Vineyard girls beat Randolph in state basketball tourney play

The team’s 55-38 win at home Wednesday propels them to the quarterfinals at home Friday.

Mariah Duarte smiles as the clock ticks down towards Martha's Vineyard's first round victory over Randolph High School. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Martha’s Vineyard beat Randolph High School Wednesday afternoon at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, 55 to 38, to win its opening game in the MIAA girls basketball playoffs.

Fourth-seeded Martha’s Vineyard came out swinging. The girls used fast breaks and pressure defense to jump out to a 10-0 lead. Randolph closed the gap, though, putting the score at 15-8 after the first quarter.

Lackadaisical perimeter defense and several sloppy turnovers allowed the Randolph Blue Devils to get back into the game. At one point in the second quarter they trailed by only three points. But Erin Hill put the Vineyarders back on the winning track, first with a silky hook shot, then with a smooth three-pointer.

Martha’s Vineyard fouled Randolph early and often; the Vineyarders committed 11 first-half turnovers, including guard Mya Houston, who picked up three. Erin Hill led all scorers with 16 points through the first half.

The Vineyarders started the second quarter much more slowly than the first, turning the ball over and giving Randolph several easy buckets. With the score again within three, 29-26, Martha’s Vineyard center Samantha Hargy took over, grabbing several crucial rebounds on both the offensive and defensive end, and giving the Vineyarders the confidence they needed to extend the lead. With two minutes left in the third quarter, Hargy became entangled with a Randolph player, falling hard to the floor. She left the court of her own free will, with tears in her eyes. She would return at the beginning of the fourth quarter, with Martha’s Vineyard up 38-26.

In the fourth, the girls buckled down and pressured Randolph into making mistakes. They continued to extend their lead, and would not relinquish it. Samantha Hargy, in her return after the hard fall, scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter while dominating the paint. Molly deBettencourt also had a standout fourth quarter, scoring nine of her 11 in the final eight minutes. The late push cemented a Vineyard win. The game ending 55-38. Standout Erin Hill ended the game with 20 points.

Coach Maureen Hill after the game said, “The girls came up much better in the second half. We talked about how to improve defensively, and executed much better in the second half.”

The Wednesday win means the Vineyard girls will play the winner of the game between Hanover High School (fifth seed) and Ursuline Academy (12th seed) of Dedham. The quarterfinal game is scheduled for 4:30 pm, Friday, Feb. 27, in the MVRHS gym.