Lakers, Suns winners as RCBL hoops return for 25th year

Caleb Nicholson makes his move, guarded by Sandy Fisher. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

RCBL basketball returned to the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club Monday for the first time since March 21, 2011.

Due to a void in leadership, the league, which started in 1986 as the Robin (Wingate) and Corley (Maciel) Basketball League, suspended operations for the 2011-12 season.

Last April, Abby Leighton stepped up to become the league’s new commissioner and the seeds were planted for a fall 2012 return.

Monday night in Edgartown, the RCBL began its 25th season with four teams in place ready to start a four-month pursuit of the Golden Rim trophy.

The two-time defending champion Heat tipped off with the Lakers in the first of two opening night matchups.

What was expected to be an entertaining contest was instead a sloppy, ugly game of basketball. Both teams looked rusty after the 20-month layoff. The Lakers were the steadier of the two and prevailed 63-51.

Jason Dyer of the Heat opened the game with a three-pointer to chalk up the first points of the season, but the champs had few highlights after that. The score was a meager 15-13 in the Lakers favor after one quarter. The ice-cold Heat scored only six points in the second period and trailed 27-19 at the half.

Lakers captain Heath Estrella and Matt Rivers of the Heat were the high scorers with 15 points. Other players in double figures were the Lakers Damon Mello (11 points) and Caleb Nicholson (10). For the Heat, Jason Dyer scored three treys for nine points. John Netto added nine more.

The second game of the evening couldn’t have been more different. The Suns and Bulls played high-octane run-and-gun roundball from the opening tip, piling up the points. The Bulls jumped out to a quick 13-7 lead, but the Suns roared back with an 8-0 run and ran away with a 110-88 win.

The Suns had five players in double figures: Jade Cash (27 points), James Holenko (23), Asil Cash (21), Sterling Bishop (10), and Jim Cleary (10).

Brant Silvia had a monster game for the Bulls with 40 points and seven three-pointers. Adam O’ Neal scored 15.