Interscholastic basketball begins
The Oak Bluffs Interscholastic basketball teams are faced with an intriguing challenge entering the 2008 season: How do they improve upon perfection?
Both the boys and the girls squads finished the 2007 campaign as undefeated champions.
If their opening game dominations of Edgartown are any indication, they plan to pick up right where they left off.
The O.B. girls played first on Monday afternoon and beat the visiting Eagles 32-18. The Blazers broke it open in the second half, but struggled with the Eagles in the first 12 minutes. O.B. led only 14-12 at the break.
Cat Todd led the Blazers with 10 points. Kendall Robinson had 6 points and was a terror on defense with 8 steals. Madison Hughes scored 6, stole 4, and grabbed 6 boards. Jenny Lindland was Edgartown's top scorer with 6. Hannah Persson also had a strong game.
In the second girls game, host West Tisbury won a nail-bitter with the Tisbury Lady Tigers 14-13.
Maggie Riseborough scored all the Tisbury points and hauled down as many rebounds in a superb all-around effort.
Chantalle Booker led the Hawks with 6 points and Mia Benedetto chipped in 4. Hannah Webster and Jenny Hart scored 2 apiece.
In boys action on Tuesday, Oak Bluffs thrashed visiting Edgartown 56-18. The Eagles scratched and clawed under the glass in the early going, but O.B. was just too strong. The Blazers hit baskets from anywhere at any time. On the boards, each player seemed to have four hands grabbing rebounds.
"Our offense was rugged, but O.B. is always about defense," coach Alex McCluskey said after the win.
William Stewart led the Blazers with 16 points. Tyler Araujo had 14.
Carlos Guzman was the top Eagle with 10 points.
In Tuesday's second game, Tisbury's Tigers grounded the Hawks in West Tisbury, 52-28. Rafael Maciel was the top cat with 19 points and Jack Roberts led the Hawks with 20.
The Tigers travel to the Cottage City for a showdown with O.B. today at 3:30.
Vineyard icemen keep rolling
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School boys took to the road last week and racked up two more wins, improving to 11-1-3.
Wednesday, Jan. 30, Martha's Vineyard jumped out to a 5-2 first period lead and hung on to beat Nauset in Orleans, 6-4.
Tad Gold had two goals and an assist. Darren Gazaille, Mitch Pachico, Jason Schwab, and Henry Smith also scored. Joel Rebello had three assists, with Gazaille and Riley Dobel setting up a goal each. Alex Minnehan stopped 33 shots on goal.
The Vineyarders let the Warriors hang around a bit too long for head coach Matt Mincone's liking. "Mitch [Pachico] had a big hit in the second period and everyone else wanted to replicate it and we took some lazy penalties," he said. In all, Martha's Vineyard had 10 penalties and killed off four five on threes.
Saturday night the Purple powered their way past Old Rochester, 7-1, potting five power play goals.
Martha's Vineyard again jumped out early, scoring thrice on goals by Gazaille, from Tad Gold and Nick Billingham; Dobel, his first of the year on a one-timer from Truman French off the face-off; and Henry Smith, from Rebello and Pachico. Rebello set up Pachico to open the second period and Gazaille got his second from Rebello and Matt Flynn to make it 5-1, M.V.
In period three, Gold scored shorthanded and Billingham completed the rout. Mike Capen earned the win in goal.
With mighty Lynnfield looming on the schedule, Coach Mincone likes where his team is heading, citing improving leadership, a positive team attitude, and three lines producing and shooting better. "Two weeks ago, we we're playing five to five and a half on a one to ten scale. Now we're at seven to seven and a half. We're capable of ten."
The Vineyarders played a late game last night at Cambridge Rindge & Latin. They return home to face Bridgewater-Raynham, Saturday at 5 pm.
The Vineyard girls hosted Barnstable at the Martha's Vineyard Arena on Saturday and lost a tough 3-0 decision to the Red Raiders.
Martha's Vineyard played well for the first two periods and buzzed around the Barnstable goal for five minutes to end the second stanza, but nothing would come of it.
The Raiders put the game away with two quick strikes early in the third.
Bulls make Lakers imperfect
"First the Patriots, then the Lakers," Bulls guard Ryan Murtha said following his team's 95-93 overtime win over the previously unbeaten Lakers Monday night at the Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club.
Bulls Jason O' Donnell and Michael Manfredi keyed a fourth quarter comeback, combining for 25 points.
O' Donnell scored 9 of his team-leading 28 during a 10-0 run that brought the Bulls back to within 84-83 two minutes from time.
Manfredi, for his part, drained four three-pointers in the period, on his way to 21 points for the game.
Tied at 89 entering the extra session, the Bulls got a jumper from Murtha and four free throws from Mangini and Eric Adams to win it.
Other distinguished Bulls were Ryan Murtha with 18 points and Clark Agnew with 9 points and a whopping 19 boards.
For the Lakers, Jeff Labell was the story in the first three quarters hitting for a sizzling 43 of his 44 points. Heath Estrella took over in the final quarter, scoring 20 points, 37 for the game. Julius Middleton had a colossal 22 rebounds to go with 10 points.
The first game of the doubleheader was a blowout, with the Heat scorching the winless Celtics 108-73.
Jason Dyer and Tim Scott were double dynamite with 37 points each. Chris Fagek (18 pts.) and Sandy Fisher (12) also starred for the Heat.
Pete Lambos led the Celts offense with 18 points. Joe McCormick had 17, Jeremy Provost 16, and Scott Dyer 15. Greg Rollins (15 rebounds, 6 points) and Provost (15 rebounds) were the defensive standouts.
High School Hoops
Life on the hardwood was a mixed-bag for the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School boys varsity last week. Friday, at the Sancy, they completely overwhelmed poor-shooting Sandwich, 71-50.
Martha's Vineyard employed a relentless full-court press to force the Blue Knights into 19 turnovers.
Nick Viera and Mark Reppert led Martha's Vineyard with 15 points each. Jess Swaringen added 10 more and Jwann Johnson had 8 with 6 boards.
Saturday, at Wayland, the two-game hot streak came to an abrupt halt. The under-the-weather Vineyarders (7-8) fell into a 15-1 hole in the first quarter and never recovered. Martha's Vineyard also committed 28 turnovers.
The game was a far cry from the three-overtime thriller the teams played last month on the Island. "We were very flat," head coach Mike Joyce conceded.
Viera and Reppert again were the leading scorers with 15 points each, and Cody Brewer had a season-high 11.
On the bright side, the jayvee boys won both of their games to stand at 9-3.
They held on to beat visiting Sandwich on Friday, 45-39, and survived a tough defensive struggle with host Wayland Saturday, 38-33.
Against Sandwich, James Todd had 12 points, Lamar Moreis had 11, and Alex Poole scored 10.
In Wayland, Poole was the star, posting a triple-double with 11 steals, 10 rebounds, and 12 points. Lamar Moreis had 11 points.
And the girls
The girls also traveled to Wayland on Saturday. The varsity lost 44-30, falling to 4-11 on the season.
The story was twofold: Martha's Vineyard was 4 of 29 from the stripe and they went to halftime with 10 points on the board. "That's the story of our season," head coach Lisa Stewart said. "We dig a hole and spend the rest of the game digging out of it."
The previous evening, Martha's Vineyard was thrashed 76-25 by Notre Dame of Hingham, a team with several players headed for division 2 college ball.
The jayvee girls got the day off to a fine start, beating Wayland 51-29 behind 10 points from Crystal Miske, 9 each from Gillian Sedlier and Martha Scheffer, and 8 from Shikha Datta.
Like their varsity mates, the jayvees went down hard to Notre Dame, 57-31. Datta (11) and Miske (10) were the leading scorers.