On a night where offense was scarce, the Whaler boys basketball team had to rely on their defense Tuesday evening against a Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins team coming off an 88-42 victory over Cape Cod Academy earlier in the week.
Led by sophomore point guard Amare Bramwell and his tenacity on defense, Nantucket held DY to just 55 points and pulled out a narrow 57-55 victory to improve to 1-1 on the season.
“All's I got to say is Amare (Bramwell). He single handedly carried us to that fourth quarter where we finally made some plays and we were us," head coach Willis Ferreira said. "He really did a good job defensively on 30 (Connor Boziak) and he was locked in all day.”
The score was just 15-12 after one quarter of play with Nantucket’s senior captain and forward Jayquan Francis leading the way with five points while making three of his four free throw attempts. Bramwell finished the game with six points but Boziak, one of DY’s top offensive threats, was held to just six points in the first half and 14 on the night in large part to Bramwell’s relentless, physical defense.
Nantucket led 23-22 at halftime and Francis, along with sophomore big man Ethan Jarrett, each had seven points.
But similar to the Whaler’s game against Bourne earlier this week, Nantucket got into some foul trouble with their bigs which prompted Ferreira to dig into his bench in the third quarter. He said that he liked the way sophomore big man Oliver Marrero played down low in his limited minutes while giving senior captain Jack Halik and Jarrett a breather.
DY carried a 38-37 lead into the final quarter but Nantucket quickly regained the lead. Senior guard Dwayne Martin finished the game with eight points – all of which came in the final frame.
“It really kept us afloat until we could get a lead there (in the fourth quarter),” Ferreira said of Martin’s offensive spark in the fourth quarter. “He was mad about some things I said, and I thought he handled himself the right way. He just went out and played. But that is part of coaching man. You got to get on guys, guys aren’t going to like it, and guys have to respond – and I thought he responded the right way.”
Nantucket took a 57-49 lead with 1:50 left in the game after Francis found senior forward Chris Simpson in the paint on the fastbreak for an easy two points – prompting a timeout by DY.
It appeared that basket could be the dagger that wrapped things up, but with DY made it a game. The Dolphins came out of the stoppage energized, the Whalers struggled to hit free throws late, and suddenly Nantucket’s lead was cut to 57-55 with four seconds left and DY in possession of the ball after a pair of missed free throws.
DY got the ball to half court but were unable to get a very good look at the end. Nantucket held on by forcing a Hail Mary from half court and earned a much-needed win after an ugly 66-39 loss on Tuesday at home to Bourne.
“I think overall with the foul shots we got to be up eight (points) there at the end, not fighting for our lives," Ferreira said. "But I liked the toughness that we brought at the end. I thought the best possession of the night was the one where we were finally holding it (in the final 30 seconds of the game) and made them come after us (with under 10 seconds to go in the game). Unfortunately we missed (the free throws), but it's just (us) learning.”
Nantucket’s next game is scheduled for Sunday, December 17 on the road against Martha’s Vineyard at 1:45 p.m. The Vineyard is currently 1-0 after beating the Nauset Warriors on the road 58-50 Tuesday night. The Vineyard will be playing the Whalers on the second day of a back-to-back as they host the Abington Green Wave on Saturday, December 16 at 2:30 p.m.