The young Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys varsity basketball team (2-15) gave its performance of the year against a high-powered Old Rochester Regional High School (15-3) team before falling 88-78 to the Bulldogs at the Sancy Pachico gym in Oak Bluffs on Tuesday.
The Vineyarders, down by as many as 19 points in the first half in a match that threatened to be a Bulldog runaway, roared back to make it a two-possession game, 84-78, with 29 seconds left in the contest. “This was our best game of the year. Everyone played hard, everyone contributed,” Coach Mike Joyce said after the game.
The stats bear him out. Four Vineyarders scored in double figures and seven players in total scored against a Bulldog team that’s a lock as a state tournament sectional high seed. The Vineyarders were down 49-30 at the break, then outscored the Bulldogs 51 to 39 in the second half as a result of in-your-face aggressive play at both ends.
The nature and intensity of the possible comeback may mean that the Vineyarders’ team discovered itself and its team potential in this game.
Rammon Dos Santo led MVRHS with 17 points, followed by Jared Regan with 15, Mike Trusty with 11, and Aidan Araujo with 10 points in the second half. Jeremy Regan put up eight, Kaio Reis had four, and Sam Wallace scored a pair in the balanced attack. Bennett Fox led the ‘Dogs with 29 points.
How do these things happen? In this case: maniacal defensive intensity, taking care of the ball, sharing it, and bruising to a big rebound advantage did the trick.
Old Rochester is a very good senior-laden team. They shoot inside and outside, and make their free throws (18-24 on Tuesday).
MVRHS starts two freshmen and two sophomores who showed their inexperience early with unforced first-half turnovers that led to at least 10 first-half Bulldogs points. That changed in the second half, and Vineyarders’ pressure created multiple Bulldog turnovers in the second half.
“We start two freshmen and two sophomores and inexperience leads to turnovers. You have to expect that in a young team,” Coach Joyce said. He sure liked what he saw in the second half. “If we had that all year, we would not be 2-15. And if we play like that against Weston, I think we’ll win,” he said.
The Vineyarders play Weston High School on Saturday at 1:30 pm at home before heading to Apponequet High School for a season ending two-game tourney on Feb. 19 and 21.