NORTH EASTHAM ─ Injuries and three-pointers proved potent for the Monomoy girls basketball team on Friday night as the Sharks fell 56-24 in a girls-boys doubleheader.
Noticeably absent from game play for the Sharks was Geia Alverio, who was sidelined with a season-ending injury in the team's recent game against Falmouth. Her absence, combined with a powerful Nauset squad, was more than Monomoy was ready for in the outing.
“Overall we let their pressure get to us,” said Monomoy head coach Pete Richer. “They played very, very strong man-to-man and pressing, and unfortunately without Geia we struggled handling it.”
The Sharks opened strong, even taking a brief 5-point lead in the first quarter before the Warriors tied things up at 7-7 before the buzzer. Unfortunately for Monomoy, Nauset went on a scoring run in the second that made it difficult for the Sharks to regroup, netting 23 points in the frame to Monomoy's four to take a 30-11 halftime lead.
“The first quarter we did a good job and limited them to only seven points,” said Richer. “We came out in a 2-3 defense because we were trying to defend against Skyeler Sandison, and it worked. But then second quarter they hit four threes and scored 23 points in that quarter, and that's tough.”
Nauset continued its domination in the third quarter, outscoring Monomoy 16-3 before both team posted 10-point final quarters. By then, however, the damage had been done and the Warriors prevailed.
With one more game scheduled before the postseason (against Falmouth on Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.) Richer is hoping that his team's remaining seniors will rise to the challenge of taking charge in Alverio's absence.
“It's very difficult without your point guard, but with the senior leadership we've got, five other seniors, we need to do a better job handling that pressure if we hope to do anything in the tournament,” he said, adding that losing Alverio was a real hit to his team. “It's like the Patriots losing Tom Brady. She handles the ball 95 percent of the time. The opposing teams focus so much on her that it helps open things up for the other players. Without her they don't have just one person to shut down. It makes it easier on the opposing defense.”
Richer praised the efforts of Christine Friedel, who had eight points and seven rebounds against Nauset, and Nataia Nelson, who had six points and six rebounds.
Richer said that as the team preps for the postseason, he'll be shifting his focus in practices to the team's offensive play, while boosting their confidence.
“We'll try to change up the offense a little bit, and build the girls' confidence,” he said. “Get them to know that we as a coaching staff have trust in them as good ballplayers, and get them to understand that they can still succeed without [Geia].”
Richer noted that the team fared well without her last season when she was recuperating from a similar injury, and hopes her presence on the sidelines will bolster them.
“I'm confident that the girls will respond,” he said. “Last year we played without her for six games and did well, and I expect we will do the same this year.”