Ending a dream season, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys’ basketball team on Saturday lost 92-75 to Wareham in the second round of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament. With the loss the Vineyarders finish the season at 16-4, one of their best records in recent memory.
The game was much closer than the score indicated. The Vikings were bigger, with seven players over six feet tall (four more than the Vineyarders), and more balanced, with each of their five starters scoring in double figures. But they weren’t necessarily better, and the Vineyard matched them blow-for-blow, holding leads several times in the game.
The Vineyarders stormed out to an early 4-0 lead, which threw some cold water on the boisterous home crowd in the tiny gymnasium with the stands just inches from the floor. There was not enough room to accommodate all the fans, and spectators packed the stands and lined the edge of the court, creating an exciting and sometimes imposing playing environment for the Vineyarders.
Buoyed by the crowd, the Vikings rallied on shots by Jordan Tavares and Darren Gray and tied the game at 4-4.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, as the each team took small leads only to give it up a few minutes later. The Vineyarders held a 21-16 lead at one point after Randall Jette knocked down a three-pointer, and held a 23-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But things took a turn in the second quarter, as the Vikings Jordan Rezendes and Jules Tavares seemed to score on just about every possession. Rezendes, who crossed the 1,000-point mark for his career in the game, was a monster in the paint, while Rezendes continued to knock down shots from the wings. When the smoke cleared the Vikings led 38-32 at the half.
It was the Steve Handy show in the third quarter, as the Vineyarders’ junior forward scored on three consecutive possessions, allowing the visitors to take a slim 48-47 lead. But the advantage did not last long, as the Vikings came out of a time-out and went on a 16-5 run to take a 63-54 lead.
The punctuation mark came from Tavares, who hit a three-pointer and was fouled in the act, allowing him to convert the rare four-point play, which sent the home crowd into a frenzy. The Vineyarders made a last stand in the fourth; Handy hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 65-60. Jette stole the ball and went coast-to-coast to make 70-65, but it was as close as they would get.
The Vikings scored 29 points in the final quarter to the Vineyarders’ 19, and won the game going away. And while the two teams waged a war between the lines, they were cordial and respectful after the final buzzer. Players from both teams shook hands and some even hugged.
Handy led all scorers with 28 points, 21 of which came in the second half. Jette had 23 and Moreis had 14 in the loss.
Tavares led the Vikings with 20 points, followed by Rezendes and Darren Gray, who each had 18 points in the win. Ryan Pina had 16 and Pat Murphy had 12.