HARWICH — Even this year, when COVID-19 protocols have forced capacity restrictions, Senior Night remains a special game that motivates players to leave a little more on the court.
The Monomoy Regional High School girls basketball team proved it was energized by the occasion when it celebrated its two seniors, Leah Nash and Maggie Dever, before its Cape and Islands League matchup against Lighthouse Division rival Sturgis West on Feb. 4.
After honoring Nash and Dever, the Sharks scored the first 11 points of the game before ultimately pulling away for a 43-20 victory over the Navigators.
“Our coaches drill it into us at practice — compete, compete, compete,” said Dever, who finished with seven points. “And they tell us if we’re not giving 100 percent, there’s no reason we should be playing. I feel like that’s our mentality and our mindset.”
The relentless playing style Monomoy displayed during its 11-0 run at the start of the game really began at the defensive end of the floor. Possession after possession, the Sharks seemingly forced turnovers that led to easy buckets at the opposite end.
Sturgis West was held scoreless for the first 5:42 of the game until Lily Manning made a layup with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter. Monomoy led 13-6 at the end of the opening frame and 29-10 at halftime.
“We definitely knew we had to bring the energy going into this game because we had a tough game Tuesday and we know we have a tough game Friday, too,” said Nash, referencing the 47-36 loss Monomoy suffered to St. John Paul II on Feb. 2 and the team’s 38-28 victory over CCA, which took place one day after the win over Sturgis West.
Monomoy’s first-year coach Bill O’Connell said the team used Wednesday’s practice as an opportunity to improve its defense.
“It’s something we harped on after the St. John Paul game on Tuesday,” O’Connell said. “We really wanted to take our time and we did a lot of full-court scrimmaging at Wednesday’s practice. We wanted to come out and really set the tone — we wanted to be tight on Senior Night.”
Nash, a Chatham resident, scored six points against Sturgis West on Senior Night and eight points the next night against CCA, a victory that propelled Monomoy to 4-2, both overall and in Cape and Islands League play.
In both victories, the Sharks were led by junior Caroline DiGiovanni. She led all players with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Sturgis West and bounced back the next day with a game-high 15 points in the win over CCA.
“She’s one of the elite athletes in all of the Cape and Islands League,” O’Connell said of DiGiovanni. “She’s also a superb field hockey player.”
Although DiGiovanni shined, the week belonged to Dever and Nash, the pair of seniors who have meant so much to Monomoy. In addition to serving as co-captains on the girls basketball team, the duo split co-captain duties for the field hockey and girls lacrosse teams, too.
“They’re both three-sport athletes, so by the time I got them, they were already seasoned,” O’Connell said. “They also do the MIAA student leadership council and captains council here with our athletic director (Karen Guillemette) on Fridays. They do everything you’d need them to do as extensions of the coaching staff.”
Both seniors are waiting to hear back from colleges and universities, so they’re unsure what their next chapters hold. Nash said she wants to study biomedical engineering, while Dever’s heart is in digital media; she hopes to work for ESPN one day.
Their futures will have to wait, however, as the duo has much more to accomplish at Monomoy. Although there won’t be a statewide state tournament this year, the Cape and Islands League will hold a postseason tournament. That excites Nash and Dever, who noted they hope to leave behind a positive legacy.
“We’re just trying to help grow the program,” Nash said. “I know me and Maggie want to leave with a good imprint on the team. We’re definitely excited for our league tournament — we’ve been looking forward to that since the start of the season.”
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