BOSTON -- Winning is something Wareham has been familiar with this season. They have beaten opponents by an average margin of 18 points per game all season, and continued their undefeated season after a 70-65 win over Martha’s Vineyard today.
They were also used to having a team come back from their initial run in the first quarter, something they have faced lately. Wareham went on a 19-3 run in the first quarter, but Vineyard fought back all game long to make it a barn burner.
“It got close a few times. Cardinal Spellman did the same thing to us,” said Wareham head coach Kevin Brogioli. “We had a lead on them and they came back and we were able to answer their runs. I feel like we did the same thing to Vineyard.”
“They just came back, I wouldn’t say we lost our momentum though,” said Wareham star junior point guard Darien Fernandez, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, and five steals. He was the one model of consistency throughout the game.
Vineyard (21-3) started off the second quarter with an 8-2 run, led by their center Charlie Everett. The senior came off the bench and scored 10 points in the second quarter off of drives from the elbow. With 2:08 remaining, he finished an emphatic and-one lay-up to make it a 12-point game.
In the third quarter, the Vineyarders continued to fight back. This time it was their junior guard Jack Roberts who caught fire scoring nine of his 14 total points from all over the floor. Vineyard pushed it to a four-point game at one point in the third but could not manage to get over the hump.
Wareham (24-0) and Vineyard traded baskets for the entire fourth quarter. At the 1:28 mark, Vineyard began fouling and could not finish in the clutch. Aaron Baptiste hit five free-throws in the last minute to seal the deal.
Battle of the Bigs: When asked about Everett’s 22 points and 12 rebound performance, Wareham’s Brogioli responded, “Is he a senior, I hope?”
The 6-5 center gave Wareham fits in the first half with his quickness and good finishing ability around the hoop.
“We knew him coming off of the bench would be tough for us,” said Brogioli. “We thought Houde could cover him in the first half and he didn’t but in the second half he did.”
“We did everything we could to stop him in the first half,” he added. “In the second half, we tried to bring a guard down to keep swiping at the ball. I think that helped a little bit.”
Wareham’s 6-foot-5 center Jeff Houde was equally impressive down the stretch. Houde played defense straight up, which altered many shots in the lane. He also nailed a critical turn around jump shot in the fourth quarter. Houde finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Fernandez Does It Again: Darien Fernandez managed to fill up the box score yet again. Fernandez hit numerous acrobatic lay-ups and shots, but Vineyard’s head coach Michael Joyce thought there was something else special about Fernandez’s performance
Said Joyce, “Fernandez kept taking it out of our guys’ hands. His points and offense is great but I think his steals and rebounding helped make the difference for them.”
At times throughout the game, Fernandez was taken out of his rhythm and had to make adjustments. He turned the ball over six times but eventually managed to hold on to it for the win.
“They played a triangle and two on us so it was kind of a different look. Coach [Brogioli] called a timeout, we broke it, and eventually they changed out of it.”
These kind of adjustments are what great teams make in order to win. That is exactly why Wareham continued their win streak today and punched their ticket to the TD Garden.