This Whaler Sports Roundup includes recaps on the boys and girls basketball teams. The boys were able to win at home in an important league matchup against Monomoy while the girls went on the road and blew out Rising Tide to extend their win streak.
Boys Hoops Clinch Tournament Berth Following Win Over Monomoy
A 25-point performance from senior captain Jayquan Francis lifted the boys basketball team over the Monomoy Sharks 58-43 Tuesday evening – clinching the Whalers a tournament berth as they improved their record to 10-6 this season.
"He was good. It was good. He took over there late in the third,” Whaler head coach Willis Ferreira said. “I know he made some threes but when we were kind of struggling I told him 'Just go get the ball and go. Just make plays,' and he did. He hit his foul shots.”
The Whaler's fast start was key to their eventual victory. After taking an early 5-4 lead, sophomore guard Amare Bramwell drilled a three-pointer – followed by a pair of easy buckets by senior captains Carlos Aguilar and Jack Halik to spring an 11-0 run and build a 16-4 lead.
“I thought it was a good team effort,” Ferreira said. “I thought everyone who played did something. It's good to have everyone back. We got Los (Aguilar) back and he's not 100 percent but half of him is better than most. Overall, that's a good team. (Monomoy) was 10-3 coming in.”
The Whalers led 21-11 after one. After Monomoy hit an early three to begin the second, Francis answered with a fast-break bucket and a three of his own to help Nantucket take a 28-14 lead.
Monomoy cut the lead to 28-22 late in the first half but Halik, who finished with 16 points in the game, took advantage of the Shark's lack of size and made back-to-back hoops in the paint to extend Nantucket’s lead back to 10. The Whalers held a 34-22 lead going into halftime.
The Whalers didn’t do much offensively in the third quarter, but their defense remained strong to help them preserve a 43-30 lead going into the game’s final eight minutes.
That is when things got a little dicey. Nantucket eventually extended their lead to 50-32 with 5:16 to go, but Monomoy slowly chipped away and cut the lead to 11 with about 1:15 to go in the game.
When the MIAA calculates its rankings, margin of victory is one of two areas used to create a team’s rank (the other being strength of schedule). The maximum margin the MIAA considers is a 10-point win – anything more is moot. But if a team wins by less than 10, the win wouldn’t earn said team the maximum points possible following a victory while the losing team would get a boost by not losing by 10 or more points.
So as Monomoy slowly chipped away at Nantucket’s lead, the Whalers fell in danger of losing some points that could ultimately decide whether they get a home playoff game in round one or not. Down the stretch, it was Francis making key baskets and going 7-for-8 from the line to help the Whalers hold onto their double-digit victory.
"We don't pass the ball nearly good enough. We don't understand how to play late in games. Sometimes we do,” Ferreira said of his team’s struggles later in the game. “Just making stupid decisions, turning the ball over, taking bad shots. We got to work on that stuff and when you play really good teams that stuff matters. But overall good win. Qualify for the tournament with 10 wins. Still got a shot at the league title. We got work to do on Saturday, but we needed to win tonight to get to Saturday. The kids knew that, we talked about it, and I thought they came out and did what they were supposed to do.”
The Whalers will be hosting Martha’s Vineyard (11-3) on Saturday, February 3rd at 12:30 p.m. The Vineyarders have won four straight and eight of their last nine games. Their last loss was to Nantucket at TD Garden 67-58. This will be the rubber match of the three-game season series as the Vineyard beat the Whalers 58-47 on December 17th.
Girls Hoops Wins Sixth Straight Game
After a frustrating start to their season, the girls basketball team suddenly cannot stop winning and claimed their sixth straight victory Tuesday evening against the Rising Tide Heron on the road 53-18. Nantucket is now 7-6 this season and feeling great about where their team is at with an eye towards the postseason.
"It goes such a long way. You get a couple of wins early and then all of a sudden, you're playing positively, you're putting in that extra effort at practice, and it just boosts everything,” Osona said of the team morale during this win streak. “Then you get a quality win going back to the CCA (Cape Cod Academy) game (35-30 win on January 11th at home) and that boosts your confidence and morale even more. It really transcends to the practice floor, everyone's paying attention more, we're talking more, we're supporting each other better. It's really like a snowball effect of positivity. It's really paying off and it's great. They deserve it because they've worked hard.”
Every Whaler scored in Tuesday’s game, which was never in any doubt. The Whalers were led by junior Maddie Lombardi (11 points), junior Alana Ludvigson (10 points), senior captain Joan Harris (9 points), and junior Manny Taveras (8 points).
Nantucket led 28-13 at half and exploded out of the gates to begin the third quarter. They outscored the Herons 18-5 in the third and shut them out in the final quarter to secure the blowout victory.
"All around it was good. From the opening tip we were in control and we pressed and got transition buckets and kind of got to play on our terms,” Osona said. “All things considered, we played a really clean and concise game from beginning to end and that was very draining.”
The Whalers, now just three wins away from a state tournament berth with seven games remaining, will have two road games this weekend. They travel to play Sturgis East (3-8) on Friday at 5 p.m. and Martha’s Vineyard (3-11) on Saturday at 1:45 p.m.
Wednesday, January 31st:
The boys hockey team will be on the road facing Old Rochester at 3 p.m. The Whalers beat Old Rochester 8-2 on Saturday.
Thursday, February 1st:
No games are scheduled.