Every Whaler sports teams was in action over the weekend. The girls swim team secured a first place finish in the 5th annual Cape & Islands Championship meet while the boys swim team placed third, the boys hockey team won their 11th straight game, the girls basketball team won their fifth straight game, the boys basketball team was on the road for back-to-back games, and the girls hockey team was on the road as well.
Girls, Boys Swim Compete In C&I Championship
Whaler swim head coach Dylan Jones was optimistic about his team’s chances of performing well in Saturday’s Cape & Islands Championship meet in the week leading up to the meet’s 5th annual occurrence, and his optimism was validated following the girls first place finish and the boys third place finish.
“It was a phenomenal, phenomenal meet,” Jones said. “There were just so many season best times. The first three events everyone came out and had best times to start the meet off. We finished way ahead of where we were projected to be by looking at the psych sheet. It was awesome and a total team effort.”
The girls kicked their meet off with an impressive first place performance in the 200-yard medley relay featuring Sara Dussault, Hannah Gerardi, Martina Savova, and Myah Johnson. The girls swam a 1:57.21, which is a state qualifying time.
Jones said he was impressed with Gerardi, who also won the 200-yard individual medley with a state time of 2:21.23 and the 100-yard breaststroke with a state time of 1:11.88 (Dussault finished right behind Gerardi with a state time of her own of 1:13.52).
Jones said Evie Phelps and Eli MacIver also impressed. Both swimmers have achieved sectional and state qualifying times this season but have also been extremely valuable to their teams because of the versatility they bring being able to swim in a wide array of events.
Phelps won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:03.64 (state time) and the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:31.14 (state time). She was also part of the girl's heat that placed first in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:49.50 (state time).
MacIver placed first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:13.67 (sectional time) and first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.40 (state time).
Another important event was the boys 200-yard freestyle relay, which consisted of MacIver, Pavlin Aleksiev, D’Marco Lewis, and Jake Johnson. They placed second in the relay but earned a sectional qualifying time of 1:40.50, which was just .43 behind the first-place finishing team from Martha’s Vineyard.
The final team results are below:
1) Nantucket – 351 points
2) Nauset – 324 points
3) Barnstable – 202 points
4) Martha’s Vineyard – 175 points
5) St. John Paul II – 170 points
1) Martha’s Vineyard – 326 points
2) Nauset – 307 points
3) Nantucket – 164 points
4) Barnstable – 147 points
5) St. John Paul II – 89 points
"Coming in third with just five swimmers I think speaks a lot to how strong our five swimmers are," Jones said of the boys. "Robert Graves dropped an insane amount in his 200 free, like 5 seconds, and his 500 free was something like more than 20 seconds. Just crazy, crazy swims.”
The girls haven’t lost a regular season meet all year. The boys currently have a 4-3 record. There is one last meet on the schedule before sectionals and states, which take place in February. Nantucket will host St. John Paul II in a make-up meet on Friday, February 2 at 5 p.m.
“So we will have that meet with St. John Paul and then all eyes are on sectionals,” Jones said. “Really these next couple weeks it is sort of us coaches getting back to kicking their butts in practice and grinding it out before resting for sectionals and states. Then we will see what we can do there.”
Boys Hockey Blows Out Old Rochester 8-2
For the 11th straight game, the Whaler boys hockey team left a hockey rink victorious. Nantucket, ranked #2 in the MIAA’s latest Div. 4 state tournament bracket, hosted the Old Rochester Regional High School Bulldogs on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are ranked #12 in the same bracket and could be a potential tournament opponent down the line. With that in mind, Nantucket skated away with a convincing 8-2 victory behind a four-goal performance from senior center Colby O’Keefe.
"He had a good game. He was on fire,” Moran said of O’Keefe. “All of a sudden, he came on and it's just like 'Bang, Bang, Bang.' he really did well. The whole team overall played well. They had a really good performance today.”
The Whalers came out of a hard fought first period leading 2-0. Senior winger Braden Knapp got the scoring going quickly - just 2:19 into the first period - but nothing came easy in the game's first 15 minutes.
Later in the period with about 5:30 remaining, the Whalers were called for a questionable and quite frankly soft five-minute major boarding penalty that forced Nantucket to kill a five-minute power play.
But the puck doesn’t lie and rather than the blown call allowing ORR to tie the game 1-1, the Whalers were able to extend their lead to 2-0 towards the end of the ORR power play. With 21 seconds left in the first period, Jeremy Jenkinson grabbed a loose puck following an egregious turnover by the Bulldogs in their own zone and buried it to make it a 2-0 game.
From there, the Whalers dominated in every area of the game. They scored five goals in the second period and one midway through the third. ORR got a couple of goals when the game was in Nantucket's firm control and never posed much of a threat after the first period. Senior captain Griffin Starr and sophomore goalie CJ Clarke were sharp in net.
“We weren't quite sure what we were going to be getting into with Old Rochester because I mean they're number 12, which is respectable and they've played some decent teams and they've had some good showings,” Moran said. “We thought they would be a very physical team, which they have been in the past. Last year when we played them it was a very tight game and we figured it was going to be the same but boy, these kids (his team) are just incredible the way they play. Every game is just eye opening to me. What they can do is just incredible. Great win.”
Knapp finished with four points (two goals and two assists). Senior center Ryan Davis finished with three points (one goal and two assists). Jeremy Jenkinson finished with one goal and one assist. Freshman winger Nico Tedeschi finished with two assists.
Nantucket, now 11-1 this season, was scheduled to travel to Sandwich for a big Div. 4 matchup on Monday however the game was postponed due to weather. The next game on the schedule is currently Wednesday, January 31st for a rematch with Old Rochester – this time on the road at 3 p.m.
Girls Hoops Wins Fifth Straight Game
The girls basketball team remains red hot after beating Sturgis West 42-14 and allowing just four points in the entire second half. The win improved the Whaler's record to 6-6 this season.
The Whalers led 17-4 after one quarter but struggled in the second quarter offensively and only scored two points. They entered halftime leading 19-10.
Whaler head coach Rafael Osona said he felt like his team’s ability to execute their different presses ultimately led to the turnaround after a sluggish second.
"I think that all these tough moments whether they're losses or tough stretches are always best for teaching us what we need to improve on,” Osona said. “We just switched our press from the first quarter to the second quarter. I think we had a tough time transitioning from one to another. So now there's our teaching point of transitioning from one man-based press with man defense to a zone press and can we do that back and forth quickly.”
The Whalers came out humming in the third quarter and scored 15 points while allowing zero to the Navigators to all but seal the deal. Sturgis West didn't score a basket in the second half until midway through the fourth quarter, which allowed the Whalers to bring in their reserves and get some minutes for all of their players as they closed the win out.
While Nantucket remains outside the MIAA’s latest Div. 4 bracket at #60, they would currently qualify for a play-in game if their record remains .500 or better. Their next game is scheduled for Monday, January 29th at home against Rising Tide at 5 p.m.
Boys Hoops Lose Pair On The Road
The Whaler boys basketball team lost a pair of road games this weekend to two quality opponents they could possibly see again in the MIAA state tournament later in the season.
The first game was against South Hadley, the #19 team in Div. 4, on Friday. The Whalers, ranked #8, lost 80-63.
Nantucket was led by senior center and captain Jack Halik, who had 15 points. Junior guard Donte Brimm continues to play solid basketball and finished with 13 points. Senior guard Dwayne Martin and captain Jayquan Francis each had 10 points.
The second game was against Millbury, the #5 team in Div. 4, and Nantucket played them tight until the end.
While the Whalers lost 65-53, the game was tied 51-51 with under 4 minutes to go. That was when Millbury took over – drilling four straight three’s and then added a two-pointer to take a 65-51 lead with 1:40 remaining.
The Whalers were led by junior guard Jake Haigh in this one, who led the team with 15 points on five three-point shots.
The Whalers are now 9-6 this season and one win away from officially clinching a spot in the state tournament. Their next game is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30th at 5 p.m. against the Monomoy Sharks at Nantucket High School.
This matchup should be another tough test as Monomoy is 10-3 this season and currently the #16 seed in the Div. 4 bracket.
Girls Hockey Loses To Nauset
The girls hockey team remains winless this season and lost to Nauset 14-0 on Saturday. They are now 0-9 this season and their next game is scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd on the road against Martha’s Vineyard at 1 p.m.
Monday, January 29th:
Girls basketball is hosting Mashpee at 5 p.m. (likely to be canceled due to weather).
Tuesday, January 30th:
Boys basketball will host Monomoy at 5 p.m.
Girls basketball will travel for a game against Rising Tide at 3:45 p.m.