Middle School storms back, but comes up short, 41-31

Sun, 01/30/2022 - 6:15am

After more than a month between contests, the Block Island Middle School basketball team hosted the Mariners from Rocky Hill Day School on January 22, in front of a staunch and lively throng of hometown supporters.

Both teams traded early hoops, setting the tone for what would be a 90-minute battle of determination and physical toughness. Throughout the opening minutes, the Hurricanes featured their 1-3-1 half-court defense, which disrupted Rocky Hill’s offense on three
consecutive trips.

Rocky Hill responded with a nice offensive adjustment and tried to keep the ball in the hands of their high-scoring, left-handed offensive threat. Block Island countered with ball pressure in transition and remained in their trapping zone on dead-ball turnovers and made baskets. Justin Berry’s steady court presence helped to facilitate these assignments, as he calmly directed his squad in its defensive

Despite the Hurricanes’ stubborn defensive work, the Mariners staked themselves to a comfortable 12-point lead at the midway point of the first half. Block Island consistently got good scoring opportunities, but had little success at cashing in on their chances.
Just as it appeared that all momentum was gone for good, Barrett Evans stepped in front of RH’s hard-driving star, drawing a tremendous defensive charge that electrified the crowd and brought life to the young Red Storm. Subsequently, Chase Hatfield contributed several deflections and two important steals that led to baskets from teammate Nathan Aragao.

An offensive put-back from Zioma Farges-Sirota and hustle play by Max Walsh coupled with a tenacious defensive tie-up from Rowan Weber allowed Block Island to sneak within eight points at halftime.
The Hurricanes boldly remained toe-to-toe with the Mariners at the onset of the second half. Evans continued his herculean effort and
completely dominated the defensive glass while Finn Heinz gave the home team a boost with a gritty defensive stint off the bench. Miles Willi made his season debut and promptly delivered on the defensive end to unsettle Rocky Hill’s offensive flow. Berry’s solid leadership minimized turnovers and Block Island stood strong.

Zane Turner joined the party in a big way as he supported Evans in the rebounding effort and knocked down back-to-back buckets.
The inspired play seemed contagious and the gymnasium grew louder. Trailing by a mere six points (and much to the delight of the Hurricane faithful), Hatfield dove headlong across the floor to secure a critical loose ball possession. Berry dished a nifty assist and
Turner drained a clutch hoop for the ‘Canes.
33-29 was as close as Block Island would get and the Mariners made their free throws down the stretch to post the 10-point victory.