OSTERVILLE — Monomoy boys basketball coach Dan Taylor knew that his Sharks squad was going to face a substantial disadvantage this winter.
In a sport where height and the ability to play near the rim often reign supreme, Monomoy has found itself undersized and overmanned in most of its matchups.
“If we spiked our tallest kid’s hair, he might be 6 feet,” Taylor said, “and we’re going up against front lines that are 6’4”, 6’5”. It’s not easy. You can’t teach height.”
The Sharks fell to 5-7 after suffering a pair of road losses at Cape Cod Academy (68-51) and at Nantucket (71-32) following the team’s 48-36 win over Mashpee on Jan. 12 in Harwich.
Although the team’s height disadvantage was at play against CCA, Monomoy’s biggest issue was stringing together consistent possessions as it tried to mount a comeback against the Seahawks, who jumped out to an early lead and managed to keep a 10-point cushion against the Sharks for much of the game.
“It’s tough to make a comeback without consistent stops,” Taylor said after the CCA loss. “We’d get a few and the kids were relentless – they wouldn’t give up – but it seemed like every time we’d make a few and then there would be a few turnovers for easy baskets at the other end.
“I said to them after the game: ‘It felt like we were losing by 10 the whole game,’ but we kept cutting it in half.”
Despite the defensive struggles, there was plenty that Taylor and Monomoy could like at the offensive end. Three players reached double figures scoring, with seniors Jeff Kimball and Jackson Rocco each registering 11 points and freshman Zach Martin chipping in 10 more. Sophomore Jackson Morneau also added nine points in defeat.
Taylor said Kimball is among the Sharks who have stepped up to play a bigger role this season and has helped set a tone for the way the team wants to play.
“He’s been the best teammate you could ask for,” Taylor said of Kimball, a Yarmouth resident. “He’s willing to take on any challenge I put in front of him and he works his butt off. He’s got the best attitude on the team – I would coach a team of 10 or 15 Jeffs, any day of the week.”
Kimball said he’s embraced his role as a leader and has done his best to help the team’s crop of underclassmen feel at home with the varsity squad.
“The young guys on our team bring a lot of much-needed energy,” Kimball said. “I try to give them all the knowledge that I can from my experience on the team, and hopefully that helps them in the future.”
Even though it seems as if Monomoy is taking strides for the future, Rocco said it can be frustrating to see the team face growing pains comparable to those they encountered against CCA.
“It’s really tough,” said Rocco, a Dennis resident. “We have a tough schedule. We play some really good teams so it’s going to be really tough [to make the state tournament].”
Despite the team’s tough schedule, Taylor said qualifying for the state tournament remains a goal for the Sharks. However, the coach doesn’t want his players focusing on an end-of-season goal rather than what is right in front of them each game.
“It’s always been a goal of any team that I’ve ever been a part of since I played to make the state tournament and perform in the state tournament,” Taylor said. “I try not to talk too much about the ratings when you’re this early in the season because we have a really tough league, but it’s really about one game at a time. We can’t think that far ahead.”
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org.