The seasons of two winter sports teams came to an end last Saturday, as girls’ basketball and boys’ hockey fell in quarterfinals match-ups of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association sectional tournament. The girls, playing at home, lost 49-35 to Norwell, while the boys lost 4-3 to Franklin at a neutral site.
The Vineyard girls stayed close to the Lady Clippers in the first half, with senior Kendall Robinson scoring seven points in the second quarter. But Norwell pulled away in the third quarter, jumping to an 11-point lead that the Vineyarders could not overcome. The Vineyard defense fought back, but the team struggled with shooting from both the field and the line. Norwell took advantage of every scoring opportunity, sinking two three-pointers in the final four minutes to extend their lead.
Robinson and junior Kat deBettencourt each had 10 points for the team. Senior Maggie Riseborough scored six and senior Katie Stewart had five points.
“We had a good season with some good milestones,” head coach Lisa Stewart said after the game. The team posted a 17-5 record this year, the best in Coach Stewart’s seven-year tenure (she will retire from coaching after this year), and won two regular-season tournaments.
“It’s hard to have your last game not be your best game,” she said.
The second-seeded boys’ hockey team jumped out to a 3-0 lead in their quarterfinals game against seventh-seeded Franklin, scoring three goals against the Panthers in the first six minutes. Junior Tyson Araujo had two and sophomore Alex Vukota provided the last. But Franklin powered back and tied the game in the third period, forcing overtime. The Panthers put the game winner away two minutes in.
“It’s just how hockey goes sometimes,” head coach Matt Mincone told the Gazette, adding that the team had given their all in the game. “We skated with them the whole game — they got us in kind of a unique spot.”
Coach Mincone said this season marked a change in team culture for the Vineyarders, with the on-ice strategy shifting to revolve around protecting freshman goalkeeper Wyatt Jenkinson. The squad worked to master the somewhat painful art of shot blocking and cultivate team defense, resulting in an all-time low for shots allowed over the course of the season: 251.
“That’s the culture of guys blocking shots and playing with some grit,” Coach Mincone said. “They did everything.” The team posted a 16-5-1 record overall — a better record than the team that won the state championships in 2002, and the best in Coach Mincone’s tenure with the squad. And the team won the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Tournament for the second time in the event’s 16-year history. “I never want to say I’m satisfied, but I’m content,” Coach Mincone said of the season. “Granted, I know the kids wanted to play more.”