Nauset Boys Basketball Snaps Skid, Upends Rival Dennis-Yarmouth

by Brad Joyal
Nauset senior Liam Johnston fires a 3-pointer against Monomoy in a Dec. 19 victory in Harwich. BRAD JOYAL PHOTOS
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ORLEANS – The Warriors got back to their winning ways.

After suffering five straight losses, the Nauset boys basketball team returned to form Friday night with a 63-61 victory over rival Dennis-Yarmouth at Nauset Regional Middle School.

“It was great to get a win,” Nauset coach Kevin Harrigan said. “We’ve definitely had a tough schedule and, save the first four minutes against Nantucket (on Jan. 18), we haven’t played poorly going on a month.

“We’ve been big on not worrying about the results and being more interested in the quality of play, what we’re doing in practice and what we’re seeing as far as improvement. We had a really good rebounding game for the first time in a while — that’s something we’ve been working on in practice.”

Junior forward Austin Remmey led the rebounding efforts on the glass with a team-high nine rebounds, while his classmate Joey Berardi anchored the scoring efforts with a career-high 30 points.

“He played really, really well,” Harrigan said of Berardi. “He scored 24 against Stoughton and then 20 against Wareham in our last game. He’s been really big for us.”

Senior Liam Johnston finished with 13 points, six of which came during a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter when he hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the span of seconds. Fellow senior Ethan Beer and Remmey each chipped in six points apiece.

Harrigan said Beer has been the team’s most consistent player this season after considering sitting out his final season with the Warriors.

“He wasn’t sure he was going to play this year because it was his senior year and he has a lot going on, but he decided to come out and has started for us and has been our most consistent player,” the coach said. “He’s been such a great finisher around the hoop and has put out such a positive output for us.”

The victory helped the Warriors improve to 4-8, although there is still work to be done in order to qualify for the Division 2 state tournament. The team has six games remaining before it closes out the regular season in the Winterfest Tournament at Bourne.

Harrigan believes the team needs to win five of its next six to enter Winterfest with a 9-9 record in order to put itself in the best position to qualify for the state tournament.

“The guys are up for the challenge,” Harrigan said. “We feel like we’re playing our best basketball. We made a late run last year and we’re hoping to copy that success. If we’re unable to, I know it won’t be for a lack of trying.”

With remaining games against Falmouth, Barnstable, Nantucket and a rematch with Dennis-Yarmouth, Nauset will see plenty of familiar foes during its critical final stretch. That’s perfectly fine with the Warriors, as Harrigan said the team relishes the opportunity to play big games against Cape and Islands League rivals.

“The league is so funny because every game feels like a war,” he said. “It’s so close and it’s so fun to be a part of. What’s always fun about the kids is they play very hard against each other and they are really competitive, but they all respect each other and have a good bond.”