The Island middle school basketball championships are set after a wild week of playoffs that propelled the Island Charter School girls to their first final appearance, along with the Oak Bluffs boys who pulled a stunning upset over West Tisbury to reach the finals.
The defending boys champs Edgartown Eagles, with a perfect 9-0 season, tap off against the (6-3) Oak Bluffs Blazers boys on Monday at 7 pm at the Sancy Pachico Gym at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, following the Charter School against Tisbury at 6 pm. The Eagles advanced with a tidy 39-28 win, led by Jayden Coyle’s 22 points, over West Tisbury.
The Charter School girls earned their first championship try with a grinding 24-13 win over West Tisbury on Thursday. “This is only our third season. The kids are over the moon excited,“ Maria Andrade’s mother, Joanne Andrade, said on Sunday. Their opponent, the lady Tisbury Tigers (7-1), cruised to the championship round with a 41-22 win over Edgartown on Thursday.
But the upset of the season belonged to to the Oak Bluffs boys. The Blazers entered the semifinal game against West Tisbury missing three suspended starters, who had run afoul of school academic rules.
“I’ve been [coaching middle school hoops] for 19 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Blazer Coach Alex McCloskey said of his team’s 39-35 victory over Tisbury last week. “We only had seven kids; essentially a bunch of sixth and seventh graders came together in a playoff game and hung in for the win,” he said.
Mr. McCloskey had the steadying influence of seventh-grader Ryan Koster, but lone eighth-grader Lucas Reis went off with a 16-point, 12-rebound, 12-steal effort to lead the way, backed by classmates Nick Rego and Luke Yuhas.
“Honestly, I think the kids were the only ones who thought we would win, but they were right,” he said. The Blazers led the nailbiter 21-19 at halftime, and by two points late in the game before Mr. Reis hit three foul shots and had a last-second steal to seal the deal.