The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls basketball and boys hockey teams reached the end of the road Saturday in MIAA state tournament losses. The girls lost out on the home court in Oak Bluffs to Norwell, 49-35, while the boys fell to the Franklin Panthers, 4-3, in overtime at the Asiaf Arena in Brockton.
The girls, coming off of a solid 64-39 home win on February 28 over Fairhaven, simply didn’t have it in an MIAA Division 3 South quarterfinal loss against Norwell. The game was the last for Vineyard coach Lisa Stewart, who is retiring as head coach after seven seasons at the helm.
“Just a bad game all-around,” Coach Stewart said. “We did have a fantastic season, however…you always hate to go out when you just have a bad game.”
The third seeded Vineyarders (17-5) trailed 26-23 at the half but couldn’t catch the sixth seeded Clippers (19-5) thanks to shooting 25 percent from the field. The Vineyarders averged 43 percent shooting in the regular season. The girls shot 1 for 16 from the three-point arc, down from a 32 percent average. Across the board, the Vineyard players shot close to 50 percent below their season averages.
Kendall Robinson did her best to keep the Vineyarders in the game and finished with 10 points, five assists, and seven steals. Kat deBettencourt also had 10 points. Jenny Lindland was in foul trouble throughout the game and totaled six points. Maggie Riseborough hit four of six from the free throw line.
Defensively, Katie Stewart did a good job by limiting Norwell’s 6′ 2″ center to 13 points.
The Vineyard boys met Hockomock League power Franklin in an MIAA Division 2 South quarterfinal. The second seeded Vineyarders stunned the seventh seeded Panthers by racing to a 3-0 lead in the opening 6:10 on two goals in two minutes from Tyson Araujo and one from Alexander Vukota.
The Vineyarders found themselves in uncharted territory by having such a large early advantage on a strong team. Vineyard coach Matt Mincone told his players to stay aggressive and continue skating, rather than close up shop and protect the lead. “To be up 3-0 six minutes into the game, we knew they were going to wake up,” Coach Mincone said. “I told the kids after the first period, ‘Franklin is three shots away from tying this game.'”
The Panthers got on the board in the second period and scored twice in the third. The game-tying goal came with 7:28 left in regulation.
The Vineyarders kept skating but couldn’t regain the lead. “We had our opportunities,” Coach Mincone said, “We just couldn’t seem to cash in.” M.V. outshot Franklin 34-22 in the game.
The Vineyard cause wasn’t helped by a questionable tripping penalty whislted on Emerson Mahoney in the final two minutes. As Mahoney and a Panther player were vying for a loose puck behind the net, the Franklin skater on the inside track tripped over Mahoney’s stick as both players went down.
As a result, coach Mincone had to use goal scorers Tyson Araujo and Alexander Vukota, along with Brian Fraser and Charlie Ashmun to focus on killing the penalty over trying to score the game-winning goal.
With the teams headed into the extra period and two members of his most effective line, Araujo and Fraser, fresh off of killing the penalty, Coach Mincone started overtime with his senior line of Kyp Cooperrider, Max Davies, and Shay Hill.
The trio had a good scoring chance in the opening minute but Franklin came back up ice with a three on two break. Vineyard goalie Wyatt Jenkinson made the initial save but the Panthers jammed the crease, allowing Aiden Isberg to tap in the rebound and end the Vineyard season just 63 seconds into overtime.
“We dominated the first period,” the coach said. “In the second period we went toe to toe with them and in the third period, they had a little more gas.”
The Vineyarders finished the season with a 16-5-1 record. “It was a good season,” Coach Mincone said, “I wish we had done better in the league (4-3-1 in the Eastern Athletic Conference) but it was my best regular season record as coach.”
“I was content with the effort we made. I think I got everything I could’ve gotten out of that group. I’ll be okay this summer.”