EASTHAM – It came so close to being the perfect comeback, but time just wasn't on the side of the Nauset girls varsity basketball team in their Feb. 19 game against Archbishop Williams, with the Warriors falling to the Bishops with a heartbreaking 49-48 final score in spite of one heck of a comeback.
The Lady Warriors found themselves in trouble early in their final game of the regular season, falling behind 14 points in the first quarter as the home team struggled to land their shots. Skyeler Sandison, who along with teammate Sunny Green was celebrated at the start of the game for Senior Night, had the only actual shot in the first quarter, with the rest of Nauset's five points coming from successful free throws courtesy of Avery Burns, Sandison, and Korin Mereste.
The second quarter didn't see the Warriors fare much better, allowing Williams to take a commanding 18-point, 30-12 lead into halftime as Nauset's shooting struggles continued and the team was only able to put together seven points in the second on shots from Green, Mereste, and Ashley Ross.
But something happened during halftime that ignited a spark under the home team, who burst back onto the court and embarked on a 10-0 scoring run that saw them outscore the Bishops 19-6 in the third quarter. Sandison led the way with a trio of three-pointers, with Burns adding another tri to Nauset's tally as the deficit between teams narrowed considerably, ending the third quarter just five points behind.
The fourth quarter saw even greater intensity from the home team, who kept chipping away at the Williams lead, narrowing it to just one point with a little more than two minutes remaining in the game.
As the two teams traded points in those final minutes, it became clear that the W would likely go to whoever had the ball last, which would ultimately be AB Williams, who clung to a one-point lead in the game's last seconds, fiercely protecting the ball during their last possession until the buzzer sounded.
After Nauset clawed its way back from a massive deficit, Sandison finished with 17 points overall, followed by Ross with 14, and Mereste with 11. Burns had five points and Green, who exited the game with a knee injury, had two.
“When you're down 18 points it's a big, big hole to get out of,” said Nauset head coach John Piemontese. “They did an outstanding job in the second half. I'm really proud of them. They could have easily packed it in when Sunny Green got hurt, but they rallied to the cause and fought as hard as they could fight all the way through to the end.”
Piemontese shouted out Sandison for her efforts not only in the game but during the season as well.
“Skyeler Sandison, senior night, 17 points, game high scorer, she did a great job,” her head coach said. “She proved why she's a senior captain with over 1,000 points in her career.”
The Warriors are the No. 9 seed in Div. 2 South and will travel to Dartmouth for a first-round game on Feb. 26 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Should they advance, they'll move onto the quarterfinals, against either Norwood or Hanover at a date and time to be determined.