Shark Boys Redirect Navigators In 66-36 Victory

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: Basketball

Max Liska (5 white) keeps the ball away from West's Curtis Merritt (5 green) as teammates Isaiah Stafford, Kyle Charlot, Connor Santoni, and Nick Meehan keep an eye on the action.  KAT SZMIT

HARWICH Getting a win in boys basketball is always a good thing, but when it's a whole-team victory it's even sweeter. Such was the case on Monday night when the Monomoy boys triumphed over Sturgis West in a 66-36 Cape and Islands League outing.

Playing their third game in four days, and without starter Eli Nickerson who was sidelined by illness, the Sharks made it clear early on in the game they were the dominating force, taking a 17-11 edge after the first quarter on shots from Isaiah Stafford, Nick Meehan, and Chris Hall.
The second quarter, however, clinched the game for the home team when Monomoy, again on the strength of Stafford and Meehan, pulled mightily ahead, netting 21 points to West's four for a halftime lead of 38-15.

The commanding lead allowed head coach Keith Arnold to get every player into the game as the Sharks continued to shine, netting another 15 points in the frame even as West worked to rally back with 11 points of their own. Finding the hoop were Hall, Stafford, and Tommy Graham.

The final quarter saw Max Liska sink a flawless three-pointer, while Nathan Amaker had two nice layups, and Jamie Routhier and Christian Blakely each contributed to the score as well, resulting in 13 points in the frame to West's 10.

Arnold said that Nickerson's absence gave him pause prior to the game, but added that he was pleased with his team's response.

“As a coach you're concerned about, 'What do we do about Eli, and, more importantly, what is the mindset of the team knowing that we've got a starter out?'” Arnold said. “They reacted well. It gave us a great opportunity to look at more kids during the second half.”

He gave shoutouts to Hall and Blakely for their efforts, noting Blakely's work ethic.

“Chris has come a long way since last season,” Arnold said. “And Christian tonight showed some stability and worked. Once we can get him to work hard without getting in foul trouble and also making baskets, he's going to help us tremendously.”

When the stats were tallied, Stafford led the Sharks with 19 overall points, including a pair of three-pointers, with Meehan netting 12 points. Hall and Amaker each had six, with Routhier adding five, and Kyle Charlot, Liska, and Blakely had four apiece. Connor Santoni added two in the second, as did Jake Wisniewski, with Graham adding two in the third. Also instrumental in the game was Logan Routhier, who ensured the ball was in scoring position throughout the second half.

Two days prior the Sharks weathered a tough loss to Nantucket, playing through a solid first half in which they only trailed by four points at the half, but the second half saw the Sharks energy draining as they worked to keep pace with the speedy host team.

“They started off well, 20-16 at halftime,” said Arnold. “Then, in the second half, more than anything else it was their quickness. We scouted them three times. We know they're quick. You can talk about them being quick, but you can't simulate that in practice.”

Arnold said his team's efforts were commendable, but limited depth worked against the Sharks.

“Last year we were able to rotate four perimeter people – Chris (Mazulis), Eli, Nick, and Isaiah,” Arnold said. “We don't have that yet this year, so in that particular game, with their quickness, they just work you to death. When I called a timeout at the end of the third quarter, I knelt down and was looking at three, if not four exhausted kids.”

Meehan led with 13 points, with Stafford adding 10, and Nickerson nine.

Next up for the Sharks is a trip to Rising Tide today (Jan. 25) at 4:30 p.m., with their next home game set for Jan. 30 against Cape Tech with a start time of 5:30 p.m.