Boys Hoops Dominate Sandwich In Blowout Home Win

David Creed •

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Willis Ferreira could tell prior to game time on Tuesday that his basketball team wasn’t happy about losing two straight games. The Nantucket head coach sensed that a solid game could be in the cards as the Whalers hoped to break the losing streak and improve their record to 4-5.

They did just that against the Sandwich Blue Knights, beating them 73-44

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The Whalers cruised to the win behind an 18-point, six rebound performance by junior center Jack Halik and a 10-point, 12 rebound performance by junior forward Jayquan Francis.

“We just got to get better every day and these guys didn’t like losing two in a row,” Ferreira said. “I thought it showed tonight. I thought they played great but again, still a lot to learn. But we are getting there. I’m not jumping off the cliff as much as I was the other day. I feel better about my team and I think they responded to coaches and took a little pride in their teammates and team to keep battling.”

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The game began with neither team able to do much of anything offensively. Nantucket made some baskets late in the first quarter to take a 15-6 lead into the second quarter.

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That was when Halik began to take over. Halik used his size to his advantage against a smaller Blue Knight team, forcing them to foul him and send him to the free throw line. He went 8 off 9 from the line, making Sandwich pay.

“He is still young, and he still doesn’t understand how big he is,” Ferreira said of the promising center. “So, I just have to keep trying to remind him.”

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The Whalers began to get out in transition and score points on the fast break rather than in their half-court offense. That is when they broke the game open and forced Sandwich to take a timeout down 28-10 in the second quarter.

“We pushed the ball better tonight and got easier shots,” Ferreira said. “We aren’t good in the half court. I think we all know that. So, we want to get open shots by attacking the rim. Jack was really good in the third quarter. He was making every shot.”

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The Whalers led 38-14 at halftime, outscoring the Blue Knights 23-8 in the second quarter. From there the Whalers began to rotate everyone on their bench into the game to even out the minutes. Players such a junior Chris Simpson continue to impress and make their case for more meaningful minutes moving forward.

Ferreira said he felt senior captain Karson Wellington (11 points) and junior point guard Carlos Aguilar (10 points) were much better on Tuesday than in the past couple of games.

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In the MIAA’s most recent tournament rankings, the Whalers were #28 in the Div. 4 bracket. Ferreira said he thinks his team will be alright moving.

“If you get to .500, I don’t care if we are 50th. Just get us in and go from there,” he said. “Sometimes you just need to be in the dance to dance right? We have some good opponents coming up. The Vineyard is ranked pretty high. Wareham is like number two now, Cape Cod Academy. We have a lot of basketball still against some good teams and that will help us. We just have to get better every day.”

The Whalers will have a couple of days off before they host the Monomoy Sharks on Friday, January 20 at 5 p.m. and then travel to Martha’s Vineyard the next day on Saturday, January 21 for a 1:30 p.m. game.

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