The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys basketball team pulled a 180 on Tuesday night at the high school, turning a nine-point halftime deficit into a stirring 50-41 comeback victory over Bishop Stang. The hosts came out of the locker room with fire in their eyes, finding their offensive mojo and clamping down bigtime on the Spartan offense. The turnaround sparked a stirring win that left the sizable home crowd drained but happy.
The first half of the game belonged to the visitors, specifically co-captain Declan Markey. The junior southpaw was an offensive force, hitting long-range jumpers, layups, and everything in between. He finished with 20 first-half points. The Spartan defense was in top form as well, stifling the Vineyard offense with relentless man-to-man coverage and ball-hawking double-teams. Vineyard captain and point guard Jared Regan was shadowed full-court throughout the game by a Stang defender. It was Jared’s hard-earned 11 points that kept the hosts within nine points at the half, 29-20.
The perfectly executed half-time U-turn brought immediate results. The Vineyard switched to man-to-man defense, and effectively shut down Declan Markey. Juniors Mike Trusty and Nico DePaula took turns denying Markey the ball, and pressuring him when he got it. At the same time, Jared Regan found success taking his man down low and operating one-on-one against the smaller defender.
As the hosts crept back into the game, the action intensified. Swarming defenses, loose balls, and rugged rebounding triggered physical play on the floor and passion on both sides of the stands. The place was rockin’. When Nico and Jared hit back-to-back layups in heavy traffic, the score was tied at 34-34, and the home crowd was on its feet. Momentum had shifted.
Early in the final quarter Jared sank a three-pointer from the corner to give the hosts a lead they would not relinquish. Stang continued to battle, but had to foul to get possession; it was, appropriately, Jared who hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Bottom line: Stang scored 12 points in the second half. The Vineyard defense, combined with the stalwart rebounding of junior Rammon Dos Santos on both ends of the court, stymied the Spartans at every turn.
“We were slow to the ball and slow on defense in the first half,” said Vineyard Coach Mike Joyce after the game, “but we turned it around. Jared took advantage of the mismatch in the second half. And Mike did an outstanding job on Declan Markey. When Mike got in foul trouble, Nico took over and used his length to contain Declan.”
Jared Regan led all scorers with 31 points, 20 in the second half, and 12 in the final period alone. Nico DePaula added 10 clutch points. Declan Markey finished with 22 points for the Spartans.
Bishop Stang fell to 2-5 with the loss, while the Vineyarders are now 3-2 overall, 1-2 in the Cape & Islands League.
Prior to the varsity game, the Vineyard JVs outlasted Bishop Stang in an intense, physical game, 51-45. Ty Mathew led MV with 17 points, Matheus Rodrigues scored 12, and Nico Arroyo, 10.
They Vineyarders host Cape Cod Academy on Saturday. The JV game starts at 3 pm, followed by the varsity game at 4:30.