After a brief November lull in high school athletics, basketball, hockey and swimming move to center stage on the sports scene this week. Season passes for basketball and hockey games are available through the high school athletic department for $55 for adults and $35 for seniors. Passes are good for both boys’ and girls’ games.
Where does a team go after a 19-4 season that also saw a league championship title and a thrilling postseason run? In the case of the boys’ basketball team, which sees eight players return from the 2010-2011 squad, they pick up right where they left off. “Hopefully this group will build on that [success] and go forward,” head coach Mike Joyce told the Gazette. “I think it’s going to be exciting again.”
The team is captained by seniors Delmont Araujo, Peter Keaney and Will Stewart. Seniors Charlie Everett, Ryan Fisher and Carlos Guzman, along with juniors Jack Roberts and Izak Brown, are back on the court to defend their title. Newcomers Mike deBettencourt, Will Fielding and Brandon Watkins round out the varsity boys.
The boys play their first game at Sandwich next Tuesday.
The girls play their first game Saturday in an away game against Sabias International Charter School, and will play Sandwich twice next week. “In terms of basketball IQ and experience playing together, we’re better off than we’ve ever been,” said head coach Lisa Stewart. Although the team graduated five seniors last year, the core of returnees is the first to come through the program that has also played together in the off-season Cape Cod travel league.
“It makes a huge difference,” Coach Stewart said. “We’ve been playing against teams that have been doing [travel league] since third or fourth grade.” Seniors Madison Hughes, Alex Mark and Hanna Persson return to the team this season. Juniors Alayna Hutchinson, Jennie Lindland, Hailee McCarthy, Maggie Riseborough, Kendall Robinson and Katie Stewart, along with sophomore Kat deBettencourt, complete the roster.
The boys team opens the season at home tomorrow against Old Rochester. The puck drops at 5 p.m. Last weekend saw a three-game set of scrimmages against Division 1 teams Needham, Hamden (Ct.), and Acton-Boxboro. Both Needham and Acton are regulars in hockey’s Super 8 tournament, while Hamden took home the Connecticut state championship two years ago.
“To bring teams down like that to scrimmage, it really throws us in the fire really quick,” said head coach Matt Mincone. And while the division 2 Vineyarders did not take home a win, Coach Mincone noted a marked improvement over last year (when the team “got pummeled in all three”), with the Vineyarders staying on pace with their opponents and losing by just a goal in two of the games.
“Through the first scrimmages, we’ve looked completely different,” said Coach Mincone. “I still think we have a lot to prove, we came off a tough season [4-12-2] last year.”
The 2011-12 squad is “very balanced,” he continued, with six seniors, six juniors, five sophomores and five freshman suiting up for varsity. Seniors Tyler Araujo and Nelson Dickson captain the team, with classmates Chuck Goldthwait, Colby Gouldrup, Bobby Parry, Noah Stobie and Mike Sylvia also taking to the ice for their final Vineyard season.
The girls travel to BU this weekend to take on Division 1 school Brookline for their opening game of the season. “I can’t speak more highly of the group of kids that are on the team,” said second-year coach John Fiorito. All but five players return from last year’s squad, with four freshmen (Aubrey Ashmun, Sydney Davies, Erin Hegarty and Olivia Ogden) making their first varsity appearances.
“We got more competitive as the season went on [last year],” said Coach Fiorito. “The older kids especially are excited for this year.”
Returning seniors are Olivia Cimeno, Lily Gazaille, Rilla Hammett and Lizzie Kelleher, with Maggie Johnson and Celia Mercier captaining the team.
Now in its second year as a club sport, swimming returns with a team sharpened by off-season competition with the Vineyard Makos. The boys’ team is captained by Alex Guest and Tyler Shapiro, while Alex Mazza and Paige Nitardy helm the girls’ swimmers. Scores from the first home meet, held yesterday, were unavailable at press time.
The girls’ team will swim against Pope John Paul 2nd High School on Tuesday at 3:30. p.m.