A look back to 1979: The Vineyard vs Nauset at the Garden

The Vineyard boys basketball team at the Boston Garden in 1979 for a game vs. rival Nauset. — Photo courtesy of Phil Regan

Until Tuesday, the Martha’s Vineyard boys basketball team last played a tournament game at Boston Garden in 1973. Though it wasn’t a playoff game, MVRHS also played on the Celtics’ hallowed parquet in 1979.

Vineyard Haven Harbor was frozen and it was quite an adventure just getting to Woods Hole, never mind Boston. Although it was not a tournament game, in the late 70s a game against arch-nemesis Nauset was as big as any tournament game. The teams were invited to play at the Garden, prior to a Celtics game, in order to increase fan interest in the Celtics, during a time when the C’s were not doing so well (one year before Larry Bird donned the number 33).

The game was well attended by both sides and hard fought. The Vineyard prevailed 66-63, and eventually won the Cape and Islands title. That same year M.V. beat both Barnstable and Falmouth (Falmouth had the second tallest center in Eastern Mass., 6-foot, 9-inch Helmut Bryant. Patrick Ewing was the tallest) in a pre-tournament scrimmage. The Vineyarders went 18-3 that year, losing in the state tournament.

Of the 15 players, three no longer live on the Island (Ralph Harding, Peter Clements and Mike Daniel, although Peter and Mike are regular year-round visitors ), one is deceased (Chris Rebello) and the other 11 remain locally involved.