Vineyarders claim share of conference title
By Sam Griswold
The Martha's Vineyard boys varsity basketball team wrapped up an impressive regular season Tuesday afternoon as they beat conference rival Bishop Stang, 59-55, to earn a share of the Eastern Athletic Conference crown along with Bishop Feehan. The victory leaves the Vineyarders with a 15-3 overall record that should be good enough to secure at least one home game in the up-coming state tournament.
The Islanders trailed after every quarter except for the last. Despite a swarming full-court press that created many turnovers, the Vineyard failed to capitalize, forcing several bad shots in a low-scoring first half. When they managed to break the Vineyard press, the Spartans scored enough to take a 30-24 lead into the locker room at the break.
The home team came out with high energy in the second half, quickly scoring three consecutive baskets to even the score. The teams traded baskets in the third quarter, but the Vineyard looked like the better team, especially on defense as tireless guards Randall Jette, Lamar Moreis, and Shane Schofield continued to create opportunities off turnovers.
The Vineyarders didn't break through until the final quarter. With five minutes to play, Jette picked up a steal in the frontcourt and knocked down an uncontested lay-up to give the Vineyard a well-deserved 47-46 lead that they would not relinquish. Just a minute later, the Islanders had opened up a seven point lead as Steve Handy knocked down a big three-pointer and then grabbed a few precious rebounds down the stretch. The senior captain paced the Vineyarders with 16 points and 11 rebounds overall, while Jette finished with a team-high 5 steals to go along with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
With Bishop Stang forced to foul in the final minutes, the Vineyard could have put the game to rest with some timely foul shooting. However it wasn't until Handy hit the second of two free throws to make it a four-point game with 10 seconds remaining that the result and fantastic regular season record was sealed.
Coach Mike Joyce attributed the win mainly to the success of the full-court press and the stellar defensive play of Moreis, Schofield, and Jette: "Our guards simply overwhelmed their guards with speed and athleticism and came up with a lot of big steals. If we had made some free-throws I would have been able to breath a little easier, but thankfully in the end we hit the one that really mattered."
The Vineyard should host their opening round state tournament game and will discover their opponent sometime next week.
On Friday, the boys posted a 69-52 victory over host Coyle and Cassidy in Taunton. Randall Jette spiced his game-high 20 points with two second-half dunks.
Saturday, M.V. picked up another road win with a 69-63 win over Greater New Bedford Voke.
The Vineyarders jumped out to a quick nine-point lead and held off the charging Bears in the second half.
The Purple had a balanced offense, with five players in double figures. Steve Handy led the way with 13 points, followed by Randall Jette (11), Lamar Moreis (10), Justin Mercier (10), and Shane Schofield (10).
Coyle holds off Vineyarders in girls hoops
The MVRHS varsity girls finally gave coach Lisa Stewart the full 32-minute effort she's been looking for against Coyle and Cassidy on Friday. They played excellent defense, played with more patience, passed well around the perimeter.
They just didn't have an answer for Brenna Gonsalves,
Coyle's junior sensation who scored her 1,000th point last week and poured in 35 more on Friday, to lift the Warriors to a come-from-behind 47-42 win over the host Vineyarders.
That's right, M.V. outscored the rest of the Warriors 42-12. Gonsalves was that good.
Jillian Sedlier was mighty good in her own right for M.V.. "Chief" led the Purple with 20 points.
"We need one of those 14's," [Gonsalves number] Coach Stewart said with a grin following the game. "I thought the kids played great. They really controlled the tempo. They limited their turnovers and played good team defense. They played with a lot of heart." The Vineyarders trailed 13-7 after the first quarter, but ran up an 11-0 run to start the second. The Vineyard defense held Coyle without a basket for five minutes and took a 20-17 lead to the halftime break. Jillian Sedlier scored the go-ahead bucket off of a Crystal Miske steal.
In the second half, Gonsalves took over, and Coyle started to get some of the bounces that were going the Vineyard's way in the first half.
The loss leaves M.V. at 7-9 overall and 2-5 in the Eastern Athletic Conference. The girls need to win three of their last four games to clinch a playoff berth.
"Our goal is to make the tournament," Coach Stewart said. "If we play like we did tonight, I think it's attainable."
Yesterday, the girls were walloped by Bishop Stang, 86-33.
The jayvee girls improved to 8-4 with a 55-46 win over Coyle. Coach Maureen Hill called the win her team's best defensive effort of the season.
Katie Stewart and Kendall Robinson excelled at both ends of the court and led the scoring with 17 points each. Maggie Riseborough added 11 more.
In game one of the Monday night double-header at the Boys and Girls Club, the Heat beat the depleted Bulls, 106-72, to hold on to a share of first place. Jason Dyer led the Heat, who improved to 6-2, with 26 points, including six three-pointers. The Bulls, who fell to 1-7 on the year, were led by Tyson Lippencot who poured in a game-high 33 points.
In the second game, the Suns kept pace with the Heat, posting a 141-100 win over the third-place Lakers. The Suns also moved to 6-2 on the season thanks to a game-high 36 points from Matt Brown and 25 from Tim Scott. The Lakers, who fell to 3-5, were led by D.J. Dolan with 26 points.
Saturday, the boys varsity squad was eliminated from playoff contention for only the second time in two decades after a 6-4 loss at Coyle and Cassidy.
The 5-10-1 Vineyarders got into a 4-0 first period hole against the Warriors, and it proved too deep to escape from, despite three goals and an assist from Darren Gazaille.
This weekend, the Vineyarders host the Fairleigh Dickinson Tournament and will face Lynnfield in the opening round at 7 pm, Saturday.
The Vineyard girls laced up against the mighty Duxbury Green Dragons at the Arena on Saturday, and came out on the very short end of a 10-1 decision.
Duxbury is one of the best teams in the state, and the Vineyarders had no answer for them. The home side did end the day on a positive note, and with a pretty goal to boot, as Gillian O' Callaghan converted a two-on-one with Angela DeBettencourt with seven ticks left on the clock.
On Sunday, the girls traveled to Scituate, where they completed a season sweep over the Sailors with a 5-0 victory. Celia Mercier had a hat trick, and added two assists. Angela DeBettencourt scored the other two M.V. goals. For goalie Jaime Forend, it was her first shut-out of the year.