HARWICH – Monomoy might have had the home court advantage, but when the Sharks faced the Nauset Warriors for the second time this season, this time the game belonged to the visitors, who, led by a stellar performance from Bobby Joy, played to a commanding 57-35 win Jan. 4.
Joy topped all scorers in the Saturday afternoon outing, netting 28 points overall after getting started with a three-pointer in the opening frame. That first quarter saw the Warriors hold just a two-point edge when the buzzer sounded, but it didn't take long for Nauset to extend its 13-11 edge in the second, largely thanks to Joy and his 12 points.
The only other points in the quarter came from a pair of three-pointers from Henry Blanchard and Johnny McCarthy, with Liam O'Hara adding two for good measure. Meanwhile, the Sharks could only muster eight points to Nauset's 20 in the frame, the scores coming from three-pointers from Elijah Beasley and Jason Ready, with two more from Joe DeMango, bringing the score at the half to 33-19.
Eight proved the not-so-magic number for the Sharks for the game's remainder, as that's all the home team could manage during the third and fourth quarters, mainly on free throws from DeMango and Beasley in the third, and then on free throws from Trevor Russell, Eli Stafford, and David Malone in the fourth, with Aidan Melton adding four points.
Nauset, meanwhile, went on to net another 15 points in the third, with Joy adding another tri to his mix and Keleb Daniels scoring four points. O'Hara also had a three-pointer in the quarter.
The Warriors only added nine points more to their tally in the final quarter, but there was no way for the Sharks to make up the difference, though they determinedly kept trying, spurred on by head coach Keith Arnold, who said his main instruction during the game's second half was not to give up.
“During a timeout in the third quarter, I said, 'you're not quitting,'” Arnold said. “'You're frustrated, yes. We're not playing well, yes. But you will not quit.' And they didn't. They hung tough, kept their heads up, and worked.”
Arnold said what stymied his Sharks was Nauset's punishing defense in which the team unleashed every defensive scheme possible to keep Monomoy in check.
“Basically, compared to the first game it was a complete flip,” Arnold said. “In the first game we had the great shooting percentage, we had the rebounding. We had a lot of turnovers, but we did much better. Tonight, they had the great shooting, they had the pressure defense. Multiple defenses they threw at us. I don't care what level you are. For them to go from a zone press into a zone—a 2-3 zone or a 3-2 zone—or a triangle and two, a box and one... but even before that sudden change in multiple defenses we were just not clean with the ball.”
Arnold said there were bad passes and bad decisions from his team, but he also noted that his team hadn't played a competitive game since before the holiday break, which proved a stark contrast from the three games in four days that started their season.
“We practiced, we had an alumni scrimmage and kept them busy,” he said. “But once you lose that tempo, it's a challenge.”
Something new the Sharks are employing in order to keep improvements coming is a bit of technology courtesy of a performance analysis program from Hudl (hudl.com) that compiles data gathered via game films so players and teams know where they need work.
“By tomorrow we'll get a printout of the entire game, a shot chart with percentages, points of turnovers, rebounds,” Arnold explained. “We're giving them to the kids to inspire them to think differently.”
The team has also started utilizing its bench more, something Arnold had planned on prior to the holiday break. Not only did the strategy work to allow starters like Jamie Routhier, DeMango, and Ready to rest a bit, but it also gave players like Melton, Malone, and Russell the chance to improve their in-game skills.
“We got that tonight and we'll be able to build on that,” Arnold said.
Monomoy's resilience showed on Monday night when the Sharks came away with a 47-43 win against Plymouth South that saw DeMango leading the fray with 17 points, followed by Routhier with nine, Melton and Beasley with nine each, Bradley Alexis with four, Eli Stafford two, and Jason Ready one.
Assistant coach Dan Taylor said the win was an overall team effort in which Dan Gould, Stafford, and Melton were big off the bench, while Beasley held South's best scorer to just nine points overall, none in the final quarter.
Nauset head coach John McCarthy said his team spent a good deal of time working on mistakes from the first game against Monomoy, particularly on defense.
“We had a game plan to do certain things on defense and switch some things up, and it worked really well,” McCarthy said. Joe DeMango and Jamie Routhier really hurt us in Game 1, so we really wanted to make it difficult for them to score and to create offense, and our guys were really focused on stopping them. We made it really difficult for them to score every time down on the floor. They were having a lot of struggle finding good looks, and that's because we spent a while working on what we made mistakes on in Game 1.”
McCarthy said that Joy had his best all around game so far this season, and also gave Daniels a shoutout for playing “tremendous defense,” along with Johnny McCarthy, Henry Blanchard, and Liam O'Hara for their consistent efforts.
“They're kind of a really good threesome where they do a little bit of everything,” McCarthy said.
The Warriors will try to keep their momentum going when they travel to D-Y tomorrow night (Jan. 10) for a 7 p.m. contest, while the Sharks play host to the St. John Paul II Lions, also Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.