The Whaler boys basketball team was able to improve to 3-2 this season following a 58-52 victory over the Medway Mustangs Wednesday afternoon. Senior forward Chris Simpson led the Whalers with 18 points and continues to emerge as a core piece of this team five games into the season.
"He's worked really hard at his craft and finally getting to play a little bit more, getting more comfortable out there,” Whaler head coach Willis Ferreira said. “It's not easy. It's not as easy as it looks sometimes in front of people. There is a lot going on offensively, defensively. A lot of thinking going on so it's good when they don't think and kind of just play. I think he's gotten to that point where if he screws up defensively it doesn't affect the whole game.”
Nantucket held a 33-23 lead at halftime before a sluggish third quarter where the Mustangs were able to cut the Whaler lead to five points.
"For us to win a close game, and we're going to be in a lot of those this year, it's good,” Ferreira said. “I wish we were playing better but it's coming. The pieces are coming together. We're playing smarter. All those things that we talked about so far every day as the season has gone on. We're getting closer. I got to find some guys that can come off the bench and give these guys a little breather. It's still a little nerve wracking for me, the inexperience, but I got to do a better job of that.”
Simpson and sophomore big man Ethan Jarrett (13 points on Wednesday) were the only two Nantucket players to score in the quarter.
“Ethan was so good because he just does what he's told he just stands near the hoop, rebounds, misses, and puts it back up right now,” Ferreira said. “He's good at that. He went to the foul line a lot. I think he was seven for nine from the line. It was really good to see that out of him. So we got to get some other guys and I got to start trusting those guys.”
Senior captains Jack Halik (14 points) and Jayquan Francis (nine points) rounded out the scoring for Nantucket. Ferreira said while he wants to see more offensive production from his team moving forward, their defensive work remains solid and ultimately led them to a victory over Medway.
Ferreira, who is in his 31st year of coaching, added that he enjoys these holiday tournaments and believes they are an effective way to help teams improve and stay sharp as they look towards the new year.
“Personally, for me, I wanted to go to this tournament,” Ferreira said. “I thought it was really good competition. If we got a split, I was going to be really happy. We already got it so we're playing with house money, man. We just got to go up there. and just play basketball.”
Nantucket’s next game will be Friday, December 29th at 2:30 p.m. as they will travel back up to Milford to take on the Worcester South Colonels (2-3) at 2:30 p.m., who beat Milford 50-44 in their tournament game on Wednesday.