MVRHS girls hoopsters bounce Sandwich

Gritty Vineyarders win physical game against Blue Knights.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls basketball team rebounded from a lackluster loss in Barnstable on Thursday with a rousing 49-39 win over Sandwich in Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division play Friday afternoon in Oak Bluffs.

The Vineyarders played tenacious defense, crashed the boards at both ends of the floor, and shot well from the free-throw line to scrap out the win.

“We played last night at Barnstable. It was a tough game for us. We just weren’t mentally ready, and I presented the team today with a challenge, because we played Sandwich before and they crushed us at their place [a 51-25 loss on Jan. 21],” Vineyard Coach Sterling Bishop said. “They stepped up and rose to the challenge today. The challenge was to come in and play our game, make them play our game, put pressure on defense, play hard on offense, play smart, and they came out here and they did it.”

The Vineyarders had to wait four and a half minutes to get on the scoreboard in the intense and physical contest, but with 23 seconds left in the first quarter, Wadeline Florime-Hall stole the ball, sprinted to the basket, and put in a lay-up to give the hosts their first lead at 9-7.

The teams seesawed back and forth well into the second period before the Vineyarders went on an 8-1 run to grab a 21-14 lead. Maria Andrade beat the shot clock by one second from the low post, and added another quick basket, Paige Malowski hit a jumper, and Kylie Estrella scored from the bottom arc in the paint. MV led at halftime 21-17.

The teams combined for 33 points in a more offensive-minded third quarter, but the game remained a physical test of wills, best illustrated by a sequence in which the Vineyarders pounded the offensive glass for four rebounds, and Florime-Hall drew the foul and sank both free throws for a 26-20 lead.

Leading by nine at 40-31 heading into the final period, the Vineyarders’ biggest hurdle was quelling a tendency to rush on offense instead of making the clock work in their favor. With a couple of time-outs, some pleading from Coach Bishop, and seven of 10 free-throw shooting down the stretch, they closed the deal and improved to 2-4 on the season.

Estrella had a game-high 16 points for MV, followed by Florime-Hall (13), Andrade (7), Malowski and C.J. Walsh (6), and Josephine Welch (1). Sierra Brigham led Sandwich with 11 points.

In the JV game, the Vineyarders gave a great effort, but couldn’t slow down the high-powered Sandwich offense in a 50-29 loss. Ali Dyke and Clare Mone had seven points apiece, and Paige Malowski added six for MV.