Martha’s Vineyard boys hoops squad thumps Dedham, 79-46

Izak Browne outleaps his man to score. — Photo by Ezra Newick

Continuing what has already been a thrilling week of high school sports on the Vineyard, the boys varsity basketball team handily defeated Dedham, 79-46, Wednesday, in the opening round of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament in front of capacity home crowd.

The Vineyarders were led by Peter Keaney, with 27 points, and Jack Roberts, who scored 15 points. Izak Brown had 10 points in the win, and teammates Del Araujo and Will Stewart each had six.

Jeffrey Clifford led the Marauders with 12 points, and Mike Ryan scored 11 in the loss.

The home team jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, with five points coming from Keaney, and led 25-15 after the first quarter and 46-23 at halftime. The Marauders tried to mount a comeback in the second half but were never able to put together any type of run.

Coach Mike Joyce said he scouted Dedham in their first-round tournament win over O’Bryant Monday and was impressed with the Marauders’ play. “I thought we were going to be have one of our toughest games of the season going into the game,” he said.

“But we came out so strong defensively, I think we held them to only nine rebounds in the first half, and I think we put them on their heels a little. Meanwhile Peter [Keaney] was hitting everything; jump shots, three pointers, I told him to keep on shooting.”

After the game, Keaney said he has been feeling good all week, which might have contributed to his big game. “With vacation this week, I felt well-rested and focused. I felt like I was going to have a good game,” he said.

Keaney said offensively speaking it wasn’t his best game — he scored 44 points in a playoff game last year — but one of his more well-rounded games. “I feel like it was an efficient 27 points,” he said. “I took the shots I felt I could make, and I passed the ball to my teammates when I felt I couldn’t make it. I think everything was working tonight, and that was really a credit to our entire team.”

He also handicapped the Vineyarders’ chances for the rest of the tournament. “I think we can play with anyone. The only ones that can beat us are ourselves,” he said.

Coach Joyce said his team did a great job of beating the Marauders’ three-quarter-court press on offense, which led to breakaway baskets and open three-pointers. He praised the defensive effort of Ryan Fisher, who was sick all week but still helped shut down one of the Marauders’ better players.

“He showed a lot guts and played really well,” the coach said. “Overall, the team did a good job of pressuring them and stopping their back-door screens, which we were expecting going in.”

It has been an exciting week of sports on the Vineyard. The girls hockey team defeated Dennis-Yarmouth Tuesday, 5-0, in their first-ever tournament appearance, and the girls basketball team scored a 49-45 upset victory over Ashland on the road later that night.

Both the girls hockey and boys basketball games drew huge crowds, even though it’s February vacation week for Vineyard schools.

With the win, the boys basketball team advances to play in another home game on Friday, at 5:45 pm, against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Bourne and Bishop Feehan. The results of that game were not available as of press time.