Authors Posts by Ralph Stewart

Ralph Stewart

Ralph Stewart

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Mac Sashin battles with Frank Oftring in front of a sea of Shamrock supporters. – Photo by Ralph Stewart

Updated 12 pm, Monday.

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys basketball team handed Bishop Feehan its first Eastern Athletic Conference defeat, 55-48, Friday night in Attleboro. The Vineyarders improved to 10-4 overall and 6-1 in the EAC, while the Shamrocks fell to 13-3 and 7-1. If the Vineyarders defeat Bishop Stang Monday, February 16, (4:30 pm tip-off) in Oak Bluffs, they will share the EAC title with Bishop Feehan.

BenPoole takes it to the hole around Bishop Feehan's Peter Luongo.
BenPoole takes it to the hole around Bishop Feehan’s Peter Luongo.

Trailing 29-24 at halftime, M.V. turned the game around with a 14-0 run to start the second half, outscoring the Shamrocks 20-4 in the third quarter. Feehan fought back in the final period but the Vineyarders maintained their poise, protected the basketball, and never relinquished the lead.

With the big win, M.V. atoned for a 72-41 loss to the Shamrocks in Oak Bluffs on Martin Luther King Day.

In Friday’s return meeting, the Vineyarders turned in one of their finest defensive efforts of the season. The Purple ‘D’ was particularly effective at limiting second chance baskets with physical play in the paint.

Tim Roberts led the Vineyarders with 16 points and Alex GordonBeck had 11. Mac Sashin scored 10 points and was a force to be reckoned with at both ends of the court. Cole Houston finished with nine points.

An earlier version of this story stated that the MVRHS boys basketball team would play Bishop Stang on Monday, February 9. That game has been rescheduled to February 16.

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Vineyard star Tim Roberts fights with Feehan defenders for a rebound.

Eastern Athletic Conference rivals Martha’s Vineyard and Bishop Feehan renewed acquaintance Monday in a boys basketball matinee played at the Sancy in Oak Bluffs. For the second year in a row, the Shamrocks dominated on the Vineyarders’ home floor and ran away with a 72-41 win. Bishop Feehan improved to 9-2 overall and 4-0 in the EAC, while the Vineyarders fell to 6-4 and 3-1.

Ricardo Andrade squeezes through the lane for a layup.
Ricardo Andrade squeezes through the lane for a layup.

The Feehan victory was comprehensive. The Shamrocks executed with precision on both ends of the floor. They were lights-out shooting from the perimeter, sinking eight treys, and unstoppable in the paint. The visitors also dominated the boards, particularly the offensive glass. The Vineyarders shot poorly throughout, and were repeatedly punished for their mistakes with quick buckets at the other end of the court.

Feehan took command from the opening tip, rolling to an 8-0 lead before Alex Gordon-Beck put the Vineyarders on the board four minutes into the first quarter. The Shamrocks answered with a three-pointer, one of four in the opening eight minutes, and closed out the period with a 19-9 lead.

The Shamrocks increased their lead to 30-13 midway through the second quarter. The Purple responded with their best stretch of the game, putting together a 7-0 run. Matt Stone drained a trey, with Ricardo Andrade and Alex GordonBeck each adding a bucket. As the home fans came to life, the Shamrocks quickly dashed their hopes, ending the half on a 7-0 run of their own to lead 37-20 at the break.

Alex Gordon-Beck lays the ball in the hoop over a Bishop Feehan defender.
Alex Gordon-Beck lays the ball in the hoop over a Bishop Feehan defender.

The second half unfolded much like the first, except that Feehan did more damage scoring from inside. Alex GordonBeck produced the most memorable play for the Vineyard, setting up a basket after chasing down a stray ball and keeping it in play with a wild scoop before falling well out of bounds.

Alex GordonBeck led the Vineyarders on the score sheet with 13 points. Ricardo Andrade had 10, Matt Stone scored eight, and Mac Sashin added six more. Michael Nelson (25 points) and Frank Oftring (20) led the way for the Shamrocks.

“There isn’t much you can say after a game like that,” Vineyard coach Mike Joyce said after the loss. “They [Bishop Feehan] beat us forwards, backwards, and sideways. They outplayed us, outhustled us, and outrebounded us. There were no areas of the game left to get beaten at. We have four days to regroup and get ready for Somerset on Friday. We have to figure out what happened between Saturday and Monday. Saturday, we played one of our best games all year [a 67-59 win Jan. 17 at Bishop Stang], and today we just didn’t play at all.”

Mac Sashin stretches over a Bishop Feehan defender to grab a rebound.
Mac Sashin stretches over a Bishop Feehan defender to grab a rebound.

Friday’s varsity home game against Somerset Berkley tips off at 4:30 pm. The jayvee game starts at 3 pm.

MV falls in jayvee and frosh games

Bishop Feehan also was victorious in the jayvee and freshman boys games played Monday, prior to the varsity contest.

The Vineyard jayvees led by five points with three minutes remaining, but the Shamrocks rallied for a 68-56 win. Jason Lupinski led MV with 15 points, followed by Nick Bond (10), Krishna Datta (9), and Jordan Tate (8).

In the freshman game, Bishop Feehan dominated the first half en route to a 59-33 win. Theo Gallagher was the high scorer for MV with 12 points.

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The Island cup is held aloft by coach Donald Herman (center) and former coach John Bacheller after defeating Nantucket on November 25. — Photo by Michael Cummo

As the year comes to a close, we glance back at 2014 and take stock of some of the highlights. By most measures, it was an exciting year for Island sports at every level; youth, high school, and adult.

A total of eight Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) teams won conference championships. The Vineyard sailors finished the season ranked sixth in all of New England; the boys varsity soccer team became just the second in school history to reach the sectional final in the state tournament; senior Jeremy Alley-Tarter and freshman Olivia Smith set new standards of excellence on the track; and the Vineyard gridders sank the Nantucket Whalers yet again to win an 11th straight Island Cup.

The Under-18 MV United boys travel soccer team won the state championship at the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions in June. Another youth travel squad, the eighth grade girls basketball team, finished as state runners-up.

In the recreational sports leagues, both the winter basketball and men’s summer softball championships were decided in the final moments of a decisive third game in a best-of-three series.

Last but not least, Vineyarder Tad Gold was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles on the  day that he and his Martha’s Vineyard Sharks teammates were honored with their 2013 Futures Collegiate Baseball League championship rings.

The Times takes a closer look at the year in sports for 2014.

Edgartown girls, Tisbury boys interscholastic hoops champs

Few Island sporting events can match the passion and excitement of the Interscholastic basketball championships. In February, the Edgartown girls and Tisbury boys took home the trophies.

The Lady Eagles defeated the previously unbeaten Oak Bluffs Blazers 36-35 in a nail biter that wasn’t decided until a pair of Oak Bluffs free throws fell short with 0:00 left on the clock. Clare Naughton of Edgartown and Molly DeBettencourt of Oak Bluffs each totaled 16 points.

The Tisbury Tiger boys clinched their first title in 25 years with a 47-34 win over Edgartown. The Eagles had a problem with Houston: Cole Houston, that is. Cole scored 27 points to lead all scorers. Lukah Vieira scored 17 for Edgartown.

Eighth grade girls hoopsters state runners-up

The Vineyard eighth grade girls travel basketball team won the Cape Cod Youth League with a 14-0 record, and finished at 23-2 after placing second to Hopkinton in the state tournament March 22 and 23. MV defeated a second Hopkinton team, Duxbury, and Brockton to reach the final. MVRHS girls varsity coach Maureen Hill and Kevin Piggott coached the Vineyard team composed of Saige Araujo, Kathleen Alves, Kiana Casey, Molly deBettencourt, Rose Engler, Devin Hill, Evelyn Medeiros, Ashlee Moreis, Lily Piggott, Julia Regan, and Meghan Sawyer. Although she missed the state tournament due to injury, Kat Roberts was a key player throughout the season.

Banner year for MVRHS sports

Make room for some more purple banners in the high school gym: MVRHS sports teams racked up eight conference championships in 2014.

Photo by Michael Cummo
Photo by Michael Cummo

The girls hockey team won the Southeast Division of the Southeastern Mass. Girls Hockey League, earning a league title for the first time in the program’s history.

The boys soccer team won the Eastern Athletic Conference title outright, while the boys hockey, boys basketball, boys lacrosse, girls tennis and boys tennis teams were EAC co-champions.

The Vineyard sailors once again were unbeaten champions of the Cape and the Islands League.

These eight teams, plus the field hockey, girls basketball, and both cross-country teams  qualified for postseason play.

Suns repeat as RCBL champs

The 2013-’14 RCBL (Robin-Corley Basketball League) finals went the distance plus three extra periods. With the best-of-three series tied 1-1, the Suns and the Heat contested one of the most memorable games in 26 seasons of league play. The Suns outlasted the Heat, 116-113, in triple overtime to repeat as league champions.

Vineyard sailors on the Mark

The MVRHS sailing team had a season to remember. Coach Andrew Burr’s Vineyarders defeated top-ranked St. George’s of Newport, R.I., en route to a 19-3 record and a first-ever appearance in the New England Team Racing Championships (the Mark Trophy), held May 17 and 18 in Osterville. The Vineyarders came into the prestigious event ranked sixth in New England. They won six races at the Mark, finishing sixth overall, just two spots shy of racing for a berth in the national championship.

The three Vineyard skipper/crew combinations, Raz Sayre/Anna Flaherty; Eli Hanschka/Zana van Rooyen, and Charlie Morano/Ellie Reagan, all gave outstanding efforts. Maddy Moore and Lucas Dutton also saw action in various combinations.

The Vineyarders were rewarded for their fine showing at the Mark with a bid to the National Invitational Tournament May 24 and 25 at M.I.T.

Track feats

Senior Jeremy Alley-Tarter capped off an accomplished varsity track career by placing sixth in the Massachusetts All State 800 meters on June 7 at Bridgewater State University, topping his own school record with a time of 1:54:96.

Freshman Olivia Smith became the first Vineyard girl to medal in three events at the state Division 4 meet on May 31 at Durfee High School in Fall River. Ms. Smith finished sixth in the 400 meter low hurdles, breaking her own school record with a time of 69:66; seventh in the 100 meter high hurdles (16:31); and seventh in the high jump (5.0′).

Red Sox, Dodgers are Little League champs

The Red Sox beat the Cubs 10-0 to repeat as Martha’s Vineyard Little League major league champs. Sox starter Jake Howell pitched four and two-thirds innings, striking out 12. The Red Sox broke the game open with five runs in the third and four more in the fifth. Joe Serpa and Jeremy Regan hit two-run singles in the third, while Regan and Oliver Martin added triples in the fifth.

Earlier in the day, the Dodgers clipped the Orioles 9-2 to win the minor league championship. Devonne Saunders hit a triple in the first inning to spark the Dodgers to an early 4-0 lead. Cam Napior doubled and Owen Dibiaso singled to score three more in the third inning. Seamus McLean put an exclamation point on the victory with a two-run homer in the fourth. Silas Abrams was the winning pitcher.

MV United U-18 boys win state soccer title

The MV United boys Under-18 travel soccer team won the state championship at the Mass. Tournament of Champions (MTOC) June 27-29 in Lancaster. The Purple and Black won all five matches, outscoring the opposition 13-0. Vineyard goalie Matt Stone earned five clean sheets. MVU defeated Grafton, Tyngsboro, Brockton, and JBO Celtic of Springfield en route to the final, where they beat Wilmington 2-0. Ryan Uva and Brandon Dwane scored for the Vineyard in the clincher.

MV United finished the season 18-1-1, scoring 71 goals while conceding five.

Tad Gold drafted by Orioles

Tad Gold, a 2010 MVRHS graduate, had quite a spring and summer. In May, he was named division three college baseball player of the year for his play at Endicott College in Beverly. On June 7, Tad, a three-year starter and former all-star with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, stood on the field at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs awaiting a pregame ceremony. He and his Sharks teammates were on hand to receive their 2013 FCBL championship rings. Moments before the ceremony began, Tad got a phone call from the Baltimore Orioles, informing him that he had been drafted in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball draft.

“Hollywood couldn’t have done it better,” said Jerry Murphy, Sharks general manager.

The Sharks had another great season, but lost to Worcester in the FCBL finals, two games to none.

‘Canes and Mama’s Girls softball champs

The Hurricanes won the men’s summer softball championship for the third time in four years, while the Mama’s Girls took the women’s crown. Both teams beat the defending league champions.

The ‘Canes clinched the title by roaring back from a 10-4 deficit with seven runs in the seventh inning to beat the Highlanders 11-10 in the decisive third game of the best-of-three series.

The Mama’s Girls beat the Snaps in the women’s final. The Mama’s, unbeaten in the double-elimination tourney, needed to win once, while the once-beaten Snaps needed a two-game sweep. The Snaps took the first game 14-5, but the Mama’s won 8-5 in game two to win the championship.

Island Star pitch perfect

Island Star won the 23rd Vineyard Football Association summer soccer championship, beating Sports Haven 2-0 to hoist the coveted Gilbert-Hammond Cup.

Boys soccer plays in South finals

Alex Gordon-Beck rises to head the ball toward goal. The shot skimmed over the crossbar. — Photo by Michael Cummo
Alex Gordon-Beck rises to head the ball toward goal. The shot skimmed over the crossbar. — Photo by Michael Cummo

The MVRHS boys soccer team ran roughshod through the regular season, advancing to the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional final. Only Bob Hammond’s 2003 team had gone as far.

Esteban Aranzabe, in his first season as varsity coach, took a roster filled with players from his 2014 Under-18 and 2012 Under-15 MTOC state champions and led the Vineyarders to a 17-3-2 record.

The fourth-seeded Purple eliminated top-seeded Medway in the sectional semifinals. Alex GordonBeck scored a thrilling goal in the final seconds of double overtime to lift MV to a 2-1 victory on Veterans Day.

Four days later, a scrappy crew of Norwell Clippers ended the Vineyarders’ great playoff run with a 2-1 win.

The Cup stays put

From left, Paul Mayhew, Jacob Cardoza, Austin Chandler and Andy DiMattia celebrate the third MV touchdown, putting the game out of reach for Nantucket on November 25. — Photo by Michael Cummo
From left, Paul Mayhew, Jacob Cardoza, Austin Chandler and Andy DiMattia celebrate the third MV touchdown, putting the game out of reach for Nantucket on November 25. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket continued their storied football rivalry in the 36th Island Cup on Nov. 22 at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

The game was a tossup through three quarters.

Ben Clark scored for the Vineyard on a two-yard run in the second quarter. Nantucket evened the score at 7-7 five minutes into the second half, after Keenan Phillips capped an 11-play 71-yard drive with a four-yard TD run.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Vineyarders, who put the game away with two quick strikes.

Senior quarterback Mike Mussell, on his way to setting a school single-season passing record, engineered a 63-yard Vineyard march, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Cardoza. The duo hooked up again on a 36-yard TD with 5:56 left to play.

The Vineyarders have beaten the Whalers in 11 consecutive games, and lead the Cup series 19-17.

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Belle Dinning (left) receives congratulations from teammates Sydney Davies (center) and Olivia Ogden after scoring against Needham.

The girls varsity high school hockey team, like the boys, broke the ice on the 2014-15 season with a rigorous set of pre-season scrimmages. The girls played Division 2 semifinalists Sandwich and Division 1 Barnstable Saturday at the John Gallo Arena in Bourne before finishing up the weekend Sunday at home against D1 Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury.

Vineyard coach John Fiorito has a veteran team, led by senior co-captains Aubrey Ashmun, Erin Hegarty, Sydney Davies, and Olivia Ogden. All are four-year players. Three additional seniors are forwards Megan Hurley and Kiara Vought, along with defenseman Katrina Lakis. Junior Belle Dinning is a consistent scoring threat and is joined on the roster by fellow 11th graders Meg Burke, Courtney Howell, and Jackie Hegarty. Sophomores include Kylie Hatt, Julia Bettencourt, Julia Levesque, Ellie Hanjian, and newcomer Natalija Lakis. Freshman Sage Araujo is the other new face on the team.

“We have a veteran laden team, which I think goes a long way at this level,” Vineyard coach John Fiorito said. “We’re strong down the middle with our defense, our centers, and our goaltending.”

Aubrey Ashmun races a pair of Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors for the puck.
Aubrey Ashmun races a pair of Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors for the puck.

Saturday in Bourne, the Vineyarders participated in a jamboree hosted and organized by Sandwich High coach Steve Noll, benefitting Children’s Cove, a facility offering support to abused children from the Cape and Islands. The Vineyard girls team donated $100 to the charity.

The girls opened play against Sandwich. The Blue Knights tallied the only two goals, but the Vineyarders played well, particularly on defense and in goal, which would remain a constant throughout the weekend.

M.V. were even better in the second scrimmage against a combination lineup of Barnstable varsity and jayvee players. The Purple outscored the Red Raiders, 4-0. Aubrey Ashmun notched a hat trick and Belle Dinning tallied once.

The Vineyarders returned home and played back-to-back scrimmages Sunday morning and afternoon. Contrasting with the boys scrimmages, which were made up of two periods of varying lengths, both girls contests were broken up into the regular season standard three periods of 15 minutes each.

First up were the Needham Rockets. The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the first period, but the Vineyard defense did an excellent job of blocking shots and limiting quality scoring chances. Goalie Jackie Hegarty was sharp, repeatedly covering the puck or directing shots away from the crease.

The teams traded goals in the second period. Belle Dinning scored for the Vineyard, stretching to keep the puck inside the blueline before skating into the slot and lifting a wrister into the top right corner.

Midway through the period, Jackie Hegarty turned over the goaltending duties to Julia Bettencourt, who also played well. Although Needham would tally twice in the final period, once on a rebound and again on a deflection off a Vineyard skate, Bettencourt turned aside four shots at point blank range, three in a rapid fire flurry at the right post.

The girls got a 10-minute break, then turned around and ended the hockey weekend with an excellent showing against the Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors. The hosts peppered the Warrior goal with shots throughout the first period. Aubrey Ashmun had the best scoring chance by either team, clanging a 20-footer off the crossbar with 2:50 gone on the clock.

Lincoln-Sudbury pressured more as the scrimmage wore on but the Vineyard defense again was superb in limiting quality shots. Time and again goalies — first Jackie Hegarty, then Julia Bettencourt — caught or covered up any loose pucks. Bettencourt made the save of the game late in the second period, doing the splits to rob a Warrior shooter at the left post.

“Julia and Jackie are both probably number one goalies,” Coach Fiorito said. “They played great.”

Never lacking in excitement, the scrimmage remained scoreless until the puck took an unfortunate bounce for the Vineyarders with 4:36 left in the final period. After failing on a breakaway attempt, a Warrior forward skated behind the Vineyard goal and flipped the puck into the crease, where it hit a skate and trickled into the net. Lincoln-Sudbury added a second goal into the empty net with four ticks left to close out the day.

“We played great,” Coach Fiorito said after the final whistle. “We played four scrimmages in two days against all good teams. We really held our own. We couldn’t be happier.”

The girls open the regular season on home ice, Saturday at 5 pm against Brookline. The 14th annual Nan Rheault Invitational tournament is set for Saturday and Sunday, January 17–18. M.V. will skate against archrivals Scituate at 7 pm on opening night. Peabody and Quincy fill out the field. The Vineyarders close out the regular season at home on Thursday, February 19, at 4:30 pm against Southeastern Mass Girls Hockey League rival Marshfield.

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Susanna Becchio, Ellie Thomas, Skyler Eddy, Amelia Craig, Emma Caron and Imani Hall in 4 Carots. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


Arden Bezahler, Chloe Hoff, lizzie Williamson, Lily Combra, Susanna Becchio, Cassie Casey, Skylar Eddy, Isabelle Custer, Kayla Eddy, Maggie Burke and Amelia Craig. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


From left, Dave Caron, Sterling Bishop and Sean Mulvey in 12 Pains of Christmas. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


Taylor Jackson (left) and Pandora Bassett in Carol of the Bells. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


Emma Caron (left) and Arden Bezahler in Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


Laina Dubin, Addison Shemitt and Neve Jackson in Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer — Photo by Ralph Stewart


From left, Pandora Bassett, Avery Conely, Fiona Brown, Laina Dubin and Addison Shemitt in Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


Avery Conely, Fiona Brown, Laina Dubin, Addison Shemitt, Jocie Smith and Amelia Melnick in Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


Annie Combra, Addison Blake and Annabelle Matelle in Shake Santa Shake. — Photo by Ralph Stewart


front l-r: Anna Nitardy, Alison Custer, Emma Caron (Grinch) back L to R: Ali Dyke, Chloe Hoyt, Pandora Bassett, Susanna Becchio. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Dancers from RISE Vineyard Performing Arts dazzled capacity crowds at the Oak Bluffs School Sunday afternoon and evening with two performances of Season’s Greetings VI. The sixth annual holiday program had something for everyone, incorporating jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, hip-hop, and creative movement styles. The students performed 18 holiday favorites, including “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Baby,” “Little St. Nick,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Dreidel Song,” and the Dr. Seuss inspired a “Whoville Christmas,” starring the Grinch. Although the students earned enthusiastic applause throughout the shows, the adults may well have brought down the house with a take-off on the “Twelve Days of Christmas” called the “12 Pains of Christmas.” Pieces were choreographed by RISE director Jil Matrisciano, Tiffany Chanelle, Julie Chapnick, Michelle Delaney, Natasha Huffam, and Melissa Kanavel. All proceeds from the performances benefitted the RISE Above Access Program, an assistance fund that makes dance possible for students and families in need.

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Emerson Mahoney eludes a Hamden Green Dragon with a quick change of direction. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys hockey team, which has never shied away from tough pre-season competition, took to the ice at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena over the weekend, skating against three top Division 1 programs.

As always, the scrimmages, where the scores are wiped clean after each period, are used as an instructional tool for both players and coaches. In the end, the Vineyarders worked hard throughout the weekend, taking some lumps on the scoreboard in three of the four periods against Framingham and Acton-Boxboro, while putting together two excellent sessions against Connecticut powerhouse Hamden.

“It’s not about wins and losses during scrimmages,” Vineyard coach Matt Mincone said, “It’s about identifying the weaknesses to get ready for the first game of the season. We’re able to expose players to every situation. That’s what scrimmages are for. It was a starting point. There are a lot of new guys playing new positions. Players who were on the team last year but who didn’t play much are playing now. It’s a matter of us learning what we are doing. Five on five, if we play sound, the way we’re capable of doing it, we can play with anybody.., but when we start chasing around, we’re exposed.”

The 2014-15 Vineyard roster is composed of six seniors, ten juniors, seven sophomores, and one freshman. Senior forward Austin Morley will captain the team. Senior Andrew Wiley, who has been on the team for four years, is currently out due to injur, but Coach Mincone hopes to have him back in the near future.

Vineyard defensemen Nick Vukota carries the puck over center against Acton-Boxboro, with teammate Steven Brown in pursuit. —Photo by Ralph Stewart
Vineyard defensemen Nick Vukota carries the puck over center against Acton-Boxboro, with teammate Steven Brown in pursuit. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

Over the weekend, Vineyard lines included Tristan Araujo, Austin Morley, and Emerson Mahoney; Greg McCarron, Joe Davies, and Jonas Lukowitz; along with Nainoa Cooperrider, Bryce Nelson, and Stephen Brown. On defense, Matt Davies was paired with Nick Vukota; Dorian Johnson, converted from forward to defense, played with Mason Jeffers; while Aksel Cooperrider skated with James Sashin. Senior Nick Kent, made the biggest leap, moving from forward to goaltender, sharing duties with junior Wyatt Jenkinson.

Against a big, fast, well-organized Framingham Flyers team on Friday night, the Vineyarders’ biggest problem wasn’t a lack of effort but a case of leaving too many rebounds loose in the crease and too many Flyer poachers alone to knock loose pucks in the net.

“Our culture of blocking shots and being good in our defensive zone was awful,” Coach Mincone said. “We we’re blocking shots, but guys are getting behind our defensemen; that’s not how we play. The goalie’s objective is to make the first save and we clear out the rebound. If we don’t clear out the rebound, then we have a problem.”

Saturday morning against the Hamden High Green Dragons, the men in purple and black were feisty and aggressive from the start, outskating and outplaying the team from the Nutmeg State over two periods. Goalies Nick Kent and Wyatt Jenkinson were solid between the pipes as well. The teams traded two goals apiece in the first 20-minute session. Emerson Mahoney scored the first Vineyard goal by sliding a shot inside the near post from five feet out. Austin Morley picked up the assist. Mahoney returned the favor four minutes later, setting up Morley, who whistled a wrister top shelf from the right circle.

The Vineyarders were even better in the second 20 minutes, outscoring Hamden 2-0. The first goal came after the puck took a crazy carom off the rear boards, bouncing 10 feet into the slot where Jonas Lukowitz stepped up and blasted it high into the twine. Emerson Mahoney put an exclamation point on the morning session by collecting the puck at center, bursting down the right-hand boards, decking the Hamden goalie and slotting the puck inside the right post.

The Vineyard boys concluded a busy 24 hours Saturday night by facing off against the Acton-Boxboro Colonials, who outscored both Framingham and Hamden in their previous two scrimmages.

The Vineyarders matched the Colonials stride for stride through 15 minutes of the first session. Austin Morley scored the lone Vineyard goal by cashing in a fine centering feed from Emerson Mahoney. Tristan Araujo also assisted. Following the goal, the locals lost their focus on defense. Acton-Boxboro tallied three times in 90 seconds, all thanks to loose rebounds and ample room for the Colonial shooters to make their way around and into the Vineyard crease.

The Purple responded with a better second period, scoring twice to the Colonials thrice.

Austin Morley notched his second of the night at the midway point and Emerson Mahoney ripped a wrister into the top left corner with four minutes remaining.

The Vineyard boys begin the regular season with road games Friday and Saturday in Hyannis against Sandwich and Dennis-Yarmouth. The home opener is Saturday, December 20, at 5 pm vs. Lowell Catholic. Other home dates to circle on the calendar are January 17 (M.V. vs Nantucket, 1 pm); January 21 (Eastern Athletic Conference archrivals Coyle Cassidy, 5 pm), and February 14 and 15 (the annual Fairleigh-Dickinson tournament, which includes Lynnfield, Weston, and Westwood).

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Cam Moore (right) makes life in the paint tough for Aidan Araujo. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

The 2014-15 Interscholastic basketball season tipped off Tuesday afternoon with the Tisbury Tigers playing the Oak Bluffs Blazers in girls and boys action. The boys took to the court at the Oak Bluffs School, while the girls played at the Tisbury School gym.

The boys game proved to be a showcase for Tisbury’s Dylan Dyke, who excelled at both ends of the court. Dylan scored 31 points and swatted down numerous Blazer shots as the defending champion Tigers posted a 47-23 win. Owen Porterfield also reached double figures for Tisbury with 11 points. For the Cottage City dwellers, Aidan Araujo scored eight points, Jared Regan had seven, and Jeremy Regan netted six.

The Oak Bluffs girls, meanwhile, turned the tables on Tisbury, taming the Tigers, 44-12. Sascha Lakis led Oak Bluffs with 18 points. Bella Arias added 10 more. Kya Maloney scored six for Tisbury and Skyla Harthcock had four.

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Lamar Moreis drives to the hoop for the Lakers, while Bulls Luke Bettencourt and John Neto try to stop him. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

Four weeks into the RCBL (Robin-Corley Basketball League) season, the Heat are clearly the team to beat, sporting a 4-0 record after scorching the Suns, 116-82, Monday night at the Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown.

The Heat raced out to an early 18-6 lead. The Suns, the two-time defending league champs, are off to an 0-4 start but showed their grit by outscoring the Heat 16-8 in the final four minutes of the period to trail 26-22 at the buzzer. From there, the Heat steadily took command. Steve Handy and Lucas Brewer combined for 16 points in the second quarter to give the Heat a 56-43 lead at the half. Handy and Nick Viera lit up the scoreboard for 22 more in the third as the Heat used a 12-0 run to lead 87-63 heading into the final period. Game over. Viera scored a game-leading 33 points on the night. Handy (21), Lucas Brewer (20), brother Cody Brewer (19), and Julius Middleton (10) also reached double figures for the Heat.

Julius Middleton of the Heat (right) wraps up Asil Cash of the Suns. —Photo by Ralph Stewart
Julius Middleton of the Heat (right) wraps up Asil Cash of the Suns. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

Asil Cash had the hot hand for the Suns with 32 points. Jake Martin scored 14, while Tim Penicaud, Milos Milinkovic, and James Cleary had 10 points apiece. In the opening game of the league doubleheader Monday night, Anthony Johnson scored 34 points, including six three-pointers, to lead the Bulls past the Lakers, 92-87. Both teams are 2-2.

The Lakers led 21-14 after the first period. Trailing 40-31 with three minutes left in the second, the Bulls turned the game around with a 14-4 run to close out the half on top 45-44. Picking up where they left off, the Bulls outscored the Lakers 8-2 to start the third quarter and led 53-46. The Lakers roared back to tie the game at 53-53 but would not retake the lead for the remainder of the evening. The Bulls maintained a slim lead well into the final period until Anthony Johnson and Jared Silvia drained back-to-back treys to open up an 80-68 lead with six minutes to play. The Lakers chipped into the Bulls lead but could not find a consistent scoring touch down the stretch.

Three other Bulls joined Anthony Johnson in double digits. John Neto scored 19, Jared Silvia had 12, and Keeland Gomes added 10. Ben Ford poured in five treys and scored 29 points to lead the Lakers. Heath Estrella had 24, Jeff Labell 13, and Lamar Moreis 11.

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MVRHS varsity football team enjoys its fourth consecutive victory.

Jacob Cardoza makes a spectacular grab on a flea flicker pass from James Sashin. –Photos by Ralph Stewart

Martha’s Vineyard won its fourth consecutive varsity football game in convincing fashion by shutting out the Bellingham Blackhawks 28-0 Friday night at a chilly Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

Clockwise from bottom left: Vineyard cheerleaders Kayla Oliver, Samantha Cameron and Cykka Lovett perform during the halftime show.
Clockwise from bottom left: Vineyard cheerleaders Kayla Oliver, Samantha Cameron and Cykka Lovett perform during the halftime show.

The victory evened the Vineyard record at 5-5 and atoned for a 35-6 loss to Bellingham in the 2000 Eastern Mass Division 5 Super Bowl. In that game, the lone Vineyard highlight belonged to Travis Baptiste, who scored on the opening kickoff.

“The difference tonight was that we didn’t run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown,” Vineyard coach Donald Herman joked after the win. “We have a teacher [at MVRHS], Ryan Kent, who played on the 2000 Bellingham team and, of course he’s been thumping Bellingham and wore his jersey today. I told him if we don’t run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown we have a good chance to win.”

On this night, Bellingham received the opening kickoff and drove to the Vineyard 15 behind a bruising ground game, chewing up 8:57 of clock. The Vineyard defense refused to break, however, and forced a turnover on downs.

The Vineyarders responded with an 85 yard drive, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mike Mussell to Ben Clark with 23 seconds left in the first quarter. James Sashin booted the extra point to put M.V. up 7-0.

Mike Mazza thwarted the Blackhawks next drive with a leaping interception. The Vineyarders drove deep into Bellingham territory but did not score.

Ben Clark stiff arms a Bellingham foe, while Vineyard teammate Andrew Fournier moves in to assist.
Ben Clark stiff arms a Bellingham foe, while Vineyard teammate Andrew Fournier moves in to assist.

The Purple doubled their lead with 1:30 left in the second period after Ben Clark broke loose on the option for an 80-yard run down the left sideline. M.V. led 14-0 and nearly added another score before halftime. On the final possession of the half, the Vineyarders started at their own 20-yard line. First, Jacob Cardoza rumbled down the right sideline for 28 yards. Next, James Sashin lobbed a flea flicker to Cardoza, who made a spectacular diving catch at the Bellingham 15. The Vineyarders got off three more plays before time ran out but the Blackhawks snared Mussell’s final throw in the back of the endzone.

The Vineyarders continued to excel on both sides of the ball throughout the second half.

Dan Costello recovered a fumble at the Bellingham 48, 4:26 into the third quarter. Mike Mussell connected with James Sashin on passes of 25 and 10 yards before Jacob Cardoza bulled in from the two for the Vineyard’s third TD of the night. Sashin then split the uprights to make it 21-0.

Lucas DeBettencourt put the finishing touch on a sparkling Vineyard effort with a two-yard touchdown plunge late in the final period.

After an 0-4 start, the Vineyarders have pulled themselves back to .500.

 David Macias sacks Bellingham quarterback Alec Godfrey.
David Macias sacks Bellingham quarterback Alec Godfrey.

“I’m very proud of the way the guys have rebounded,” Coach Herman said. “We’ve won four in a row now. We’re 5-5 with an opportunity next week to finish up with a winning season. That’s an awesome goal for us right now. We haven’t given up any points in the past two weeks. They [Bellingham] had a pretty good offense. The main thing we wanted to accomplish was to come out of this game healthy.”

And healthy the Vineyarders are heading into next Saturday’s clash with Nantucket in the 36th playing of the Island Cup.

Pending a game at West Bridgewater November 15, the Whalers are currently 7-2 under first year coach Brian Ryder and have a big, talented squad.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Coach Herman said. “We’re excited. They’re a good football team. They’ve been having a great year. They have a new coach this year, Brian Ryder, who played for Vito [legendary Nantucket coach Vito Capizzo]. He’s done a good job there. They’re big, physical and athletic, so I look forward to a very good football game.”

The 36th Island Cup kicks-off at 1:30 pm Saturday, November 22 at Dan McCarthy Field. The Vineyarders lead the Cup 18-17 and have won 10 straight over their island rivals, while Nantucket holds a 35-28-3 edge in the overall series dating back to 1953. The jayvee contest begins at 10:30 am.

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Asil Cash of the Suns charged to the hoop, pursued by Will Fielding (left) and Cody Brewer.

The 2014-15 RCBL (Robin Corley Basketball League) season got underway Monday night at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown. The adult recreational league has been an Island fixture for more than 25 years. If Monday’s opening-night doubleheader is any indication, the four month quest for the Golden Rim trophy promises to be an exciting one.

Mike Baptiste of the Suns (left) and the Heat's Sandy Fisher battled in the paint.
Mike Baptiste of the Suns (left) and the Heat’s Sandy Fisher battled in the paint.

The league has a new commissioner this season. Former RCBL veteran player Jason O’ Donnell, also the jayvee boys basketball coach and assistant varsity football coach at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, takes over the reins from Abby Leighton, who ran the league for the past two years.


Heath Estrella (left) tried to shake Jared Silvia. — Photo by Ralph Stewart
Heath Estrella (left) tried to shake Jared Silvia. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The new season tipped off with the two-time defending champion Suns taking on the Heat. The contest was an offensive free-for-all, with the teams scorching the nets for 245 points. The Suns held a narrow lead midway through the first quarter but the Heat took over from there and posted a solid 128-117 win. Asil Cash of the Suns poured in 56 points and Nick Viera rang up 50 for the Heat. Cash hit six three-pointers on the night, including four straight in the second quarter. The Heat led by as many as 20 points several times in the second half but the Suns never let the game turn into a blowout.

Steve Handy scored 30 points for the Heat. Tim Scott drained five treys and finished with 18 points, while Will Fielding chipped in 11 more. For the Suns, Dujan Dugalic made an impressive debut with 29 points and Caleb Garde had 10.

The second game of the twinbill couldn’t have been more different than the freewheeling opener. The Lakers beat the Bulls 92-72 in an intense, physical game filled with contact in the paint. Both teams toned down the run and gun in favor of a more patient half-court attack.

With the game tied at 11-11, the Lakers closed out the first quarter on a 10-2 run to claim a lead they never relinquished. The teams played to a 20-20 stalemate in the second period but the Lakers pulled away in the final 24 minutes thanks to sharper shooting.

Five Lakers scored in double figures. Jeff Labell, Sterling Bishop, and Ben Ford netted 17 points apiece. Lamar Moreis scored 14 and Mike Cotrone had 13. Luke Bettencourt led the Bulls with 15 points, followed by John Swan (14), Anthony Johnson (10) and Jared Silvia (10).

The league is back in action next Monday night in Edgartown with games at 6:45 pm and 8:30 pm.