Monomoy Boys Basketball Closing In On State Tournament Berth

by Brad Joyal
Monomoy junior Tamarr Washington goes in for a layup against Nauset on Dec. 19. BRAD JOYAL PHOTOS
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The Monomoy boys basketball team is on the verge of something special.

After missing out on the postseason the past two years following back-to-back 6-14 records, the Sharks (8-2) are just two victories away from earning the program’s first trip to the state tournament since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will be the first time making the tournament in some years, hopefully, if we get two more wins,” Monomoy’s first-year coach John McCarthy said. “We’re two wins away and we’re hoping we’ll be able to get there this week and for the first time in a while have it be done already.

“As you can imagine, the kids are pretty fired up.”

The Sharks entered Tuesday’s matchup against Cape Cod Tech with a three-game win streak intact after an 89-42 loss to defending Division 4 state champion Wareham on Jan. 5. Aside from the Wareham loss, the team’s only other hiccup came in a 37-34 loss to Nauset on Dec. 19 in Harwich.

McCarthy said he’s been happiest about the team’s chemistry and buy-in to start the season.

“I knew coming in as a new coach that the most important thing is to try to get off to a good start,” he said. “If we could do some good things and they could give some amazing energy and have some early success, I think the belief in the buy-in to a new coach only becomes that much more. I think focus and attention and all of the details for our planning and preparation [are] at a really high level.”

McCarthy credits two home victories — a 59-55 victory over Barnstable on Jan. 2 and a 59-58 win over Dennis-Yarmouth on Jan. 9 — as two benchmarks in the team’s success thus far.

“To play two teams that normally feel pretty comfortable facing Monomoy and to beat them in back-to-back weeks, those games stand out the most in terms of our mental toughness and as a barometer for how this team was fitting together,” McCarthy said.

Among the biggest stars in the Barnstable win was junior Jackson Rocco, who led the team with a career-high 40 points that included just two 3-pointers.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with his competitiveness and his focus to continuously get better,” McCarthy said about Rocco.

The coach also praised two other juniors, Finn Hyora and new transfer student Tamarr Washington, for helping to foster the team’s identity at both ends of the court.

“Finn is someone who has been covering one of the toughest matchups on the opposing team every single night, and most of those guys are bigger than him and he’s playing so tough,” McCarthy said. “On the offensive end, we run a lot of our offense through him and he’s so smart with his decision-making.

“Tamarr isn’t always our leading scorer, but he’s always covering the ball and playing full-court man and bringing the ball up and getting us into our offense. Even if he isn’t scoring a lot, he’s always affecting the game in so many different ways.”

As the team looks to secure a postseason berth in the Division 4 state tournament, McCarthy said he’s also hopeful that the Sharks will be able to improve their seeding and rise in the MIAA Power Rankings as they bolster their strength of schedule in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been hovering somewhere around 13-17,” McCarthy said about the rankings. “I think we’re pretty much where I expected us to be with this record. But at the same time, with the schedule we have coming up, I suspect our rankings could rise pretty quickly because we’re about to arrive at the meat of the schedule again.”