The West Tisbury Hawks middle school basketball team was able to fend off a tough Oak Bluffs team to win the middle school basketball championship by a final of 52-30.
“It was a see-saw battle through the first half,” West Tisbury Coach Matt Gebo told The Times.
Oak Bluffs Blazers started the game with a good defensive scheme, which required Gebo to make some half-time adjustments with his team. Landon Lapine took over the game in the second half scoring 20 of this game-high 30 points, Coach Gebo said. Drayden Thomas came off the bench to score 6 points and Leo Napier had a great game at point guard controlling the offense against the Oak Bluffs full-court pressure, the coach said.
“They were elated, very excited,” Coach Gebo said of his team.
Alex McCluskey, coach of the Blazers, paid tribute to the Hawks saying they withstood the first half defensive battle and found an answer for the full-court press.
“I wish the end score reflected better the three quarters,” Coach McCluskey said. “Give credit where it is due… Their point guard did not lose his composure.”
He also gave credit to Landon who was able to use his 6’4” body to dominate the boards and score at will. Coach McCluskey pointed out one of his players who might have been able to stop Landon was away in Brazil for the championship contest.
“It’s a credit to Island basketball overall that there are players who can handle adversity,” Coach McCluskey said.
Coach McCluskey heaped praise on his own point guard, Jacoby Light, who was instrumental for the Blazers. “He’s as good a player as I’ve seen in the 7th grade,” he said.
It was a return to the championship podium for West Tisbury, which won the championship prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The league took a year off and we won it again. We’re back-to-back champions,” he said. Overall, the coach said he was very pleased with the team defense keeping the O.B. offense at bay.
But the Hawks may not want to get too comfortable. Coach McCluskey said his boys are already back in the gym working on their shooting skills to offset the Hawks two-three zone defense. “When you get beat you have to ask, what can we do better as a team,” he said.