It was a busy weekend for Whaler sports. Boys basketball and boys hockey were in action on Saturday and both teams went home with victories. The boys and girls swim teams were also in action on Friday against Martha’s Vineyard on the road - where the girls continued their winning ways and remain undefeated this season.
Boys Hoops Win Thriller At Home Against New Heights Charter School
The boys basketball team earned a hard-fought win over the New Heights Charter School of Brockton Phoenix 74-68 on Saturday behind a 27-point effort from senior captain and center Jack Halik. It was the third straight win for the Whalers and their fourth in five games.
“We're starting to trust each other a little bit more, starting to pass the ball to the guy that's open, and then guys need to make plays,” Nantucket head coach Willis Ferreira said. “I know we gave up a lot of points but defensively we've been better.”
The Whalers were the #9 seed in the MIAA Div. 4 bracket heading into this matchup while New Heights was ranked #14.
Ferreira said he was proud of the fight and resilience his team showed in this matinee. Senior captain and forward Jayquan Francis was unavailable in this game, senior captain and point guard Carlos Aguilar was limited after sustaining an injury in the second quarter, and Halik also left the game at one point for a brief period of time due to an ankle injury in the second half. Oliver Marrero, the Whaler’s first big off the bench following sophomore Ethan Jarrett’s injury at the Garden last week, also sustained an injury and did not return.
"That was a big win. To do that without J (Jayquan Francis), and Los (Carlos Aguilar) for a half, and if you told me (before the game) that we won? Against them? Ha, are you crazy,” Ferreira said of his team’s performance.
Nantucket jumped out to a 20-15 lead after one quarter. The Phoenix press gave the Whalers problems early on, but Nantucket was able to battle through it with solid ball movement and effective drives to the rim.
New Heights jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, but the Whalers answered with eight of the games next 12 points to make it a 10-8 game. The Phoenix responded with a 7-0 run to put Nantucket in a five-point hole, but a quick Halik bucket in the paint and three from Aguilar quickly tied the game 15-15. The quarter was capped off with a buzzer-beater three from sophomore guard Amare Bramwell.
Bramwell continues to impress and has formed an effective combination at guard with junior Donte Brimm, who was tremendous on both ends of the court. Brimm also continues to be relentless on the boards - securing double digit rebounds for a second consecutive game.
"I wish I played him earlier (in the season)," Ferreira said of Brimm. "He's always in the right place and always makes big plays.”
The Phoenix press began to give Nantucket problems again in the second quarter, but the Whalers still held a 29-28 lead at half.
New Heights came out with lots of tenacity and speed in the third quarter. They led 40-33 midway through it.
The fast start to the second half for the Phoenix required another answer from the Whalers, and they came through.
Senior forward Chris Simpson made a pair of free throws, Bramwell scored on the fast break, and Halik had an excellent post move to get to the basket, make the layup, and draw a foul - making the game 40-39 Phoenix.
Halik had a chance to tie it if he completed the three-point play, but the attempt resulted in a rare miss for Halik, who was 13 for 16 from the line on Saturday.
But Brimm was there to support his teammate; grabbing the offensive rebound and making an easy layup to put the Whalers back in front 41-40 with three minutes to go in the quarter.
The teams traded baskets the final three minutes and the Whalers took a 50-49 lead into the fourth. Senior guard Dwayne Martin helped lead his team on an 11-2 run to begin the fourth with back-to-back corner threes – giving the Whalers a commanding 61-51 lead with 5:42 remaining.
New Heights answered with an 11-2 run of their own to make it 63-62 Nantucket with three minutes to go, but the Whalers clamped down defensively on the Phoenix and got a big bucket from Simpson to make it 65-62 in the final two minutes.
With 40 seconds remaining in the game and Nantucket leading 70-64, Simpson drew a charge to get his team possession and all but seal the win. Ferreira said he continues to be impressed with Simpson and his ability to do all of the little things needed for his team to win games, but did mention that he and his coaching staff need to continue working with him to minimize his turnovers.
Nantucket is now 8-4 this season and they’ll have a chance to improve their record to 9-4 and win streak to four games on Tuesday, January 23 when they host Cape Cod Academy at 5 p.m.
Boys Hockey Shuts Out Bishop Stang, Wins Ninth Straight Game
The boys hockey team cruised to a 5-0 victory over Bishop Stang on Saturday behind two goal performances from senior winger Braden Knapp and sophomore winger Jeremy Jenkinson.
Whaler head coach Jack Moran said the performance was exactly what this team wanted and needed after their sloppy 6-4 win over Monomoy last week. His players were antsy to get back on the ice and it showed in their overall team game.
“It's one of the best games they’ve played so far quite honestly,” Moran said. “We knew that they were going to be a challenge just looking at some of the scouting reports that we got and our guys watching their film. We figured it's going to be a game.”
Senior center and assistant captain Ryan Davis had the other Whaler goal. After Knapp scored the games first two goals in the first four minutes, Davis scored his 12th of the season to give Nantucket a 3-0 lead after one period.
From there they played a structured, sound defensive game to limit Stang to very few shots on net and help senior captain Griffin Starr earn his second shutout of the season in the Whaler goal.
"They were skating hard. The forecheck worked really well. We trapped them in their zone like we were planning on doing the whole game. It worked really well. We didn't let them get deep in our zone. It was a great game overall – a 180 degree turn from the other day,” Moran said. “They played three solid periods from beginning to the end. We love to see that. That's the type of game we want them to play. Moving forward this is what we got to do every game from now on and I know they can do it. They've shown us time and time again.”
The Whalers also got senior defenseman Hunter Strojny back after he missed one game with an injury. Moran felt like he settled into the game more and more as it progressed.
The Whalers are now 9-1 this season and have won nine straight games. They will attempt to make it 10 straight games and officially clinch a state tournament spot on Wednesday, January 24th when they host the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins at 5:15 p.m.
Myah Johnson Leads Whaler Swim In Successful Meet On Vineyard
The Whaler boys and girls swim teams traveled to Martha’s Vineyard on Friday for a meet with the Vineyarders. The girls remain undefeated this season and won the meet 111-54 while the boys dropped to 3-4 after losing to the Vineyard 99-43.
Nantucket sophomore Myah Johnson was the star of the meet by clinching a pool record on the Vineyard in the 50-yard freestyle – swimming a 25.91.
Johnson’s best time in this event so far in her high school career is a 25.21, which she swam in the state meet last year as a freshman. That performance in states broke a personal best time of 25:34.
Head coach Dylan Jones has been impressed with Johnson all winter and last week reiterated that he has been putting his team through intense practices to be prepared for the sectional and state meets next month. Johnson appears to be well on her way to beating last year’s state time, which clinched her 7th place out of 25 swimmers.
But Johnson was not the only swimmer to perform well against the Whaler’s biggest rival.
Her brother, junior Jake Johnson, earned state times in the 50-yard freestyle (22.96) and the 100-yard freestyle (50.38).
Freshman Eli MacIver earned a state time in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:11.85.
Senior Hannah Gerardi earned a state time in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:13.25. She also earned a sectional cut time in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:25.69.
Sophomore Sara Dussault earned a sectional cut time in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:17.47.
Evie Phelps earned a sectional cut time in the 200-yard freestyle (2:10.13) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:44.72).
Hannah Harrington earned a sectional cut time in the 500-yard freestyle as well with a time of 5:53.66.
There were also some sectional and state cut times in a number of relays.
Dussault, Gerardi, Martina Savova, and Johnson earned a sectional cut time in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:03.17.
Phelps, Harrington, Gerardi, and Dussault earned a sectional cut time in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 4:11.04.
The Whalers next meet is scheduled for Tuesday, January 23rd on the road against St. John Paul II at 4 p.m.
Monday, January 22:
No games scheduled.
Tuesday, January 23rd:
The boys basketball team will host Cape Cod Academy at 5 p.m.
The boys and girls swim teams will be at home for a meet against St. John Paul II at 4 p.m. This is also senior recognition night for the Whalers.
The girls basketball team will be on the road facing Falmouth Academy at 3:30 p.m.
The indoor track team will be on the road for a meet against Falmouth at 3 p.m.