Updated Dec. 18
The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys basketball team was in the driver’s seat against visiting Falmouth in the season opener Tuesday night, with a 12-point lead and six minutes to go. They earned that lead through tenacious team defense and a patient, controlled offense that created open shots. Five minutes later, the hosts were down 54-50, thanks to a 16-point Clippers run. The visitors sank two final free throws, keeping the hosts at bay as the final seconds ticked away on this tough 56-52 loss.
“We talk all the time about the two most important determinants in deciding a game,” said Vineyard Coach Mike Joyce after the game. “Playing hard and avoiding turnovers. Falmouth outplayed us in both areas down the stretch.”
The Cape and Islands League matchup was a rousing game from the start, with both teams clamping down on defense and running patterned offenses that led to good shots. While Falmouth relied on a tight 1-2-2 zone defense, the Vineyarders alternated between man-to-man and half-court zone presses. The Vineyarders led 17-10 after one period, but saw that lead cut to 27-24 at the half.
The Vineyarders had the upper hand through the third period, thanks to their pressing defense and control of the boards. Their momentum carried into the final period, and when Jared Regan nailed a three-pointer at the six-minute mark, the lead was 12 at 50-38, and the crowd was roaring. Falmouth called a time-out.
When play resumed, the Clippers were recharged, and the tone of the game shifted. Falmouth’s swarming defense resulted in three steals that the Clippers converted into points. With the hosts suddenly ice-cold from the floor, the lead was down to three, 50-47, with less than three minutes left. After Clipper junior Tim Lang tied the game at 1:35 with a three-pointer, junior Gerald Mahoney followed with another jumper, and the visitors had the lead, 52-50. It was all free throws from there, and when Mahoney sank two with eight seconds to go, the visitors had a well-earned comeback win.
“We lacked consistency,” said Coach Joyce. “We need to work hard throughout the game and protect the ball. We’ll bounce back.”
Senior captain Jared Regan had 16 points to lead the hosts, while junior Rammon Dos Santos scored 12 points and was a force on the boards all night. Gerald Mahoney led Falmouth with 18 points, 11 of them coming in the final period.
Boys JV basketball topped Falmouth, 48-38, in the preliminary game, behind 24 points by Ty Mathew. Ryan Koster added 12 more. The Vineyard varsity and JV teams play at Dennis-Yarmouth on Friday, and will be back home Friday, Dec. 27, against Old Rochester.
Updated to add more information. — Ed.