Oak Bluffs girls, West Tisbury boys are basketball champs

Abby Willoughby of Edgartown dribbles past the capacity crowd at the Edgartown School with Kaitlyn Marchand of Oak Bluffs guarding her every move. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Few events capture the enthusiasm and flavor of Island sports like the interscholastic basketball finals. On Tuesday, the Edgartown gym was packed with more than 200 fans enthusiastically cheering on the Edgartown Eagles, Oak Bluffs Blazers, and the West Tisbury Hawks.

The undefeated Eagle girls met the Lady Blazers in the first game in a game that radiated intensity. The contest fittingly came down to the wire.

Oak Bluffs had the final say. The team scored four of the final five points — all from the free-throw line. With the score tied at 25-25, Diamond Araujo made one foul shot. Emily deBettencourt sank another to make it 27-25. Aubrey Ashmun scored one from the stripe for Edgartown.Then, in the final seconds, Mariah Duarte was fouled. She stepped up to the line and iced both shots to put the Blazers up 29-26. The score stood and the undefeated Eagles landed with their first loss of the season.

Edgartown had one possession left to tie the game, but couldn’t make it count.

Mariah Duarte finished as the game’s high scorer with 13 points. She also went seven of 11 from the charity stripe. Kaitlyn Marchand added six more points for O.B.

Sam Hargy scored nine points for Edgartown. Aubrey Ashmun had eight.

Oak Bluffs finished the season at 6-2. Edgartown was 7-1.

The girl’s game was a hard act to follow.

The Blazer boys took on the unbeaten Hawks. For one half, the boys final was up to the challenge. West Tisbury was just too much for the Blazers in the second half and pulled away for a 63-49 victory to close out a perfect 10-0 season. Oak Bluffs finished at 7-3.

West Tisbury started off with a 5-0 lead and kept a three to five point advantage down to the last minute. Oak Bluff’s Alex GordonBeck forced two steals and scored two quick lay-ups to cut the West Tisbury lead to 30-29 at the half.

In the second half, the Hawks put on a clinical performance. They used a patient half-court game and a pressure defense to wear Oak Bluffs down and out. West Tisbury executed flawlessly. They passed the ball around the perimeter at will, took high percentage shots, forced the Blazers to make several turnovers, and made them pay for every one of them.

Tim Roberts piled up 29 points for West Tisbury. Brandon Dwane chipped in 10.

Alex GordonBeck led Oak Bluffs with 20 points.