Martha’s Vineyard rolls to victories in boys and girls hoops

Malik Johnson runs ahead of the Green Wave on the fast break. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Heading into the holiday break, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School varsity boys and girls basketball teams are on a roll. The boys rebounded from a dismal performance against Dennis-Yarmouth in the home opener on Saturday, Dec. 15, with resounding victories over Sandwich and Abington. The girls started the season at 3-0 following a win over Sandwich in their home début on December 19.

Vineyard tsunami

The boys rolled over the Abington Green Wave, 72-57 Saturday afternoon at the Sancy. The Vineyard defense was tenacious and forced several Abington turnovers. Navardo Anderson scored 20 points, Deshawn James had 16, and Jack Roberts and Izak Browne scored 11 each.

“The first half we played very well,” coach Mike Joyce said. “The offense moved the ball well. Defensively we played really well and that was the difference. Their best player [Brandon] Cawley was out and that hurt them. We still need to be a little more consistent through the game, play all 32 minutes, and not let them back into the game.”

The visitors were in trouble early. The Vineyarders ran out to a 14-4 lead and closed out the first quarter up 20-8.

The Purple piled it on in the second period. Navardo Anderson slammed in the first of four thunderous Vineyard dunks to make it 37-18 with one minute left in the half. After an Abington bucket, Izak Browne sent the Sancy into a frenzy by slamming in a dunk served up off the backboard by Jack Roberts. M.V. led at the break, 42-20.

The Vineyarders started off the second half with another Navardo Anderson stuffer. The hosts led 46-23 when Joyce brought in the bench. Abington chipped away at the lead and reeled in the deficit to 64-55 with 90 seconds left in the game, before the coach put most of his starters back in the game.

Izak Browne soon responded with his second slam of the game to put the Vineyard up 68-55 and that was that.

The Vineyarders are 3-1 and play Thursday at the Stripes tournament in Mashpee.

Vineyarders devoured Sandwich

The Sandwich Blue Knights were in the unfortunate position of being the Vineyard’s guests on December 19. The Purple, who finished 21-3 last season, were fresh off of an embarrassing 59-49 defeat in the home opener four days before and definitely had something to prove.

The Vineyarders played a gem at both ends of the floor. The hosts led 36-15 at the half and won 75-47. Ten players scored and four shot in double figures. Izak Browne drained three treys and finished with 13 points. Jack Roberts, Deshawn James, and Navardo Anderson each scored 12.

The Vineyard defense was airtight and held Sandwich to four points in the second quarter. “That’s what this team is capable of,” coach Joyce said. “The offense will struggle at times, but defensively we usually set the tone for the game if we can.”

Girls beat Sandwich in home opener

The Vineyard girls are off to perfect 3-0 start after a 73-58 win over the Blue Knights on December 19. Coach Lisa Stewart got a balanced attack from Jenny Lindland (17 points), Maggie Riseborough (16), Katie Stewart (13), and Kendall Robinson (10). Riseborough and Stewart were the top rebounders.

“Balanced scoring is what we expect all season,” coach Stewart said. “Any one of the starting five can be the leading scorer on any given day and that’s hard to defend.”

Maggie Riseborough has registered a double-double in each game. Freshman Mya Houston has come off the bench to score at least one three-pointer in each game, and she led the team in scoring against Dennis-Yarmouth on December 15. “Every time she’s in, she [Mya] scores a couple of quick buckets; she’s a catalyst,” coach Stewart said.

Senior Alayna Hutchinson has been stellar on defense. “Alayna is relishing her role of being a defensive stopper on their shooters,” the coach said.

Coach Stewart also attributed the team’s bright start to the presence of new assistant coach Jillian Sedlier, who is on the sidelines this year along with longtime varsity assistant and junior varsity coach Maureen Hill. The former Vineyard basketball standout and co-captain, known as Chief, is in her first season as a coach.

“We are so lucky to have Chief as an assistant this year,” coach Stewart said, “She has a great way with the kids. She has a quiet way about her but is not too shy to give constructive advice to the kids. The kids trust her because they have either played with her or have seen her play. She’s a role model.”

The Vineyard girls are off until Thursday, when they will join the boys in Mashpee to play in the Stripes tournament.

Jayvee boys win, frosh fall

Tim Roberts scored 25 points to lead the Vineyard jayvee boys to a 65-49 win over Abington Saturday in Oak Bluffs. Matt Stone scored 18 and Alex GordonBeck added 10.

Abington did not leave the Island empty-handed. The Green Wave beat the Vineyard freshmen boys 55-36 Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown.