The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls basketball team overcame a sluggish start and rallied from six points down at the end of the third quarter to beat Nantucket, 44-39, in Cape and Islands League play, Saturday afternoon at the Sancy Pachico Gym in Oak Bluffs.
Outhustled, outshot, and outrebounded early, the Vineyarders trailed by 10 in the first quarter, bounced back in the second, endured a five-minute scoring drought in the third, and trailed 32-26 heading into the final period before turning the game with a 15-0 run to earn their first win of the season.
“We started out really, really flat,” Vineyard Coach Sterling Bishop said. “We’re trying to do things differently, to mix up the lineups and motivate some of the other girls. Scoring consistently is a problem for us. We tend to fall behind and get down on ourselves. It’s a confidence thing at this point. It was a good win for them, good motivation moving forward as the season progresses. I’m looking for leadership to step up on the floor. We can only do so much as coaches, but it was a good game overall — a needed and solid win.”
Senior captain Kylie Estrella started the big comeback with a bucket in the paint, and freshman Paige Malowski hit a jumper to make it 34-30 Whalers with 6:05 left in regulation. Fifty seconds later the Vineyarders worked the ball around the perimeter to Wadeline Florime-Hall, who swished the ball through the hoop and cut the Whaler lead to two.
On the next possession, Kylie Estrella drove to the basket, drew a blocking foul, and sank both free throws to tie the game.
The Vineyarders waited another minute and change to finally grab the lead, when Paige Malowski popped a three-pointer to put MV up 37-34 with 3:52 to play.
The Purple pressed on. Malowski dished to Maria Andrade underneath for a five-point lead, then grabbed a rebound at the other end and fired an outlet pass to Andrade, who passed across the paint to Josephine Welch for another bucket and a 41-34 lead with 2:40 left.
Nantucket fought back with the next five points, but Maria Andrade kept the Vineyard in front with a big block and Kylie Estrella put the game to rest on a three-point play.
Estrella scored a game-high 17 points, and made five of six from the free-throw line, something the Vineyarders struggled with as a team, shooting nine of 21 for the afternoon. Maria Andrade added eight points, Paige Malowski finished with seven, and fellow frosh Clare Mone chipped in five. Raegan Perry scored 14, and Sydney King had 12 to pace the Whalers.
Earlier in the day, Nantucket made the first basket, but the Vineyard girls JV team scored the next 28 points enroute to a 43-8 win. Clare Mone led the way with 15 points, including a three-point buzzer-beater to end the first half; Ali Dyke scored eight points, and Elena Giordano had six.
The Vineyarders are off to Barnstable on Feb. 4, host Sandwich Feb. 5 (JV 2:45 pm; varsity 4 pm), and play at Nauset on Feb. 9.