OSTERVILLE/HARWICH ─ The Monomoy girls basketball team tucked two league wins under its cap in the past week, defeating Sturgis East in a commanding 58-32 victory before defeating Cape Cod Tech 47-25 on the road last Thursday.
“Getting two wins in a row, considering all our injuries and illnesses, is very welcome,” said head coach Pete Richer.
The Sharks got off to a slow start against the Seahawks, taking just a 9-12 lead after the first quarter on a handful of shots from Kira Foster, Lexi Roma, Kelsey Olson, Maddie Leonard, and Courtney Leonard.
As the game progressed, however, the team found its footing, rallying to a solid 23-12 lead in the second, before taking a 25-14 edge at the half.
“Our defensive intensity was not quite where it needed to be in the first half, and I challenged the girls at halftime to pick up that intensity,” said Richer. “They certainly did do that in the second half, limiting them to just 11 points compared to 14 in the first half.”
Although those 11 points included a dreaded three-pointer, Monomoy's squad proved its might, battling toward a 38-18 lead toward the end of three en route to a strong finish, with Lexi Roma and Nataia Nelson leading with 11 overall points each, with Roma adding two steals, seven rebounds and four assists, while Nelson had six rebounds. Courtney Leonard followed with six points, Kelsey Olson five – including a three-pointer of her own – Taylor Morris and Kira Foster four, and Leah Nash two.
“That’s what we’re going to need to do to get way above the .500 level, where we need to be for tournament level,” said Richer, who added that his team has been plagued since day one with injuries and illnesses. “I think we’ve only had a full team one game this year, and have often been down two starters. So considering that, overall I’m happy, but we need to get everybody back and start getting everyone gelling so we can make the tournament. We’d really like to get our record well over .500, which would give us better seeding in the tourney and possibly a home game.”
The team's Jan. 3 win against Sturgis East certainly helped. This time Roma led the way solo, recording 13 points for the Sharks, including a stellar tri along with six assists. Meanwhile, Maddie and Courtney Leonard each added 10 points to the score for Monomoy, with Nelson adding nine and 13 rebounds and Foster adding four points, five rebounds and four assists.
Richer gave kudos to the younger members of his team, including Olson, a ninth grader, Nash, and Maggie Dever.
“I have to give them credit. They’re really starting to come into their own,” he said. “All three of them scored in that game, they all came in and played quality minutes. They’ve definitely improved quite a bit since the beginning of the season. I can trust putting them on the court now without hesitation. Every opportunity I get to get them some quality playing time is valuable. That may be tough to come by in several of our future games because of the level of competition.”
The wins put Monomoy in the black with a record of 5-4 overall, which has Richer cautiously optimistic about the post-season.
“I would like to think that we’re going to make the tournament, but I’m never one to count my chickens before they hatch,” he said. “I think we have a decent shot at this point in time.”
That said, the Sharks have a tough schedule ahead that includes two games against Falmouth, one against the currently undefeated Falmouth Academy team, and games against East Bridgewater, Sandwich, and Nauset.
“We have our work cut out for us,” Richer said. But if his team can return to full strength, they will fare well.
“I am confident that if we can get back to complete health that we will do well, but I don’t like to be cocky and assume,” he said. “We need to prove it on the court.”