On the eve of the Massachusetts muzzleloader deer season that began Monday, Island shooters competed for bragging rights and prizes in the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Black powder shoot. A young Island student took top honors.
The Sunday shoot featured several competitive events meant to provide a test for shooting skill and rifle handling. Shooters stood at a distance of 50 yards and shot twice at a standing deer target; they got two shots at a "running deer," a deer target mounted on a cable so that it would slide; and shot at a standing target, reloaded and shot again.
Targets were marked with 10, 8 and 5-point areas. Shooters received a time bonus of ten points minus their time between shots. A skilled "Minuteman" of the Colonial era was said to be able to shoot and reload three times in one minute.
The contest committee awarded Nicholas Giliberto, 15, of Vineyard Haven the Bill Nicholson award along with $100 in memory of club member and muzzle loading enthusiast Bill Nicholson of Oak Bluffs, who died in October.
Mr. Nicholson was a true southern gentleman of North Carolina and an avid Civil War buff who did much to pass on his knowledge and enthusiasm to those around him.
Ed Belisle of Edgartown who provided the money for the plaque and prize said he wanted to honor his friend. "He was a character and I like characters," said Mr. Belisle.
In the open sight division, Nick bested marksmen with considerably more experience. The youngster had a high score of 61.
He hit two eight marks in the standing deer category; an eight and ten mark in the running deer, and shot an eight, reloaded in 68 seconds and shot a ten in the reload portion of the contest.
Steve Carlson of Oak Bluffs and Bill Kingsbury of Vineyard Haven tied for second place in the open sight category. Both men scored a total of 50 points. Bernie Arruda finished in third place with a total score of 42 points.
Cooper "Coop" Gilkes of Edgartown, winner of last month's shotgun Top Gun crown, was on target in the scoped division. Coop, the first place winner, had a high score of 61. Second place went to Steve Carlson of Oak Bluffs, with a score of 58. Sharp-eyed Nicholas Giliberto took third with a score of 47.
According to weaponry experts, a well-trained Colonial era soldier under the stress of combat could fire three rounds a minute for short periods. Because care in reloading was a major factor influencing accuracy only the first round was completely reliable.
Mike Ferry of West Tisbury showed he has what it takes to be a Minuteman. Mike had the best shoot-reload time in the open sight category. He scored a five, reloaded in 32 seconds and hit another five.
Nelson Sigelman of Vineyard Haven blew away the competition in the flintlock category when Cliff Meehan of Edgartown withdrew because of technical difficulties. With no other competitors in sight, Mr. Sigelman took first place with a score of 14 points on a shoot-reload time of 50 seconds.
Dan Hanavan, a Tisbury police officer, was the winner of a raffle for a new Austin and Halleck 50 caliber muzzleloader.
Hunters now have almost three weeks to put their skills to the test in the woods. The muzzleloader season ends one half hour after sunset on Monday, Dec. 31.
There are two elements that distinguish the muzzleloader deer hunting season from the shotgun season. A hunter must use a firearm that loads from the muzzle, and he or she gets only one shot.
A relaxation of the rules that define a muzzleloader has led to the use of a wide range of weaponry. These include the basic flintlock of the style used by the men of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Civil War era cap lock, and highly accurate scoped and rifled weapons like the Thompson Omega that incorporate closed ignition systems protected from the elements, preformed powder tablets, and aerodynamic bullets.
At a little after 6:15 pm on Monday, the published starting time for game one of the Recreational Community (nee Center) Basketball League, referee/commissioner Pete Lambos tossed up the ball and the RCBL's 22nd season was under way.
That first game pitted the Celtics against the Heat.
With game high scorer Damon Mello (28 points) leading the parade, the Heat ran up a 22-14 lead in the first quarter, then grew that to 50-32 at the half.
The 18-point differential at the break was the same at game's end with the Heat up 90-72. Beside Mello, Heat scorers in double numbers were T.J. Roginski 24, Sandy Fisher 11, and Jason Dyer 10.
Is it possible? Apparently so! The Heat went through the entire game without being whistled once for a foul.
Top guns for the Celtics were Monte Bizzarro (20), Matt Rivers (17), and Jeremy Provost (11). Rivers led in rebounds with 16. Clint Merrill grabbed 10 for the Celts.
Monday's second game was Lakers vs. Bulls. Laker Jeff LaBell led all scorers with 36 points. Chris Fischer added 26, 12 from long distance, and Heath Estrella contributed 18.
Most bullish Bulls were Clark Agnew (26) and Ryan Murtha (20). Both Mike Joyce and Sam Berlow finished the game with an even dozen; all of Mike's came from beyond the arc. Sam had two from long distance.
Agnew ruled the Bulls board pulling down 18 rebounds.
Karl Kallinich and Chris Fischer each had 13 for the Lakers.
This Monday the Heat and Lakers go at it early and the late show features the Bulls and Celtics.
Pete Lambos and Greg Rollins wore the striped shirts. Jerry Maciel was scorekeeper and statistician
Boys gnosh on Sandwich
Four of the five Martha's Vineyard Regional High School basketball teams began seasonal play versus Sandwich, Tuesday. The girls were here, the boys at Sandwich.
The boys varsity opened with a skin-of-their-teeth win when Mark Reppert sank the second of two free throws with less than a second left on the overtime clock. Final score: Vineyarders 65, Blue Knights 64.
Martha's Vineyard led at the half, 33-28, after Nick Viera scored his team's first ten points. At the three-quarter mark M.V. was up by nine. But Sandwich took full advantage of some Vineyard miscues to climb back, even the count, and send the game into overtime.
Nick Viera had the Islanders game high with 17 points. Reppert (12) and Bubba Brown (10) also made it to double figures
The Vineyard junior varsity won their game at Sandwich, 57-50. Steve Handy (21) and James Todd (15) did more than their share of the scoring..
Martha's Vineyard Girls edged by Dames
At the Sancy Pachico Gymnasium, the Lady Knights, i.e. Dames, hung on to beat the Island girls varsity, 50-46.
To say the Islanders started slowly would be an understatement. Sandwich led 15-2 after five minutes. But paced by Kia Minor, the Vineyard shook off its lethargy and finished the quarter down by ten, 17-7.
They gained more ground in the second period and trailed at the half by seven, 28-21.
Spurred by Minor's major efforts, the Islanders drew within two of catching the Dames; the score was 48-46 with a half minute to go. But that was it and Sandwich's game high scorer Ellery Gould (24) coolly dropped in the last hoops from the foul line to claim the 50-46 win.
Kia Minor led Vineyard scorers with 14. Julie Perry had 10 and Alicia Oliveira added 8.
The Martha's Vineyard jayvees had their own breathtaking loss to Sandwich, 39-40. Hayley Pierce led the Vineyard effort. She seemed to be everywhere - stealing the ball, hurrying it up court, finding an open shooter. The Islanders caught up midway in the final period and even led briefly, 33-31. The score was tied at 33, 35, and 37, but when the final whistle sounded the Blue Knight ladies were ahead by one.