This Whaler Sports Roundup includes recaps on the girls basketball team after they won their third straight game Tuesday evening, the boys hockey team as they extended their win streak to seven games, and the girls hockey team.
Lombardi’s Dominant Fourth Quarter Leads Girls Hoops To Third Straight Win
Junior guard/forward Maddie Lombardi has been the most consistent scorer for the Whaler girls basketball team this season, and on Wednesday she put together the best game of her season – scoring 22 points (including 13 points in the final quarter) to lead Nantucket to a 52-32 victory over the Sturgis East Storm.
“She's great. She can (score) a lot of different ways,” Nantucket head coach Rafael Osona said after the game. “We lean on her for a lot. It's been nice lately to have her teammates scoring and taking that pressure off of her but yeah, that's good for her. She deserves that.”
Manny Taveras (14 points) scored eight of those in the first quarter to help the Whalers take an early 12-4 lead after one. In the second quarter it was Alana Ludvigson, alongside Lombardi, leading the way with six points apiece. While they were scoring, freshman Madden Myer was dominating the boards and getting her team several second chance opportunities. She continues to earn more and more minutes as the games progress.
"She's very reliable. She's super coachable,” Osona said of Myer. “If you give her a job or a mission or a task, she's on it. She will try to tweak those parts of her game that need help. She's a beast on the boards and her skillsets just going to grow.”
The Whalers entered the final quarter leading by 10 points as the Storm began to slowly cut into what was a double-digit lead for a large portion of the game for Nantucket. But Lombardi had different ideas and took her game to another level to lead her team to their third consecutive win.
"The first half of the season was tough. A tough run of the schedule but it was intentional to get us ready for league play,” Osona said. “Another affirmation for them is showing up, working hard puts you in a position to get those wins. Sturgis played really tough (today), and they got a little close and that's good. It gives us a little adversity and a good opportunity to exercise a little composure. They did a good job with that and then kind of sealed it at the end. I'm really excited for them. We're going in the right direction and we've got five practices ahead of us before our next game to really iron some things out.”
The Whalers are now 4-6 this season and they will attempt to make it four consecutive wins on Tuesday, January 23rd when they travel to Falmouth Academy for a 3:30 p.m. game.
Four-Goal Third Period Lifts Boys Hockey To Seventh Straight Win
Another game, another multi-point performance for Nantucket boys hockey senior center and assistant captain Ryan Davis, who scored two goals and added two assists to help the Whalers beat the St. John Paul II Lions 6-1 Monday afternoon – improving their record to 7-1 this season.
“The win ended with a pretty margin, but it was not a pretty game,” head coach Jack Moran said. “We weren't exercising their abilities to the best of their ability. I am not trying to use this as a defense, but it has to be mentioned; The ice was absolutely horrendous. It was like an hibachi grill that someone was prepping a meal on.. just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop - it was terrible. They knew it as soon as they got on the ice and were catching blades. They had to be careful going into boards and stuff.
“We are lucky here (on Nantucket). This ice is pristine,” Moran added. “When people come here to play, this place looks like glass.”
Davis now has 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points in 8 games this season. He is on pace to finish the regular season with 48 points, which would give him 88 in his career heading into the state tournament. Moran was very complimentary of Davis’ play afterwards.
"He's just got it all. He's got a great shot. He knows where to put it. He knows how to read a goalie. That shot he made yesterday, it was incredible. We're all looking at each other like 'How did he do that?" It's like a Houdini act. It was good. I was happy for him.”
Senior defenseman and assistant captain Michael Culkins also had a three-point evening – adding one goal and two assists. Freshman winger Nico Tedeschi, sophomore winger Jeremy Jenkinson, and sophomore forward Ben Freeman had the Whaler’s other three goals.
Nantucket only led 2-1 after two periods, which was to the dismay of Moran who was hoping his team could build an early lead to allow him to get his bottom lines into the game for experience.
Moran went on to say he anticipates some line changes ahead of their next game to try to get some of their players going offensively as well as manage the loss of senior defenseman Hunter Strojny, who is not expected to be out long but is nursing an injury sustained in this game.
“Our zone entries were horrific,” Moran said. “I don’t recall them ever being like that because we are usually really crisp, clean, and fast. I don’t even have an explanation for it. It was weird, but it is in the book. I am happy we walked away with the win with the margin (of victory) we needed to get.”
The Whalers are currently the #2 seeded team in the MIAA's latest power rankings. They will be back in action on Wednesday, January 17th when they travel to Monomoy to play the Sharks at 4 p.m.
Girls Hockey Still Searching For First Win Following Loss To King Philip
Senior captains Claire Misurelli and Emerson Pekarcik each scored for Nantucket on Monday, but the girls hockey team ultimately lost on the road to King Philip 12-2 – dropping the Whaler’s record to 0-6 on the year.
Head coach Andrew McNeilly said that he felt the score was not indicative of how his team performed. After a six goal first period for King Philip, McNeilly felt like his team settled into the game and had a strong final two periods.
“The score really didn't reflect the way we played and I know I keep saying that, but they played really well,” McNeilly said of his team. “I mean the first period we gave up those six goals, but in the second and third period they were great. They did a lot of good things in the second and third period. Overall as a coach sure, you're disappointed your team lost. But there were victories across the board for us.”
McNeilly continues to be impressed with Misurelli and Pekarcik. He said their leadership will have an impact on this program for years to come long after they graduate and move onto the next phase of their lives.
Ruby Muise was in net and the freshman was forced to make several saves in the game's opening minutes before King Philip finally netted their first goal.
"Ruby's making great saves. I want to say she faced five quick shots right off the get-go and she saved all five. She faced another quick 10 and then one pops in, but you can't save 30 shots in a row,” McNeilly said. “She's getting a lot of repetition. She's getting a lot of shots, and she's saving a lot of shots. She's a freshman, second year of playing goalie really. She is very responsive and acceptive to criticism and feedback. She is going to be a great goalie. We have a very promising future with her in net.”
McNeilly said he believes eighth grader Sara O’Banion has been playing well on defense after spending a few games up front as a forward. She had several blocked shots on Monday and tallied an assist. Another eighth grader, Bea Holland, was moved up to forward later in the game and almost had an assist on a second Misurelli goal in the final second of the game that was waived off.
McNeilly said he expects to keep Holland up on the Misurelli and Pekarcik line in the Whalers next game, which is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17th on the road against the Barnstable Red Hawks at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, January 17th:
The girls hockey team will be on the road facing the Barnstable Red Hawks at 4 p.m.
The boys hockey team will be on the road facing the Monomoy Sharks at 4 p.m.
Thursday, January 18th:
The boys basketball team will be at home facing the Nauset Warriors at 5 p.m.