Girls squeak by Saint John Paul II Monday, 31-30 in overtime

A rough commute, a more prepared opponent, and a short warm-up contributed to the low-scoring game for the Vineyarders.

Molly deBettencourt drove toward the Lions hoop. — Photo by Michael Cummo

What a difference a few days make. Following a decisive victory at home on Friday, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls varsity basketball team traveled to Hyannis to play Saint John Paul II High School and squeezed out the win in overtime, 31-30.

“Good teams win no matter the circumstances,” Head Coach Maureen Hill told her girls postgame.

The Woods Hole Road was closed on Monday, so the team bus took a circuitous route and did not arrive at the Saint John Paul gym until 3:10 pm for a 3:30 pm game. “We didn’t have a lot of time to warm up, and it showed when we started to play. The girls had 12 minutes to warm up after they got changed — some of them told me they were still freezing from the bus ride.”

As Coach Hill predicted in her comments following the Friday game, Lions Head Coach Michael Tiereny employed new and effective strategies following his team’s crushing loss to the Vineyard in Oak Bluffs, 50-25.  “They had people double-teaming Erin [Hill] all the time, and then when we got to the corners to shoot, there was someone always on Molly [DeBettencourt],” she said.

Coach Hill thought the girls missed a number of shots, and “they just came out flat.” It was also Senior Day at Saint John Paul, so players and fans were “pumped up.”

Emily DeBettencourt had a huge three-pointer from the top of the key in the fourth quarter that put the Vineyarders ahead, and kept them ahead for the rest of the game. Senior Mariah Duarte was the leading scorer, with 12 points on the day, and Erin Hill banked eight points for the game. Both Erin Hill and Sam Hargy did a nice job grabbing rebounds.

“We snuck out of there, man,” Vineyard Assistant Coach Asil Cash told The Times Tuesday. He added that the opposing coach deserved credit for putting together a different strategy, different mindset, and different tempo from just two days earlier, and that the Lions were consistent the whole game.

The Vineyard hoopsters play their final game Friday, Feb. 20, away at Bishop Stang High School, which is the third rescheduling for this league contest due to weather. The Vineyard goes into the game with a 15-4 record.

Feb. 20 is also the last day the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will allow the regular-season games to be finished, so the seeding process can begin for playoffs. Win or lose Friday, the Vineyarders will move forward. The question is what seed position they will get. A strong position could mean one or two playoff games at home. The better the record, the better the seed. Playoffs begin the week of MVRHS February break.

“If we end up 16-4, we’ll hopefully have a playoff game at home,” Coach Hill told The Times. “That would be great.”