After a string of frustrating seasons, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls’ basketball team has jumped out to an impressive 5-2 record early this season, and could easily be 7-0 if not for a pair of tough overtime losses.
Meanwhile the boys’ basketball team continued to roll this week with an easy win over Minuteman Tech, while the boys’ hockey team lost to perennial powerhouse Framingham on Saturday and Bridgewater-Raynham on Wednesday.
The girls’ hockey team also won their first game of the season Wednesday against Falmouth, just two weeks after the sudden resignation of longtime coach Sam Sherman.
As the winter sports season nears the halfway mark, three of the four varsity teams — boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball and boys’ hockey — are in position to qualify for the state tournament.
This will also be a great week for sports fans as all four teams play multiple games at home, including a veritable buffet of sports action tomorrow: the girls’ hockey team plays Marshfield at 1 p.m., the boys’ basketball team plays Bishop Feehan at 2:30 p.m. and the boys’ hockey team plays Bishop Feehan at 4:45 p.m.
In her fourth season as head coach, Lisa Stewart has guided the girls’ basketball team to an early 5-2 record on the season, which is even more impressive considering the team is made up mostly of underclassmen.
She has one senior starter, forward Katie Hines, along with junior guard Maddie Penicaud, junior guard Crystal Miske, junior center Jilian Sedlier and freshman forward Jennie Lindland.
The Vineyarders rolled over Wayland last Wednesday by a final of 44-37, their third home win in a row. Lindland had a game-high 13 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. Sedlier had eight points, and Hines and Alicia Oliveira each had six points.
Coach Stewart said her team features a run-and-gun style offense and a swarming full-court press defense. She said this is one of the quickest teams she has ever coached, and already is creating problems for opponents.
“We are a small team, but we can run and press the whole game, which really opens up our offense . . . I think we had 60 shots in the game against Wayland, for example, which is hard to top,” she said.
The coach said the team also has a balanced scoring attack and does not depend on a single player for offense. This diversity has allowed the coach to get almost all her players into every game, and has led to a different lead scorer almost every time out.
“We are very dynamic, anyone on the floor can score at anytime. When we press the ball up the court anyone can take the shot, and the players aren’t looking to dump it off to someone else. It makes us unpredictable and hard to defend,” she said.
The coach said she has high expectations for this team.
“This is one of the best teams I have ever coached in terms of basketball knowledge and experience. They all just want to be there, they practically run the practices by themselves. As a coach you can’t ask for much more,” she said.
A tough stretch for the team begins tomorrow on the road against Bishop Feehan, their first Eastern Atlantic Conference (EAC) game of the season. They also play a pair of tough games at home this week, against conference rival Somerset on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. and old South Coast Conference rival Wareham on Friday at 5:15 p.m.
It’s been a rocky few weeks for the girls’ hockey team following the sudden resignation of longtime coach Sam Sherman on Dec. 18. But despite this adversity, the Vineyarders posted their first win of the season against Falmouth on Wednesday to improve their record to 1-5.
Goalie Jamie Forend was solid between the pipes all game, and three different Vineyard players scored in the 3-1 win. Maggie Johnson and Gillian O’Callahan scored 30 seconds apart in the first period, and Angela DeBettencourt scored a third period goal to seal the win.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, new coach Gene Townes said his players are holding up as best they can considering the sudden resignation of their coach. He conceded the program is going through a rough patch, largely because the number of players has dropped dramatically in recent years.
The thin roster has forced many players to stay on the ice longer, and has forced some of the girls to play out of position. “It’s hard on the players; some of them have to stay out on the ice for most of the game,” he said.
The coach said he is working with school officials to expand the youth hockey programs for girls and expand the feeder system so there will be more players ready to play at the high school level. “We actually have a lot of players on the varsity team, but they need more time to work on the fundamentals before they join varsity,” he said.
Heading into Saturday’s matchup against powerhouse Framingham, boys’ hockey coach Matt Mincone admits he gave his team little chance of winning. Not because he lacks confidence in his team, but because the Flyers from Framingham are the third-ranked team in Division One hockey and are widely considered to be one of the top teams in the state.
“They are a monster team, they are strong every year,” the coach said. “I like to give our team a chance to play them every year — but this year I knew we had our work cut out for us. They’re one of the best teams in the state at any level.”
When the Vineyarders played the Flyers last year they nearly beat them, skating to a close 5-4 loss. But this year’s matchup at the MV Arena on Saturday was not nearly as close, as the Flyers scored a pair of power-play goals in the second period en route to an easy 5-0 win.
Despite the lopsided final score, coach Mincone said his team played well at times, especially in the first period, when the defense allowed only a single goal. “We came out strong, but then we got a little tentative. [Framingham] is so talented and so deep, they almost play perfect. Once we gave up that first goal things sort of snow-balled,” he said.
Despite the loss, Vineyard goaltender Louis Jacobs-Walsh had a strong game in net, stopping 26 shots. The Flyers had 31 shots on goal; the Vineyard had 19.
On Wednesday the Vineyarders lost 4-3 at Bridgewater-Raynham to fall to 3-4 on the season. They next play at home tomorrow against Bishop Feehan, followed by road games against Somerset on Wednesday and Mansfield on Friday.
After winning both their games in the Cape Cod Classic tournament last weekend in Mashpee, the boys’ basketball team continued its winning ways with a thrilling 73-62 win over Minuteman Tech on Wednesday, their hardest-fought win of the season.
On Dec. 26 they beat Harwhich 72-62, and the next day rolled over Mashpee by a final of 69-59. In that game Randall Jette scored 17 points, Steve Handy pitched in with 13 points, Justin Mercier had 12 and Lamar Moreis had 12. Detailed information about Wednesday’s win against Minuteman Tech was not available as of press time.
The Vineyarders’ record now stands at 5-1 heading into tomorrow’s matchup at home against Bishop Feehan.