NORTH EASTHAM ─ Friday night was a tough one for the Monomoy boys basketball team, which fell to rival Nauset in an 80-41 non-league game on the road.
Chris Mazulis was the Sharks' high scorer in the outing, contributing 14 points overall between free throws and successful shots on net, but even with his double-digit input and Jake Wisniewski's game-high 13 rebounds, Monomoy found itself overrun by the determined Warriors.
“They were highly motivated because they had come off a series of losses and still needed a victory to qualify for the tournament,” said Monomoy head coach Keith Arnold. “I think that's why they came out so active and so intense so early.”
Indeed, though the Sharks made a valiant attempt and kept fighting throughout the match, Nauset simply dominated.
“Their speed and quickness is obviously something we weren't used to and you can't simulate that in practice,” said Arnold.
The Warriors burst on the court ready to do battle from the get-go, netting 27 points in the opening frame to Monomoy's six, the majority of which came from well-aimed free throws by Mazulis. The second quarter saw more evenly matched play, with Nauset adding another 20 to its tally, while Monomoy scored 13 to make it 47-19 at the break.
Nauset's ability to sink three-pointers proved a serious thorn in Monomoy's side, especially since the Warriors had 11 total, including six from lead scorer Charlie Campbell and three from former Monomoy player Bobby Joy, who scored 15 points overall for the Warriors, while Campbell had 25.
With Nauset holding a commanding lead, Arnold opted to give his bench some playing time in the game's second half, while Nauset head coach John McCarthy continued rotating his top players with his own bench as the Warriors' score climbed.
In spite of the score, Arnold appreciated his team's willingness to keep at it until the final buzzer.
“They never quit in anything they've done this year,” he said. “They didn't back down. They played right to the end. When you've got a group like that to coach, it's rewarding.”
Arnold acknowledged the unique rivalry between the schools and was pleased to see players from both teams chatting amiably after the game.
“Because it's Nauset and the tradition of the old Harwich-Nauset rivalries, there is close competition,” he said. “You've got kids from the Monomoy region playing for Nauset, and that creates an internal type of competition. The competition on the court is healthy competition, and then when the game ends you see that. You have to get away from the wins and losses.”
Arnold praised the efforts of his team overall, and also gave nods to Mazulis, Eli Nickerson, Wisniewski, and Nick Meehan.
“Chris Mazulis really played well under that pressure, that speed and quickness. He stayed composed,” Arnold said. “Eli and Jake just put out non-stop aggressiveness and their will to win has been impressive all year. Nick is our so-called point guard, but he's not a point guard. He'd usually be a wing, so for him to do what he's been doing, we've actually sacrificed some of his game because we need him in the back court.”
Next up for the boys is a chance to clinch the Cape and Islands League title outright with a win against Cape Tech in their game at CCT today (Feb. 16) at 5:30 p.m. On Feb. 20 the Sharks travel to Bourne before finishing up their regular season on the 21st with a home against against Nauset that starts at 6:30 p.m.