After practicing on the home court for nearly eight weeks, the Vineyarder boys basketball team finally got to play at the Sancy Pachico Gym in a pair of Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division clashes on Thursday and Friday afternoon. The hosts started with a 66-51 loss to Sandwich in the home opener, but followed up with a solid 68-55 win over Falmouth.
The Vineyarders (1-2 overall and in league play) fell behind early against Sandwich. The Blue Knights hit three consecutive treys to open their account, and led 19-8 after one quarter.
The Purple stormed back in the second period. Aiden Rogers, Leo Neville, and Nico Arroyo all sank three-pointers, and Neville slashed through the paint for a layup, cutting the Sandwich lead to 21-19 after just 1:42. The teams hit a dry spell over the next three minutes, but Rogers added another bucket to tie the score and cap a 13-2 run with 2:45 left in the half. Sandwich briefly held firm, and took a 28-25 lead to the break, but the Vineyarders carried their inspired play through the first two minutes of the third quarter. Josh Billings led off with a trey, Matheus Rodrigues pounded the glass for three rebounds, scoring on the fourth try, and Aiden Rogers popped a one-hand push shot from the high post to give MV a 32-28 lead.
Sandwich quickly responded with a 14-0 run, and outscored the Vineyarders 19-9 in the fourth period to seal the win, but MV helped the visitors by playing with the error-prone, reckless abandon that got them in trouble at the outset.
“Really sloppy,” Vineyard Coach Mike Joyce said after the game. “We had breakdowns mentally at both ends. We let easy buckets go, and we made bad passes and bad decisions at the offensive end. You just can’t do that. It’s a close game. That’s a good team. We made too many mistakes in the last five minutes. We’re playing too fast and trying to force something, instead of playing what’s coming to us and being smart about how we play offense.”
Mike Trusty led MV with 16 points, and Aiden Rogers had 14. Logan Murphy (22 points) and Chris Cronin (20) were Sandwich standouts.
Friday afternoon against Falmouth, the Vineyarders came out patient and poised, utilizing a well-executed perimeter passing game. Josh Billings, Aiden Rogers, and Leo Neville led off the game with three-pointers to give MV an early 9-2 lead. From there, the teams fought back and forth, with the Vineyard lead hovering between five and eight points through the end of the third quarter.
Aiden Rogers drained a trio of treys in the third period, while Mike Trusty and Josh Billings took over in the fourth as the Vineyarders led by as many as 16 and outscored Falmouth 22-15 down the stretch. Trusty finished with 21 points, Rogers scored 16, Billings had 15, and Neville added nine. Charles Dowick (21 points) and Timothy Lang (14) led the Clippers.
After the win, Coach Joyce was pleased with how his team bounced back from Thursday’s loss. “A better effort, especially in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Defensively we did a much better job. A little better shot selection on offense. We still have a little ways to go on that end. We still took some questionable shots, but there were more better ones. Offensively, against the zone [defense], it’s hard to be patient when you’re in high school. We got the ball in, then kicked out, and that’s how we got a lot of good looks.”
The JV boys also split their homestand, losing to Sandwich 57-53 and beating Falmouth 57-28. Josh Lake scored 16, Parker Bradlee, 15, and Nate Story, 10, against the Blue Knights. Story led the way against the Clippers with 15 points, Cam Napior added nine, and Geo Meikle had eight.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Vineyarders traveled to Dennis-Yarmouth and left with a varsity-JV sweep of the Dolphins.
In the varsity game, Mike Trusty scored 16 points to lead MV to a 49-36 win. Leo Neville had eight points, while Aiden Rogers and Nico Depaula chipped in seven points apiece.
For the JVs, Parker Bradlee had 16 points of his own to pace the Purple to a 59-43 win. Cam Napior added 10 more.
The Vineyarders travel to Nantucket on Saturday for a big clash with the Whalers. The JVs play at 11 am, and the varsity at 1 pm.