For one half on Friday afternoon at the Sancy Pachico Gymnasium in Oak Bluffs, the Vineyard varsity girls basketball team looked to be on the verge of something special. Senior co-captain Molly deBettencourt, fresh off of becoming the fourth Vineyard girl to eclipse the 1,000-point mark last Monday, was lighting up the scoreboard against Eastern Athletic Conference powerhouse Bishop Feehan with four treys, four free throws in four attempts, and 18 points through the first 16 minutes of play. She and her Vineyard teammates were chasing down and diving after every loose ball, leaping for every rebound, and swarming the Shamrocks with a tenacious defense.
The Vineyarders had built a well-deserved 28-25 halftime lead. During the break, Vineyard Head Coach Sterling Bishop called Molly off the bench and presented her with a special ball to commemorate the occasion, and, with the large crowd giving a standing ovation, she joined her parents at center court.
Molly started off the third quarter by swishing another three-pointer, and the Vineyard lead was six. Things were good. The Shamrocks then made consecutive baskets for the first time in several minutes. MV still led 31-29. Not time to worry yet. Another Feehan hoop tied the game at 31-31. The Shamrocks were on a 6-0 run, but the change in momentum was, at that point, still minute. Once Feehan scored again and completed a three-point play to claim a 34-31 lead, the mood on the floor was changing. The Shamrocks were taking the ball straight down the paint to the hoop, drawing fouls and making their free throws (nine of ten). Soon the run stretched to 13-0, and by the time the third quarter came to a close, Feehan had outscored the Vineyarders 20-2 after Molly’s opening trey.
The Shamrocks continued to pull away in the fourth quarter, and won the day, 64-37. During and after the big Feehan run, the Vineyarders played with grit, but the swagger of the first half was missing, the tenacity was a little less fierce, and shots were not going down. Once Feehan found their rhythm, the Vineyarders simply didn’t have an answer.
“We had a lot of communication on the floor, defensively,” Coach Bishop said. “The strongest point of our team is our defense. We talk to each other, but offensively [in the second half] we decided to hold back a little bit and all depend on Molly, and it just didn’t work out for us today. When we lost that lead in the third quarter, we never got it back. It broke our spirit a little bit.”
Molly deBettencourt led all scorers with 23 points. Rose Engler added five, Lily Pigott had four, Meghan Sawyer, three, and Sasha Lakis, two. Anna Shaughnessy (17 points), Kaitlyn Rapose (15), and Bri Gillen (12) paced the Shamrocks offense.