Dedham High boys basketball coach Chris Fraioli had a difficult time getting a read on his team entering Monday night’s season opener. A 67-63 overtime victory over Cardinal Spellman that saw the Marauders surrender a double-digit lead only to rally with the final nine points of regulation may have provided a little window of what he can expect this winter.

“I’m pretty impressed,” said Fraioli. “We struggled with finding an identity in the preseason, so I was happy that we came out and executed early and played defense early. Then, we when we hit that point where we struggled and they took the lead, we could have turtled and we didn’t. We battled. They definitely showed me a lot tonight.”

Sophomore point guard JoJo Powers led Dedham with 21 points, while senior captain Mike Mansour added 19, including five of the Marauders six points in overtime, all of them coming from the line.

Mansour and fellow senior captain Billy Casey are the only Marauders with starting experience back from last year’s team that went 15-7 and won the Tri-Valley League Small in their debut season in the league.

That doesn’t mean Fraioli is lowering expectations, however.

“The goal remains the same, qualify for the tournament and win the league,” said Fraioli. “The league is tough, our side is tough, so it’s going to be hard and we are going to be the hunted.”

Powers saw significant minutes off the bench as a freshman and appears poised for a breakout, adding five assists, seven rebounds and four steals to his team-high point total, but the rest of what was mainly a seven-man rotation on Monday night is mostly untested at the varsity level. 

The trio of Mansour, Casey and Powers was joined in the starting lineup by senior Ryan Flaherty, coming off a terrific football campaign at quarterback, and junior Larry Lyman, with sophomores Matt Ryan and Alonzo Polk getting the first calls off the bench.

That group has already shown they can respond in the face of adversity as after building the largest lead of the game at 42-31 in the third quarter, Spellman roared back behind Craig Faria, who exploded for 20 of his game-high 27 points during a 30-10 run that put the Cardinals up 61-52 with under three minutes to play.

Dedham answered by closing regulation with a 9-0 run to send it to overtime, keyed by a pressure defense that forced four turnovers down the stretch. Powers had five of the points, including a drive that cut it to 61-60 with 41 seconds to play after a Flaherty steal and the tying free throw with 14 seconds left.

Ryan drilled a clutch 3-pointer during the comeback, one of his two in the game, but the Marauders didn’t have much luck from behind the arc as a team, hitting just three total.

The Marauders nearly won it in regulation but a Casey jumper was just short in the final seconds and a foul on Ryan’s offensive rebound was ruled to have occurred just after the buzzer.

But Dedham controlled overtime, scoring the last six points after Spellman got the opening bucket. Mansour was 5-of-6 from the stripe in OT, going 10-of-12 on the night.

Lyman had huge rebound in overtime to help seal it. This year’s team is constructed a little bit differently that recent Marauder squads without a true post player and it showed up on the boards at times, but Lyman and Ryan gave Dedham solid production up front, combining for 15 points.

“I’ve been spoiled the last six years with a 6-6 kid every single year and we don’t have that,” said Fraioli. “We need all five guys to play defense and rebound, and I think in the last two minutes overtime they did that, and we are going to need that going into our TVL opener.”

The Marauders begin the defense of the TVL Small title in Westwood on Friday.