Vineyard boys open state hoops tourney with win over Norwell

Navardo Anderson (on the floor) played scrappy defense as DeShawn James looks on. — Photo By Steve Myrick

Using a stifling, scrappy defense and a steady scoring punch, The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys basketball team handily defeated the visiting Norwell Clippers, 69-51, in the first round of Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament play Tuesday afternoon.

Alex GordonBeck led all Vineyard scores with 15, while Tim Roberts added 14.

Will Plansky was the high scorer for Norwell, with 15 points.

Senior DeShawn James scored 12 of the Vineyard’s 17 points in the first quarter, putting the Vineyarders in firm command.

Norwell did not score a basket in the second quarter, while the Vineyard starting five held the Clippers to just three points, all from the free throw line.

“The first half, we really set the tone for defense,” head coach Mike Joyce said after the game. “That’s the kind of defense we’re going to have to play to be successful.”

The Vineyarders led 35-13 at the half.

With the game under control, the starters sat out much of the second half. Norwell went to a long-distance strategy late in the game, and connected for 21 points in the fourth quarter, many of them 3-point shots. But the visitors never threatened the outcome.

Coach Joyce credited the team’s experience in last year’s tournament, when they went all the way to the finals at the TD Garden, where they lost a close game against Danvers. Starters Navardo Anderson, DeShawn James, and Tim Johnson were part of that tournament run last year.

“When you have a little bit of experience, you don’t get the nerves,” Mr. Joyce said.

The boys varsity moves on to the second round against familiar rival Wareham, seeded sixth in the MIAA hoops tournament. The game is scheduled for 4:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 27, at Pachico Gymnasium.