No. 15 Monomoy Boys Earn Home Playoff Game Friday Night

by Brad Joyal

HARWICH – The Monomoy boys basketball team will begin its Division 4 state tournament run on its home court.

The Sharks have been awarded an opening-round home game after earning the No. 15 seed following a 14-6 record. They will host the winner of a preliminary-round game at 6 p.m. Friday between No. 18 Cathedral and No. 47 Mystic Valley Regional, which was played Tuesday after The Chronicle’s deadline.

“We’ve been talking about it all year long,” Monomoy’s first-year coach John McCarthy said. “One of our major goals was getting a home game. After losing a tough one to Nauset in the Winterfest Tournament, we were a little nervous that it might not be a first-round home game and it might be a play-in game. But once we found out, the spirits around the team right now are incredible.”

McCarthy said he’s already watched a handful of Cathedral games and added that he’ll be able to watch the team from Boston’s game against Mystic Valley via livestream on Tuesday night.

“They are a good team,” he said of Cathedral. “They played a tough schedule and they play full-court defense, so we have to be ready to control the tempo.”

The winner of Friday’s contest will advance to the Round of 16 and likely face No. 2 Bourne, which will host the Littleton-Roxbury Prep winner in the opening round. Monomoy suffered a 74-53 loss to Bourne (19-1) when the two Cape squads played Feb. 18 at Bourne.

Although the first meeting didn’t go the Sharks’ way, McCarthy said he believes Monomoy would be better prepared if a rematch did come to fruition.

“We didn’t shoot that well against them and we still kept it relatively close for a team that’s really been blowing teams out,” McCarthy said. “If we had a second chance against them within a couple of weeks, I think for a younger team like we are, getting that experience of already playing them there would help.”

Before Monomoy can look ahead to Bourne, however, it needs to think about Friday’s opening-round tilt. While the Sharks will have the advantage of watching their opponent’s game on Tuesday night, they will also head into the postseason following a long layoff between action.

The team ended its regular season Feb. 19 with a 73-69 loss to Nauset and will have had an 11-day layoff before opening the state tournament. Even though the layoff will be Monomoy’s longest of the season, McCarthy isn’t too concerned about his players being rusty on Friday.

“It’s a long layoff, but we’re going to be very healthy and rested and ready to go,” he said. “I’m not as worried because they played so many minutes and I think after playing Bourne and Nauset back-to-back in the Winterfest Tournament, we really felt the wear and tear. I don’t think [the rest] could’ve come at a better time.”

Regardless of the challenges that the Sharks will face during the postseason, McCarthy is excited the team gets to experience the state tournament on its home court in Harwich.

“It should be an amazing atmosphere,” he said. “These guys have earned this right to have a great crowd. It should be one of the only games on the Cape on Friday night, at least for boys games, so we’re excited and looking forward to it.”