The 12th seeded Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys basketball team gave everything it had Thursday night in Lakeville against fifth seeded Apponequet but the Lakers advanced with a 77-62 win in the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional opener.
The Vineyarders came into the first round game with a 10-10 record but looked anything but a .500 team against the 16-4 Lakers in front of a raucous, capacity crowd.
“With that effort all year, we would have been a 15-win team,” Vineyard Coach Mike Joyce said after the game.
The visitors served notice quickly that the Lakers were in for a workout on their home floor. MV swarmed the hosts with a pressure defense to force three turnovers in the opening minute and build a 6-2 lead.
In a game of standout performances on both sides, Vineyard senior Chase Silvia had his best game of the season, scoring 13 of his team-leading 23 points in the first quarter. He also went 9 of 13 from the charity stripe, earning his free-throws by roaring to the hoop like a freight train. Nick Bond dominated in the second quarter by draining a trio of three-ponters.
The enitre first half was played at a frenetic pace with both teams sprinting up and down the court. Excitement was constant, turnovers plentiful. Through multiple lead changes, the Lakers used a 7-2 run in the final minute to lead 37-34 at the break.
The high-octane first half gave way to a more measured approach in the second.
Apponequet slowly started to pull away, thanks to tenacious play on the boards, a precise perimeter passing game, and improved shooting.
While the Vineyard work ethic never flagged, the fruits of their labor dried up. Shots that were going in during the first half, repeatedly bounced off the rim into waiting Laker hands down the stretch.
The game also turned at the foul line. The Lakers made 13 of 17 free throws, while the Vineyarders went 6 for 14.
“The things that killed us were free throws in the second half and second chances in the second half,” Coach Joyce said. “At key times, it wasn’t that it was a ton of them but it happened at the wrong time, it was a four-point game and we missed four free throws in a row. It’s a five-point game, a six-point game and they get three chances and get a bucket so it goes to a six or eight-point lead.
Apponequet’s Andrew Johnson opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, one of his six in the game, to give the Lakers their first double-digit lead at 57-45. Apponequet’s lead peaked at 61-45. Nick Bond, Ricardo Andrade, and Mike Power all stepped up with three-pointers to pull the Vineyarders to within 10 points at various times but the deficit was too big to overcome.
Andrew Johnson was the game’s high scorer with 27 points. For Martha’s Vineyard, Nick Bond (14 points) and Ricardo Andrade (13), joined Chase Silvia in double figures.
Despite the loss, Coach Joyce was pleased with his team’s grit and effort.
“I think effort-wise, that was maybe the best we’ve played all year,” he said. “Chase Silvia had the best game he’s played. Ricardo [Andrade] after a couple of early turnovers had the best game he’s played.”
Coach Joyce also hopes that the solid Vineyard showing is a sign of good things to come next season. “Hopefully, we can build on it and come out strong next year. We only have three seniors and 10 kids coming back.”