Boys’ basketball beats Nantucket and Cape Cod Academy in gritty fashion
This week, the Vineyarders traveled to Nantucket on Saturday, Jan. 28, and then hosted Cape Cod Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 31, in a bid to sweep both season series. Each game came down to the wire, with the Vineyarders prevailing 47-45, and then 60-57.
Against the Whalers, both teams had a really “ugly start,” according to Coach Mike Joyce. Neither team scored 10 points until the second quarter, and senior captain Matheus Rodrigues was in foul trouble all game. In the second half, Nantucket took the initiative, and built themselves a nine-point lead halfway through the third quarter, 29-20. Things went from bad to worse for the Vineyarders when Rodrigues and then starting point guard Nate Story each fouled out in the fourth, but MVRHS refused to die. Junior forward Josh Lake took the reins at the point, drowning out the crowd to keep the Vineyarders organized and focused under pressure. Meanwhile, backup center Tysean Thomas finished with a double-double off the bench, and senior guard Cam Napior stepped up with some clutch drives to the basket in the final minutes, including the game winner with seven seconds to go. Napior finished with 15 points, all scored in the second half, and also made some huge free throws at the end to chip away at the Nantucket lead.
Coach Joyce stated that Thomas had been out for most of the year with a foot injury, and then COVID, and showed a lot of maturity with his performance on both ends of the floor. The effort and energy on defense that he, along with senior captain Tobey Roberts and Napior, displayed is “what kept us in it,” explained Coach Joyce.
Next up was Cape Cod Academy, which proved to be just as thrilling and hard-fought of a game. In the first quarter, both teams felt each other out, and the Seahawks took a relatively straightforward 14-12 lead. But then the game turned into an emotional rollercoaster, with the Vineyarders rattling off an 8-0 run, before the Seahawks rattled off a 12-2 run of their own, including a Tamarr Washington buzzer beater to end the half. In the third quarter, Cape Cod Academy continued their hot three-point shooting, and took a 39-29 lead, threatening to snap the Vineyarders’ eight-game winning streak. It seemed like whenever the Vineyarders were mounting a comeback, they would have a foul called on them, and the Seahawks would hit a three. The Seahawk junior varsity team was getting loud in the stands, and the Vineyard fans were getting ornery with the officiating. Halfway through the fourth quarter, a dramatic Cam Napior and-one brought it within five, and then Nate Story made a layup that teetered on the rim for what felt like an eternity; the crowd was getting louder and louder. Finally, with 1:50 to go, the Vineyarders retook the lead on a Story swish from the corner, and the Pachico Gym erupted.
Up 56-54, the Vineyarders employed a full-court press to disrupt the Seahawk offense and burn out the clock. Ultimately, the noise and the pressure got to Cape Cod Academy, and Matheus Rodrigues posted up down low to seal it, 60-57. Reflecting on the season thus far, Coach Joyce said that his team has “a good blend of talents and strengths” that have got them to where they are. “They have a good banter, and really like each other,” he added. The Vineyarders are currently 13-1, and are ranked No. 16 in the MIAA Division III Power Rankings. Their next game will be their senior night on Friday at 4:30 pm, against Monomoy.
Girls’ basketball dominates Nantucket, comes back to beat Cape Cod Academy
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Vineyarders hosted the Whalers for a rematch of their Jan. 21 game, in which MVRHS came out on top in Nantucket, 37-28. The second time around, though, the Vineyarders showed no mercy, easily winning 52-20. In the first half, senior captain Maria Andrade dominated the boards, sophomore guard Delilah Oliver was great downhill, and the Vineyarders’ all-around ball movement was great, complementing their extreme efficiency on breakaways. On defense, the Vineyarders didn’t allow any Nantucket points until 5:26 to go in the second quarter, and went into halftime up 39-5. In the second half, the Vineyard bench got some valuable playing time, and continued to stymie the Whaler offense. At the final buzzer, Oliver had 18 points, Andrade had 10, and senior captain Josie Welch finished with eight.
Against Cape Cod Academy on Tuesday, the Vineyarders again came away with a win, sweeping the season series with the Seahawks. The Vineyarders started out slow, with Andrade and Welch getting into foul trouble early, but took the lead in the second quarter and never relinquished it. Coach Melissa Braillard had a lot of praise for sophomore guard Avery Mulvey, who clamped up the Seahawks’ top scorer after her hot start, and for sophomores Agata Rodrigues and Scarlet Marino for stepping up when the Vineyard starters were in foul trouble. The Vineyarders ended up winning 37-26, with Andrade achieving a near triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals).
Looking ahead, the Vineyarders have an opportunity to clinch first place in the Cape & Islands Lighthouse division with a win over Monomoy away on Friday, Feb. 3. The Vineyarders currently have five wins on the season, already three more than their previous season’s total.
Boys’ hockey extends winning streak to 11 games
The Vineyarders played two games this past week: St. John Paul II away last Wednesday, and then Plymouth North at home on Sunday. Against St. John Paul II, the Vineyard offense scored 35 seconds into play (sophomore Nate Averill assisted by fellow sophomores Frankie Paciello and Hunter Johnson), but then went cold for two periods. Entering the third period down 2-1, junior Liam Conley finally tied it up, tipping in the puck from Paciello and senior captain Nick BenDavid. Back into a groove, the Vineyarders scored three more times to win it 5-2. With two goals and two assists, Paciello earned the game’s Zamboni award for being “a constant presence,” while senior goalkeeper Zach Mathias was named Coach Matt Mincone’s “Player on Fire.”
Against Plymouth North, a “the power play and [the] goaltending were the difference,” stated Coach Mincone. On offense, the Vineyarders scored twice on three power plays, something they’ve excelled at all season. The first goal was scored by Paciello (assisted by Johnson) at the 6:50 mark in the first period, and the second was scored by Averill (assisted by Johnson and Rego) right before the third period. On the other end, Mathias earned his second straight Player of the Game award, finishing with 27 saves and the clean sheet. Coach Mincone also had lots of praise for senior Parker Blake, junior Trevor Gullotta, and freshman Griff Callahan for their play from the blueline.
With this week’s victories, the Vineyarders have now won 11 consecutive games, and are ranked No. 5 in the MIAA Division IV Power Rankings. This upcoming Saturday, Feb. 4, the Vineyarders have one of their biggest home games of the season, against Nantucket at 12:30 pm. The following Saturday, they travel to play Nauset (No. 3 in the DIII rankings) away.
Girls’ hockey falls to Nauset, bounces back against Dennis-Yarmouth
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the girls kicked off their week with a rematch against the Nauset/Cape Cod Furies away. Back in December, the two teams tied 1-1 at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena in a nice battle between two strong teams. This time around, however, the Vineyarders started out “without legs” in the first period, conceding a 3-0 lead going into the second. From that point forward, the Vineyarders played with more energy, and junior Maia Donnelly scored “a beautiful goal” on an assist from freshman Reese Malowski. Ultimately, however, MVRHS couldn’t surmount the comeback, and lost 4-1.
On Saturday, the Vineyarders hosted Dennis-Yarmouth for their second and final game of the week. Against the Dolphins, the Vineyarders bounced back and bounced back loudly, coming up with a big 7-1 win. The Vineyarders’ corps of upstart freshmen led the way, with Grace Cotton and Esme Colon scoring their first career goals, and Emily Coogan (two) and Elle Mone tacking on three more. On the other end, the MVRHS defense held strong, and junior backup Rebecca Mandelli earned Player of the Game with a solid varsity debut in goal. The Vineyarders are 7-5-2 on the season.
Indoor track athletes compete at MSTCA Coaches Invitational
This past weekend, the Vineyarders participated in the MSTCA Coaches Invitational, held at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Roxbury. MVRHS competed in the small-school division alongside 80 other high schools from around the state. Coach Joe Schroeder brought seven of his best athletes to the invite-only meet: seniors Daniel da Silva (1,000m run), Daniel Serpa (1,000m run), Wren Christy (two-mile run), and Eloise Christy (high jump), as well as junior Caroline Bettencourt (55m dash), and sophomores Camille Brand (high jump) and Madison Mello (shot put).
On the boys’ side, Da Silva and Serpa had the best 1,000m races of their careers, achieving personal records (2:36.27; 2:37.19) as well as claiming second and fifth place along the way. Da Silva also qualified himself for the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March with his performance. In the girls’ high jump, Brand (5 feet, 0 inches; tied for second) was two inches off tying the school record, something she had done earlier this season, while Eloise Christy (4 feet, 8 inches) finished 11th overall. In the girls’ two-mile run, the other Christy achieved a season record of 11:53, good for eighth place overall. Next was Bettencourt, who was 0.03 seconds off her personal record of 8.07. Finally, Mello threw for 29 feet, 11.25 inches, good for 18th. She was one of six total underclassmen who competed in the 4kg shot put.
Next week, the Vineyarders will compete in the Cape & Islands Championships, their final meet of the regular season. The Vineyarders’ entire team will be in attendance to duke it out with their rivals.
MVRHS swimmers finishing their regular season strong
This past week, the Vineyarders had dual meets against Bishop Connolly and Durfee, and also competed in the Cape & Islands League Championships. Against Bishop Connolly, both the boys’ and girls’ teams won, with senior captain Christian Flanders (1:15.27) breaking the school record for the 100-yard breastroke, and the boys 200-yard freestyle relay team qualifying for sectionals along the way. The 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle, and 100-yard freestyle proved to be key events for the Vineyarders, with both the boys and girls dominating all three events against Bishop Connolly.
Against Durfee, the Vineyarders had their senior night (honoring Christian Flanders and Nathan Cuthbert), and the boys extended their winning streak to four, finishing their season with a 5-1 record in dual meets. The boys finished 1-2-3 in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle, while also winning three key relays: the 200-yard medley, the 200-yard freestyle, and the 400-yard freestyle. In the process, Flanders qualified for sectionals in the 100-yard freestyle. On the girls’ side, the Vineyarders were outnumbered five to one, but still managed to score 35 points to Durfee’s 70. In the 100-yard freestyle, junior Olympia Hall (1:02.81), sophomore Sylvia Carroll (1:07.80), and freshman Leah Debettencourt (1:22.99; personal record) took first, second, and fifth, respectively. Next, these three teamed up with seventh grader Nora Duncheva to win the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 4:52.82.
Last but not least, the Vineyarders competed against their Cape & Islands rivals over the weekend. The championships proved to be a fruitful day for the Vineyarders, with the boys taking home bronze, and a plethora of swimmers qualifying for sectionals and/or states. The first big event for MVRHS was the 50-yard freestyle, where the boys finished 2-3-5, with Flanders qualifying for states (23.52), and Cuthbert setting a personal record (24.38). Then the Vineyarders (Flanders, Cuthbert, junior Emmett Silva, sophomore Kaua DeAssis) won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:36.82, good for a MVRHS school record, and qualified for states in the process. On the girls’ side, Olympia Hall showed out, qualifying for sectionals in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Furthermore, Carroll, Debettencurt, and freshman Nora Motahari set personal records in the 50-yard freestyle, while Carroll and Motahari set personal records in the 100.
Moving forward, the Vineyarders will race at the Last Chance Meet on Friday in Sandwich, for one more opportunity to break school records and send more swimmers to sectionals and beyond. “This team has been a force to be reckoned with. It will be an exciting postseason!” stated Coach Jen Passafiume.