Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard Boys Basketball Teams Set For Showdown At TD Garden

David Creed •

Jaquan Francis going up for a layup against Martha's Vineyard last season. Photo by Chris Tran

The Nantucket boys basketball team will be playing Martha’s Vineyard at TD Garden on Sunday, January 14 as part of the Andrew J. Lawson basketball showcase during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The game will be played at 1 p.m.

“It kind of came to fruition about a month or so ago and I think it is just a great opportunity obviously for our kids and our community to play at TD Garden,” Athletic Director Travis Lombardi said. “To throw this rivalry in the Garden is going to be awesome. This is something these kids will remember for the rest of their lives I mean, I will always remember this and I won’t be playing. I’ll be standing there looking on, maybe get a couple shots up.”

Lombardi said he will be constructing a committee that will go over logistics of the trip and attempt to see if there is a way to rent out a restaurant, banquet room at the garden, etc.

“We are going to try to do it up the right way for these kids,” he said.

Lombardi said they are continuing to work through ticket sales and transportation set ups but will let the community know with advanced time when that information is available.

Head coach Willis Ferreira said that he is excited for his players to have the opportunity to play on the Garden’s parquet floor.

“This will be an awesome experience for these guys to play the Vineyard in that building. It is going to be fun playing on the parquet,” Ferreira said.

Nauset and Cape Cod Academy played in the invitational last year, and the Nauset head coach is good friends with Steve Gibbs, who runs the invitational according to Ferreira.

“I made a phone call asking him how to go about it, he gave me (Gibbs) number, and we chatted for an hour about basketball – didn’t even really talk much about this game,” Ferreira said. “Then we just kept talking and he was intrigued by the whole island thing. He was worried about getting 400 people in the building (a requirement) and I said that would be no problem. Then I called the Vineyard coach, asked him what he thought, they were all-in and then next thing you know they picked us. I think the rivalry really intrigues a lot of people.”

The Andrew James Lawson Foundation was created to honor Andrew Lawson, a 27-year-old man who had Down Syndrome and passed away in 2018 after a two-year battle with cancer. This tournament raises funds for the foundation, which was established to help other people with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience inclusion in their communities through scholarships.

The Andrew James Lawson Foundation Invitational was established in 2020.

In a story that appeared in the Boston Globe, legendary Norwell boys’ basketball head coach John Willis was quoted as saying this about Lawson: “While Andrew Lawson might not be the best athlete to play at Norwell, he might be the most important. And he’s definitely the most popular.”

You can donate to the foundation here.

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