Raiders top cross-town rival Falcons

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., Dec. 26, 2012
Enfield's 'Raider Nation' cheering section made the Fermi gymnasium seem like a home contest for the Raiders. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Enfield's 'Raider Nation' cheering section made the Fermi gymnasium seem like a home contest for the Raiders. Photos by Colin Rajala.

The Enfield/Fermi high school rivalry has been thriving for the better part of three decades, but with the recent high school consolidation getting ready to take place, there will not be too many more chances for the two schools to square off for town pride. The boys’ basketball contests have been lopsided for the past six years, with Fermi dropping all six games by 138 points - an average defeat of 23 points per game. This year’s contest was much different, as the Falcons (0-4) played tough and hung with the Raiders early on, going on an 11-0 run early in the first quarter. The Raiders recovered from the early deficit and went on to win the tight contest 66-52, on Friday, Dec. 21, at Enrico Fermi High School.

"It's the rivalry game, so you can throw talent out the window, records out the window, everything out the window," said Enfield head coach Cory O’Connell. "Both teams want to win and have that pride factor around town. I told my guys at the beginning, they're going to be hyped up and we have to stick through it. I was proud of my guys, how they came through, stuck together, didn't panic at all and just pulled through."

Enfield put the first points on the board after senior Tom Meskell stole an outlet, passed and assisted on an easy lay-up for senior Kevin Camidge before Fermi would make its run and seize the early momentum. Senior Alex Zachary drove the lane and laid it off to senior Josh Murphy for the easy bucket. Zachary spurred much of the early attack, tallying another assist to Murphy on a similar play while capping the run off with two open-court steals and fast-break lay-ups. The teams scored six points apiece to end the quarter with Fermi maintaining the 17-8 advantage.

Enfield came out on fire as they cut the lead to 19-18, with the help of senior Paul Lima’s three-pointer and open-court steal and lay-in. Fermi answered back with free throws from senior Dan Brunetti and a fade-away jumper from Murphy before Enfield sophomore Ra Preston hit a three-pointer to draw Enfield within two again. The Raiders took their first lead of the half since the opening bucket on a three-pointer by Lima with under two minutes left in the half. On the next possession, Lima hit another three from about 2 to 3 feet behind the line for a 30-25 advantage. Enfield connected on four threes on the quarter and went into the half up 30-28.

Enfield came out in the second half in their full-court press, just like the first, except this time it was much more effective. The adjustments made in the locker room at half spurred a huge 19-4 run for a 49-34 lead. During the run, six different Raiders scored. The run was kicked off again by Lima with a jumper, and on the next possession an offense rebound and free throws. Fermi took a big blow at the end of the quarter when Zachary went down with an ankle injury that kept him out for the remainder of the game.

“I harped on them at halftime about having pride stopping someone and being offended if someone scores on you,” O’Connell said. “It’s hard to keep it up play after play after play, but being such a close game at half, I told them we need to come out and really give everything they had just to get up and put them away early.”

In the fourth quarter, the Raiders extended their lead to as much as 20, while Fermi could not draw the game closer than 12 in the final seven minutes.

“We knew we had it in us," said Fermi head coach Bob Evans. "We played our pace, but unfortunately we had some turnovers and they capitalized.”

Enfield was led by Lima’s 22 points, including fourth three-pointers, while Preston added 16 points and Camidge contributed 11.

Murphy led the Falcons, scoring 14 points, while Brunetti added nine.

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