HARWICH ─ Each member of the Monomoy boys basketball team set foot on the court Feb. 8 when the Sharks defeated Sturgis East 64-36 at home.
While the victory was certainly a whole-team win for Monomoy, which currently sits at second place in the Cape and Islands League, two players put forth stellar performances for the Sharks. Isaiah Stafford had a game-high 22 points for his team, followed by Nick Meehan with 14. But it was the efforts of the bench that impressed head coach Keith Arnold.
“Not only did they contribute, but they contributed across the board very well,” said Arnold, giving shoutouts to Logan Routhier, Nathan Amaker, and Max Liska, among others. “The efficiency of everybody on the court, with whomever they were playing, there was a flow to it, offensively and defensively. That's what I'm really happy about.”
Enjoying a noteworthy performance in Arnold's eyes was stalwart competitor Tommy Graham, who stepped in for the majority of the second half, netting six points for the Sharks.
“Every time Tommy comes off the bench, no matter where he is in the game, he scores,” said Arnold. “It's uncanny.”
Graham has consistently impressed his coach with his tireless work ethic and support for his team.
“He'll even ask questions at halftime as we're going over stuff,” Arnold said.
Monomoy cruised to an early lead in the contest, with Stafford netting 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter, leading the Sharks to a 20-9 edge at the end of the frame.
The aforementioned flow was apparent in the second quarter as Monomoy added another 21 points to their tally even as the Storm stepped up its defense. This time it was Meehan adding to the score, with the senior netting 10 points before the halftime buzzer sounded, the scoreboard showing a Monomoy lead of 41-19.
With his Sharks holding a comfortable lead, Arnold seized the opportunity to rotate in every player, pleased to see them rising to the occasion and scoring 15 points in the third quarter to East's eight, and another eight in the final frame, the only quarter in which the Storm outscored the Sharks with nine points.
Contributing to the Monomoy tally was Jamie Routhier with six, Eli Nickerson, Chris Hall, and Logan Routhier with four each, and Kyle Charlot and Max Liska with two each. Christian Blakeley, Jake Wisniewski and Connor Santoni were also key offensively and defensively, contributing to the team's five turnovers and 16 assists.
Arnold said his team's dedication was evident during the week when schedule challenges necessitated an early morning practice.
“Because of the games last night we were going to have to come back for practice at 7:30 p.m.,” Arnold said, adding that he opted instead for a before-school practice. “Yesterday morning we had a 6:45 practice. I deliberated because I figured kids would be late. Some of them asked, 'could we do that again?'”
While such practices will only happen in the future if necessary, Arnold was pleasantly surprised with the willingness of his players to come in. That dedication, Arnold said, will prove a potent element in the team's preparation for the post-season.
“When we come to practice, we're not just preparing for our next opponent,” Arnold said. “We're working to get better between now and the tournament. We want to be at our best then.”
The win against East puts Monomoy at 11-6 overall and 11-2 in the Cape and Islands League, just behind Nantucket, whom the Sharks were set to host at press time Feb. 13. Next up for the Sharks is a trip to Cape Cod Academy today (Feb. 15) for a 5:30 p.m. game, before the team returns home on Feb. 16 for a Senior Night battle against Cape Cod Tech beginning at 5:30 p.m.