Vineyard girls beat Bishop Stang to stay in playoff hunt

Jenny Lindland took a flying leap at the basket against Bishop Stang in Tuesday's win. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

In an exciting nail-biter at home Tuesday, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls’ basketball team beat conference rival Bishop Stang 45-40 to inch closer to a possible berth in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament.

The Vineyarders were 7 for 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to hold off the Spartans, with Jennie Lindland draining 5 of 7 from the charity stripe to help seal the win. Lindland led all scorers with 19 points; Alex Mark had 10 and Kendall Robinson had 9.

Coach Lisa Stewart said the late free throws were huge.

“We were up three but we kept giving them the ball back. Kendall (Robinson) had two huge free throws at the end that put the game out of reach, and Jennie also made her shots in the fourth quarter. It was a close game, and I think the real difference was our defense,” the coach said.

It was the first conference win for the Vineyarders, who climbed to 8-7 overall but only 1-6 in the competitive Eastern Athletic Conference. The Vineyarders need to win 10 games to qualify for the MIAA tournament, with big games against Bishop Feehan and Sabis International looming.

The Vineyarders play home games against Bishop Feehan Thursday at 4:30 and Sabis International Charter School on Saturday at 5:30 pm.

The Vineyarders took a 25-22 lead into the half on Tuesday, and held off the Spartans in the second half with one of their best defensive games of the season. Lindland led the team with seven steals while Madison Hughes also played strong defense.

“The defense really sparks our offense. When we get into our set offense we really rely on trying to dump the ball into our bigger players, but our defense at times has been struggling. But when we play defense first like we did [Tuesday], our offense really flows,” she said.

Coach Stewart said she was proud of her team, whether they make the state tourney or not.

“It’s been a tough season for a number of reasons, and these girls have been very resilient. I think they have matured a lot this season, and I am proud of them,” she said.