Martha’s Vineyard edges Bishop Stang in girls hoops

Erin Hill and Bishop Stang's Abby Means battle in the paint. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Vineyard varsity girls basketball team moved one step closer to the state tournament Tuesday afternoon in Oak Bluffs with a 38-36 win over Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC) foe Bishop Stang.

The Vineyarders (9-7, 3-4 EAC) are one victory away from a playoff berth and can punch their ticket to the state tournament by beating conference rival Somerset Berkley on Valentine’s Day in Oak Bluffs. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 pm.

Erin Hill provided the winning margin with 57.6 seconds left on the clock. With the Spartans leading 36-35, the freshman forward took the inbounds pass from Taija Browne, slashed through the Stang double team, used a spin move, and put the ball in the cylinder. Hill drew a foul to boot and sank the free throw to complete the three-point play.

Neither team added to their total the rest of the way but the visitors from North Dartmouth put a scare into the Sancy Pachico gymnasium with a last second shot that swished through the hoop but grazed the shot clock on the way down. The referees immediately waved off the basket and the win was in the books.

“I think our team played really great defense and they improved on offense,” Vineyard coach Julie Schmidt said. “We’re still working on our offensive scheme. I feel like they’re playing more and more together as a team, so I’m happy they played until the end. The one thing we said today going into the game was to be very positive. They all remained positive and we ended up winning in the end.”

In what was a tight defensive game with every point hard-earned, the Vineyarders led 28-26 after three quarters. Erin Hill sank a free-throw, Sam Hargy made back-to-back buckets and Taija Browne scored on a running one-hander as the Vineyarders led by 35-28 with just under five minutes left. The Spartans refused to go away and promptly went on an 8-0 run to take their final lead of the game.

In contrast to the dramatic second half, the contest lacked zest in the first 16 minutes. The Vineyarders overcame a slow start and 6-0 deficit to lead 12-8 after one, with Kat deBettencourt banking in a one-hand shot off the glass to end the period. Both teams struggled in the second quarter. Stang got the best of it, outscoring the hosts, 8-4, as the teams went to the halftime break tied at 16.

The third quarter was much better for the Purple, especially Kat deBettencourt, who drained a pair of threes and totaled 10 of her team-leading 14 points. Erin Hill had 10 points and Sam Hargy finished with eight.

MV falls to Coyle Cassidy

Friday at the Sancy, Steph Skiba scored 20 points to lead Coyle Cassidy to a come-from-behind 56-47 win. The Vineyarders led, 30-18, late in the second quarter but the Warriors roared back with a 12-0 run to tie the score at the halftime buzzer and pulled away in the second half.

Kat deBettencourt scored 15 points to lead the Vineyarders. Sam Hargy scored 10 points, Erin Hill nine, and Emily deBettencourt eight.

Jayvee girls lose to Spartans

Prior to the varsity game Tuesday, the Vineyard jayvee girls lost to Bishop Stang 32-23, a marked improvement from a 38-point defeat to the Spartans on January 16. Whitney Schroeder had 11 points for M.V.