For the first time since the middle of March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic halted the final weekend of the high school sports state tournament, winter sports teams from the Lower Cape are set to return to postseason play.
The landscape will look a lot different than it did back then, however. Gone are the days of early-round matchups against regional opponents in sectional tournaments.
In their place is the first installment of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association’s new statewide tournament brackets, a format that determines matchups based on teams’ records and strength of schedule. The statewide format debuted in the fall, though this will mark the first time the winter state tournaments have featured the new layout.
The Lower Cape will be well represented on the hardwood and on the ice during the state basketball and hockey tournaments, as Monomoy, Nauset and Cape Cod Tech will have a combined seven teams represented in postseason play.
All three schools’ boys hockey teams will be in action, beginning in the girls Division 1 tournament, which features the Cape Cod Furies, a co-op program hosted by Nauset that is open to girls from Cape Tech and Monomoy.
The eighth-seeded Furies (13-4-3) will open their postseason in the round of 32 teams against No. 25 Reading (8-11-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Charles Moore Arena. That game will follow the Nauset boys team’s Division 3 tournament opener, as the 13th-seeded Warriors (12-7-1) will host No. 20 North Middlesex (10-7-1) in the round of 32 at 5 p.m. at CMA.
Two local teams will begin their postseason runs in the Division 4 boys hockey tournament Thursday.
No. 27 Mashpee-Monomoy (11-8-1) will visit No. 6 Martha’s Vineyard (13-3-1) for a round of 32 matchup at 3:30 p.m., while No. 20 Dennis-Yarmouth, a co-op team comprised of boys from D-Y, Cape Cod Academy and Cape Cod Tech, will bring its 9-12-0 record to West Roxbury to face No. 13 Boston Latin Academy (9-5-3) in the Round of 32 at 7 p.m. at the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena.
The basketball tournament fields aren’t quite as packed with Lower Cape teams, though all three schools did have one of their hoops teams qualify for postseason play.
In Division 2, the No. 33 Nauset boys team (16-4) was scheduled to head to No. 32 Westwood (12-10) for a preliminary-round tilt at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. If they win, the Warriors would get a crack at top-seeded Malden Catholic (17-2) on the road in the round of 32 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Cape Tech boys basketball team snuck into the Division 5 tournament as the lowest seed in the bracket. The No. 43 Rams (10-10) were set to visit No. 22 Calvary Chapel Academy (18-2) in Rockland at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Monomoy’s girls team also was set to be in action Tuesday; the No. 26 Sharks (10-10) were slotted to host No. 39 Blue Hills (11-9) in a Division 4 preliminary-round matchup at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Harwich. With a win, Monomoy would visit No. 7 Northbridge (17-3) at 5 p.m. Thursday in the round of 32.
Both the hockey and basketball tournaments feature single-elimination brackets all the way through to the state championships.
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