Martha’s Vineyard wins two of three in Saturday home openers

Kassidy Bettencourt gets off a shot during the first period against Latin Academy. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Three varsity teams opened the home half of their winter schedules on a busy Saturday of high school sports. The girls and boys hockey teams skated to solid wins, while the boys basketball team, Mass. South sectional finalists and 21-3 last season, suffered a deflating loss.

The girls hockey team was first to play and improved to 2-1 on the young season with a 4-1 win over Boston Latin Academy.

Kassidy Bettencourt put the Vineyard on the board just 52 ticks into the game by converting a rebound at the left post. Emily Cimeno and Tayla Kuehne earned the assists. Aubrey Ashmun made it 2-0 at 10:27 by capping off a rush down the left wing with a forehand shot that beat Latin goalie Natalie Lombardi under the pads. Erin Hegarty and Belle Dinning assisted.

The Vineyard lead was 3-1 with 3:27 left in the second period after Kassidy Bettencourt tapped in a rebound at the left post, following strong work in front by Sydney Davies and Callie Jackson.

Emily Cimeno provided the finishing touch, courtesy of Bettencourt and Ashmun, by slapping in a perfect feed from behind the net for a power play goal with 2:47 to play in the game.

The Vineyarders outshot the Dragons 20-18. Texe Craig was stellar in net, turning aside 17 shots.

The win made a great birthday present for coach John Fiorito, who received a cream pie to the face from his jubilant team after the game.

“They [Latin Academy] came into the game 2-0. We beat Brookline 3-2 [in the opening game of the season December 8], they beat Brookline 7-2, so we were a little nervous,” coach Fiorito said. “We talked about getting better every period, every game, and we did. We improved over Wednesday’s game [a 2-1 loss to King Philip] head and shoulders, came out strong, and scored each period. Texe played well, and we made some adjustments in the second period that helped. They had a lot of odd-man rushes in the first period, so we had to shore things up a little bit. We couldn’t be happier: they rose to the occasion.”

The Vineyard boys took to the ice next at the MV Arena against Lowell Catholic. The home opener was billed as White Out night. The first 100 fans received white tee-shirts sporting the new Vineyard hockey logo. Players from the girls hockey team were waving white pom-poms and wearing their white game jerseys (they wore the road black in the win over Latin Academy).

The Vineyarders did not disappoint the packed house and skated to a 3-1 win. Kyp Cooperrider put the Vineyard in front at 4:11 of the first period by peppering the Crusaders’ cage until he poked the puck in. Max Davies and Shay Hill had the assists. Tyson Araujo scored on a power play from Alexander Vukota at 9:39 to make it 2-0.

Sam Burke set up Brian Fraser for an insurance goal in the third. Freshman goaltender Wyatt Jenkinson had a solid night between the pipes, with 20 saves.

Both Vineyard hockey teams will hit the road for the remainder of the year. The boys are back on home ice, January 5 against Nantucket, while the girls are away until January 12, when they host Norwell.

Boys hoops

While the Vineyard icemen were playing Lowell Catholic, across the street at the Francis “Sancy” Pachico gymnasium, the boys basketball team dropped a 59-49 decision to the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins. The Vineyarders led 28-25 at the break but fell apart in the second half. The hosts shot poorly and simply did not execute well enough at either end of the floor to win a basketball game. The Dolphins shot effectively from the perimeter in the second half and made fewer mistakes.

“That was not pleasing to a coach’s eye,” coach Mike Joyce said. “The effort and attention to detail was just not there. We had 29 turnovers, I think. You’re not going to win a game doing that. We had spurts when we played well, but they were too few and far between. We lacked the intensity necessary to win the game.”

Nivardo Anderson scored 11 points and Jack Roberts totaled 10 for the Vineyard. The Purple were back at the Sancy on Wednesday at 4:30 pm to tip off against Sandwich. On Saturday at 2 pm they take on Abington at home.

Despite the varsity woes on the hardwood, the boys freshmen and jayvee teams both rolled to double-digit wins over D-Y earlier in the afternoon. Silas Berlin scored 21 to lead the Frosh to a 53-33 win. The jayvees downed the Dolphins, 66-48, behind 28 points from Tim Roberts.

Girls hoops

The Vineyard varsity girls basketball team had the road to themselves among the locals on Saturday, when they traveled to South Yarmouth to take on Dennis-Yarmouth.

Mya Houston popped in a trio of three-pointers and scored 12 points as M.V. (2-0) routed the Dolphins 63-28. Maggie Riseborough had 11 points, Kendall Robinson nine, and Jenny Lindland eight.

The Vineyarders played Sandwich in their home opener Wednesday at 3 pm.