EAST SANDWICH — It just doesn’t get any better than this.
Senior captain Joey Downes totaled 33 points on the night, including two critical free throws in overtime, to pace the Sandwich Blue Knights to a nailbiting, 78-76, overtime win Monday night against a tough Martha’s Vineyard five. Fellow senior captain Hank O’Brien was held to just 9 points but had a monster game on the boards, tearing down 14 against a Vineyard team that boasts a 7-foot center in Mack Sashin and a 6’5″ power forward named Tim Roberts. Dante Lambros was equally as critical for the Blue Knights, pouring in 17 points to make up for where the Vineyard had put the clamp down on teammate O’Brien.
Roberts – who Sandwich head coach Dennis Green said was nearly impossible to contain – scored 32 points to lead the island boys.
“We had trouble matching up with him,” Green said. “He’s a real good slicer and moves up the court with the ball well on fast breaks and layups. We doubled down on him in overtime to try and keep him out (of the inside) but still had trouble.”
Green said he implemented a man-to-man defense for most of the night but alternated into a 1-3-1 zone when the Vineyarders “started to catch on and figure us out.”
Still, Sandwich held a 33-30 lead at halftime and a 70-67 lead as the final seconds clicked off the clock in the fourth quarter. But then the Vineyard’s Matt Stone drained a buzzer-beating, soaking wet bomb to tie it 70-70 in regulation and the two teams went into a 4:00-minute extra frame.
Senior captain Scotty Reels, Downes (2) and O’Brien all hit key free throws in overtime to seal the win, while Roberts hit a pair of layups to lead the Vineyarders down the homestretch, but Sandwich simply outlasted the visitors. The win puts Sandwich at 2-1 on the season and the Vineyard at an even 1-1.
In addition to his 33 points, Downes had 7 assists and 6 steals while Reels collected 13 points.
The Blue Knights have a week off over the holidays before reconvening on the road on Dec. 30 against a “very tough” Bishop Stang team, Coach Green said, that boasts “five players who all can shoot.”
“We got our work cut out for us, that’s for sure,” Green said.
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm