HARWICH – It was a senior-driven night for the Monomoy boys varsity basketball team as the Sharks not only celebrated the team's future graduates, but cheered as those upperclassmen played to a dominating 68-38 victory against the Sturgis Storm on Jan. 31.
After the team's nine seniors were honored in a special pregame ceremony, along with the four seniors on the cheerleading squad, the Sharks got down to the business of basketball in a game that saw nearly every player not only set foot on the court, but also contribute in key ways.
Starting with the game-opening tip-off, the Sharks took control, playing to a 13-4 lead after the first quarter on shots from Eli Stafford, Jamie Routhier, and Jason Ready, with a nice three-pointer and two good free throws from Joe DeMango added in for good measure.
With the home team holding a more than comfortable edge, head coach Keith Arnold seized the opportunity to play as many of his bench players as possible, with everyone except for Bradley Alexis, who was out with a minor injury, getting in the game.
In the second quarter DeMango clearly found his groove, netting eight of his 17 team-leading points, with Routhier and Ready adding nine more to put the Sharks ahead 30-16 at the half.
The third quarter proved the team's best of the night, with six Sharks contributing to the score in the frame as Monomoy outscored Sturgis East 22-7. Stafford returned to score seven of his nine points, including a three-pointer, with Sean Deveau and Aidan Melton each adding to Monomoy's tally.
The fourth quarter belonged mostly to Melton, who scored 10 of his 11 points in the quarter as his teammates and Monomoy's student section cheered. Those cheers became almost deafening when Trevor Russell and Brandon Willis each launched long three-pointers, both of which swished easily through the net.
All told, DeMango led the way with 17 points, followed by Routhier with 14, Melton with 11, Stafford and Ready each with nine, Russell and Willis with three apiece, and Deveau with two.
“A shoutout to all the seniors,” said Arnold after the win. “Because it's Senior Night and they all played, all competed, and even in a game like this they're just good kids.”
Arnold said he appreciated that his players did their best to enjoy the competition while maintaining awareness of what it's like to be on the opposite end of a lopsided score. He added that games such as this are important because they give every player the chance to hone his skills in preparation for the post-season, which the Sharks qualified for several games ago.
“We can get away with stuff in a game like this,” Arnold said. “So I try to get them to run our sets not necessarily to conclusion, or take the first shot available, but make the reads.”
Arnold said he was pleased to see his team move the ball along the floor well, but did note that he'd like to see them be a little less selfless with the ball and take more shots.
“A few times we over-passed,” he said, “because they're so unselfish, and nothing happens. So we have to be disciplined enough to purposely run plays so they become muscle memory and not poor decisions.”
The Sharks will be facing some stiffer competition in the days to come, beginning with tonight's game at D-Y (6:30 p.m.), which will be followed by a Saturday afternoon game against Cape Cod Academy. The last time Monomoy faced the Dolphins, the Sharks eked out a 45-41 win, though they fell to CCA 61-56.
“The good thing this week is that we've got time to take a breath compared to last time (when games were back-to-back),” Arnold said.
After that, the Sharks wrap up their regular season with a Feb. 12 away game against Sturgis West (7 p.m.) and another away game at Falmouth Academy on Feb. 18. Then it's on to the playoffs. Follow @chronikat on Twitter and Instagram for tournament game times and locations, and game photos.