Vineyard girls edge Hanover 55-53 in thriller to advance in state tourney

A three-pointer sealed the deal with 18 seconds remaining in the game. Next up is Abington Tuesday at 5 pm at the Massasoit Community College gym.

Erin Hill, 32, and Samantha Hargy run towards Mariah Duarte after she hit what ended up being the game winning shot. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Updated 8 pm, Sunday

In a seesaw quarterfinal matchup on Friday against a skilled, tenacious Hanover squad, the Martha’s Vineyard girls basketball team overcame a two point deficit with under one minute to go when senior Mariah Duarte swished a three-pointer with 18 seconds on the clock to put the Vineyard up 55-53. 

Martha’s Vineyard now advances to the sectional semi-finals in the state tournament when they play Abington, the number one seed, at the Massasoit Brockton campus of Massasoit Community College at 5 pm, Tuesday. Free fan buses will meet the 2:30 pm boat. Sign up at MV Hoops on Facebook or at the high school café during lunch hours Monday and Tuesday.  Buses are sponsored by Jamie McNeely of Our Market.

The final minute of the game contained enough drama for one season. With the clock ticking down, Hanover co-captain Stephanie Flynn made a three-pointer and drew a foul. She sank the free throw.

Not to be outdone, the Vineyarders stormed down the court and worked the ball patiently to get an open shot. Mariah took the shot. Bedlam ensued, but it was not over.

Hanover, cool and collected all night, set up one last play. An open 15 footer caromed off the rim. Junior Samantha Hargy hauled in the ball for a game-saving rebound. Phew!

Superb throughout was Hanover’s co-captain Kayla McMahon, who finished with 19 points. Matching that point total was MV’s stalwart freshman point guard Molly deBettencourt. Both girls contributed to their teams in ways that do not appear in the scorebook. Sophomore Erin Hill, with 15 points and half a dozen blocked shots, was also huge for the Vineyarders.

Next up for Martha’s Vineyard will be Abington, the winner of a Friday night duel with Wareham and the number one seed.