Vineyard girls basketball tops Plymouth South

Stellar defense keys win over Panthers.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls basketball team got back in the win column Sunday afternoon at the Sancy Pachico Gymnasium in Oak Bluffs with a 42-33 non-league win over the Plymouth South Panthers.

The Vineyarders rebounded nicely from Friday’s home loss to Coyle and Cassidy by turning in a superb defensive effort against the Panthers. MV’s pressure defense made life miserable for the visitors, holding Plymouth South scoreless for nearly nine minutes and conceding only 11 points in the first half.

The Panthers scored the first two baskets of the game but the Vineyarders scored all the rest in the first quarter. Molly Debettencourt sank a trio of treys, Whitney Schroeder put in a layup and Lily Pigott hit a jumper to give the hosts a 13-4 lead.

Kiana Casey and Whitney Schroeder started off the second period with a pair of buckets to cap off a 17-0 run. After the Panthers ended their long scoring drought, the Vineyarders put together another good stretch. Defensive standout Rose Engler put back her own rebound and Amanda Bernard followed up by grabbing a board at one end and popping in a three at the other. All told, the Vineyarders built a 26-8 lead before Teja Andrews got Plymouth into double digits with a trey in the final seconds of the first half.

The Panthers got their growl back in the second half by using a tenacious press of their own to unsettle Vineyard ball handlers and force errant passes. MV also aided the Plymouth cause by being charitable at the charity stripe, missing 13 of 16 free throws in the game.

Offensively, Plymouth moved the ball around confidently, chased down loose balls, and used up the shot clock to keep the ball out of Vineyard hands.

With two minutes left in the third quarter, the Panthers had clawed back to within eight points at 29-21.

Enter Molly DeBettencourt and Whitney Schroeder, who each made crucial three pointers late in the period to give the Vineyarders a 35-23 lead with one quarter to play.

The final period was a battle of attrition, with each team swarming around the other. Plymouth again closed the gap to eight at 35-27 but could get no closer. The Vineyarders crashed the offensive glass, earning enough hard-won points to sustain their lead and close out the win.

“We did a lot of work in practice on defense and communication and it showed in the first half,” Vineyard coach Sterling Bishop said after the game. “Defensively we played a really strong game. We need to work on some things offensively but we did a good job and I’m proud of our team today.”

Molly DeBettencourt was the high scorer with 16 points. Whitney Schroeder added 13. Brandi Andrews was top cat for the Panthers with eight points.

The Vineyard girls stand at 7-6 and travel to North Dartmouth on Tuesday to take on the Bishop Stang Spartans in a key Eastern Athletic Conference matchup.