had the bench riled up when he hit two, consecutive threes and Maher helped Melrose edge closer with a basket that narrowed it, 67-55. Watertown would score only three more times behind the foul line while the Red Raiders saw more offense from Chris Paul (3-4 on foul line) Cam Lippie and Zach Federico. A beauty of a three by Chris Paul at the buzzer ended the game in a close 73-69 loss. While their efforts fell short of victory, Melrose left the court having kept a talented rival on their toes. 

The Red Raiders were scheduled to face the next two weeks of games again Wilmington. But the Wildcats have postponed play due to iCOVID-19 cases. At press time, Melrose was in the process of looking for alternative opponents. Please check our social media pages for up to date scheduling information.