HARWICH – It's been quite a run for the Monomoy boys basketball team, which battled through not one but two overtime periods to earn an electrifying victory over Bourne in the MIAA South Div. 3 first round before the season came to a sad end with a tough loss to Norwell in the quarterfinals.
Monomoy head coach Keith Arnold said it best following his team's rip-roaring contest against Bourne on Feb. 28, won by the Sharks in double overtime.
“Wow! What a game!” Arnold said. “What a game for the kids, what a game for Monomoy, and what a game for Bourne.”
Arnold said the double OT 64-59 victory felt more like a triple OT when it was over.
The Sharks took an early lead in the outing and managed to hold onto it for the better part of the first half, outscoring the Canalmen 12-7 after the first quarter and taking a 27-13 lead into the break, largely on shots from junior Jamie Routhier, who came away with a game-high 24 points.
But during the second half, the visiting Bourne team put the pressure on, chipping away at Monomoy's lead until the final buzzer sounded with the score knotted at 48-all.
Bourne took a slight 55-51 lead in the first overtime, but missed a much-needed free throw, putting the ball back in Shark possession. As fans cheered wildly from the sidelines, Jason Ready sunk a layup on an assist from Elijah Beasley, with Beasley again snagging a steal, which he sent over to Routhier for the tying shot, sending the game into a second overtime with the score at 55-55.
Isaiah Stafford kicked off the sixth frame of the game with a layup to put the Sharks ahead, but Bourne was quick to respond, keeping the game tied, albeit briefly, for Aidan Melton to sink a successful shot on a feed from Beasley and then score again minutes later to give Monomoy the edge.
From there Chris Hall snagged a steal for the home team, much to the delight of fans, just before Stafford dropped two free throws through the net, putting the Sharks a little further ahead. Two free throws weren't enough for the Canalmen to come back again, with the visitors watching as the clock drained during Monomoy's final possession, with a final score of 61-57.
“We came out of the chute early and made a statement and held that for a while,” Arnold said. “Then, as the pressure got ramped up on both sides, sometimes we get caught up in the tempo and take ill-advised shots.”
While Arnold would have liked his team to contest more perimeter shots, he felt their defense was solid for much of the game. He was especially pleased with his team's tenacity.
“For them to come back? They just stay with it. They really don't get rattled,” Arnold said. “They work so hard, it's a matter of trying to maintain some posture and composure while they're in the midst of this chaos.”
This time Arnold had shoutouts for everyone on the court.
“Everybody,” he said. “Jamie is kind of the glue guy, Isaiah was exhausted, and then you've got the kids coming off the bench. Beasley did his yeoman's work. Aidan was a force again, especially on the boards, Jason was a quiet force, and Bradley has been working his way through. Everybody contributed, at certain times they did something that had an effect on the results.”
Along with Routhier's 24, Stafford had 17 points, Melton eight, Ready six, Hall four, Beasley three, and Bradley Alexis two.
Sadly, things didn't go as well for the Sharks when they faced Norwell two days later in the quarterfinals. After taking a slight 9-6 lead in the opening quarter, the Clippers roared back in the second, outscoring Monomoy 18-4, leaving the Sharks little chance to battle back, though the home team gave it a valiant effort.
“Game-wise we came out hard, we came out motivated,” said Arnold. “We did some nice things, and we just played a very nice team. [Norwell's] got all the ingredients. They've got depth, they've got zone defense, and they can shoot the ball. Knowing that we played a good team, knowing the way the tempo went, are they disappointed? Sure. But they know they got beat by a better team.”
What enriched the event was the impressive turnout by the Monomoy fans, which created a veritable sea of black in support of their team. Arnold said he'd never seen a student section so massive and so supportive.
Just before the final buzzer sounded the fans chanted a heartfelt, “We still love you!”
Emotions ran particularly high near game's end when seniors Chris Hall and Isaiah Stafford stepped out of the game, giving the bench an opportunity to get in some playing time. Arnold said he was touched by the reactions of the underclassmen regarding the seniors' final game.
Arnold said what made this year's team special is that the end-of-season emotions weren't so much about losing as they were about their season coming to an end, and about bidding farewell to the seniors.
“I really haven't seen that before. Usually it's in the locker room or behind closed doors,” Arnold said. “They didn't want it to end. I told [the seniors] 'look at the three-year run you two have been part of. This is year three and you've been part of it the whole time. Not just the wins and losses, but the whole experience.' We wish them well.”