It was a thrilling sports doubleheader on the Vineyard Thursday, as both the boys’ hockey and girls’ basketball teams played at home and won in the opening round of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament.
The boys’ hockey team kicked off the double bill with a hard-fought win 5-3 over Dedham at the MV Arena, a game that featured a thrilling third period with lots of drama, intrigue and heroics.
In game two – which started just as the hockey game ended across the street — at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, the girls’ basketball team scorched Fairhaven by the lopsided score of 64-39.
With the win, the boys’ hockey team advances to play Franklin in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Brockton. The girls’ basketball team also advanced to the quarterfinals and will play at home Saturday against either Norwell or Hanover.
After finishing the regular season with a record of 15-4-1, the best record ever under coach Matt Mincone, the Vineyarders earned a number two seed in the tournament and earned the right to host a game against 15th seed Dedham.
In the first period, it certainly looked like a second seed against a 15th seed, as the Vineyarders dominated in almost every aspect of the game, winning most the face-offs, taking more shots on goal and keeping the puck in the Marauders zone.
But despite their superior play, they led only 1-0 after the first period, thanks to a goal late in the first period by Emerson Mahoney, with assists from Tyson Araujo and Brian Fraser.
The Marauders ratcheted up their play in the second period, playing more aggressively and taking more shots on goal. They tied the score about five minutes into the period on a goal by John Fitzgerald, with an assist from Paul Leahy.
For Fitzgerald it was the first of three goals on the game, giving him the unusual distinction of scoring a Hat Trick in a loss.
The Vineyarders took the lead back less than a minute later on a goal by Fraser with an assist from Mahoney. But the Marauders quickly tied the game again on Fitzgerald’s second goal, this time with assists from Ronny Pucci and Leahy.
The score was 2-2 at the end of two periods.
Both teams came out flying for the third period, and the intensity level was high on the ice and in the stands. The Vineyarders took a 3-2 lead 3:33 in on a goal by Charlie Ashmun, with assists from Austin Morley and Sam Burke.
Two minutes later, the Vineyarders took a 4-2 lead on a goal by Fraser, his second of the game with assists by Tyler Araujo and Matt Davies. The home crowd erupted, but the Marauders were not done, and pulled to within 4-3 on Fitzgerald’s third goal of the game.
The Vineyarders put the game on ice a few minutes later with a spectacular goal by Shay Hill with an assist Araujo, even more impressive since it came during a Marauders power play when they were one skater down.
The Marauders had their chances to get back into the game in the closing minutes with a series of power plays, but were unable to score again.
The home crowd left the arena happy, many of who crossed the street to watch the girls’ basketball team take on Fairhaven.
Like the boys’ hockey team, the girls’ basketball team had a stellar regular season, compiling a record of 16-4, also the best record under coach Lisa Stewart, earning them a number three seed and bye in the first round of the tournament.
The Vineyarders faced 14th seeded Fairhaven on Thursday, a matchup with added drama, since it was the Blue Devils that knocked them out of the MIAA tournament last year.
The Vineyarders jumped out to an early lead of 20-9. Maggie Riseborough hit an early three-pointer to give the home crowd a thrill. Riseborough had two three-pointers in the game, and finished with a total of 18 points.
“Maggie has a beautiful shot, she can hit that shot from the outside,” coach Stewart said after the game.”
Later in the first period, Jennnie Lindland stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a score, followed by a steal from Kendall Robinson who also drove the ball down the court for an easy layup.
Lindland and Robinson played great defense all game, and consistently disrupted the Blue Devils’ passing lanes and stole the ball.
Robinson finished with 17 points, including three consecutive three-pointers early in the third period. After the game coach Stewart said she encouraged Robinson to shoot the ball before the game.
“I told her to look for her offense and take her shots, and she did. But as good as she was on offense she was just as good on defense tonight, she was incredible,” the coach said.
Despite the hot start, the Blue Devils climbed back into the game and trailed only 24-21 at the half, and cut the deficit to only one at 27-26 on a three pointer by Ashley Brown.
But it was here the Vineyarders kicked it into overdrive, going on a 29-5 run in which they completely shut down the Blue Devils offense and scored every way possible – off turnovers, from the three points stripe, in transition and in the paint.
When the smoke cleared, the Vineyarders led 47-28 after three quarters, and the Blue Devils never got any closer. Brown led the Blue Devils with 12 points in the loss. Lisa Stewart finished with nine for the Vineyarders, and Lindland finished with 10.
Coach Stewart said her team played with poise and confidence.
“After last year’s [tournament], they feel comfortable being here on the big stage. I told them before the game they had come out firing on all cylinders, and I think we did. Everyone played great . . . this was a great team win,” she said.