HARWICH – It's rare in high school sports to have every available team member see playing time in a game, and rarer still to have each player score, but that's exactly what happened in the Monomoy girls varsity basketball team's 57-23 victory against Rising Tide on Dec. 18.
The 2019-2020 Shark squad is a decidedly young team, boasting no seniors and only two juniors, with eighth graders, freshmen and sophomores rounding out the majority of the roster, which meant that last Wednesday's game was not only an opportunity for some good game play, but also for gaining experience.
Freshman Lucy Mawn scored seven of her nine total points in the first quarter, which saw the Sharks net 21 points to Rising Tide's 0, with Melissa Velasquez, Caroline DiGiovanni, Maddie Crossen, AJ Gates, and Leah Nash each contributing to the starting total.
It was nearly two minutes into the second quarter before the visiting Tide made it onto the scoreboard, though Monomoy still held a 21-point edge. The Sharks would add another 15 points to their tally in the frame courtesy of shots from DiGiovanni, Nash, and Gates, with successful free throws from Velasquez and Courtney Kelley, as well, giving Monomoy a 36-4 lead at the half.
Fortunately for Rising Tide, Cai Blake came up big at the perimeter during the game's second half, making at least part of the game more competitive. In the third, however, the visitors could only manage a single three-point shot while Monomoy added another 14 points to its tally. Scoring in the third for the Sharks was DiGiovanni, Nash, Lexi Hyora, Kelley, and Gates.
The final frame saw two new players enter the game for the Sharks, with fans and teammates cheering enthusiastically as Helen DiGiovanni and Erica Slade each celebrated their first-ever varsity scores, with DiGiovanni adding three between a layup and a free throw, and Slade a nice under-the-hoop score.
Meanwhile, Blake added an impressive four tri's for the Tide, helping to boost their score in the fourth. Also scoring were Sara Sampson, Aleigh Anderson, and Maddy Burek.
Along with scores, Monomoy's additional stats were also solid. Hyora had four assists, while Kelley, Crossen, and Gates each had two, and Velasquez and Caroline DiGiovanni one each. Nash also had two steals, while Hyora had three, as did Gates. DiGiovanni, Crossen, and Mawn each had one. With regard to rebounds, Crossen had four offensive grabs, Nash three, DiGiovanni and Crossen two each, and Kelley, Mawn, Gates, and Helen DiGiovanni one each. Defensively, Caroline DiGiovanni led the way with four rebounds, followed by Hyora and Gates with three, Nash, Crossen, Helen DiGiovanni, and Velasquez with two, and Kelley and Mawn with one.
Monomoy head coach Pete Richer was pleased with the outcome of his team's home opener.
“We did a great job in all facets of the game, offense and defense,” said Richer. “We boxed out well, moved the ball well on offense, and, unlike the first game, we actually put the ball in the hoop, which was great.”
Richer said the Sharks came together well as a team.
“They hustled and did everything they asked them to do, which is just what we want,” Richer said, acknowledging the team's youth. “With Maggie injured, we've got one junior in Leah, and everybody else is sophomore and younger, so very young and inexperienced.”
Though blowout games can be challenging, Richer appreciated the opportunity to get each player on the court.
“It was nice to get everybody in the game,” he said. “Everybody scored. Shoutout to Helen and Erica for their first varsity baskets. It was nice to see the starters cheering on the bench when it was their turn to play.”
Richer said that the win is a nice boost for the team, which still has some work to do before facing opponents in the Cape and Islands League.
“When we play other teams in the League we better be ready,” he said.
Overall, though, he was happy with the outcome of the game and gave kudos to the entire team.
“They all did a nice job,” he said. “I was happy with the performance. Much improved over our game against Sandwich, so I'm very happy.”