Martha’s Vineyard clinches share of EAC boys hoops title

Jack Roberts cuts to the basket late in the fourth quarter against Somerset Berkley. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys basketball team clinched at least a share of the Eastern Athletic Conference title with a 65-51 win Tuesday afternoon at Somerset Berkley.

The Vineyarders (13-3, 6-1 EAC) have won or shared the conference title in each of the past four seasons. The Purple can win the EAC title outright with a win over Coyle Cassidy on February 5 in Oak Bluffs.

The win over Somerset Berkley also was sweet revenge for the Vineyarders, who suffered their only league defeat of the season in a 59-58 loss to the Raiders on January 11 in Oak Bluffs.

In Tuesday’s rematch, the Vineyarders got off to a slow start and trailed the Raiders 11-10 after the first period.

Late in the first half, the visitors started to turn the tide after Izak Browne provided a much needed spark. “Izak was a dominant presence in the game,” coach Mike Joyce said. “He got our energy level going with a big dunk near the end of the second quarter.” M.V. led 27-24 at the half and never looked back.

The Vineyarders cranked up the intensity after the break and outscored Somerset Berkley 22-10 in the third quarter to effectively put the game away. “Defensively, we really got on them and locked them down,” coach Joyce said. “Navardo Anderson did a great job on defense. Jack Roberts did a great job controlling the tempo of the offense, making sure we got good scoring opportunities.”

Izak Browne scored 21 points to lead the Vineyard offense. Jahmari Thomas picked up a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Jack Roberts had 14 points. Navardo Anderson grabbed four steals.