Despite the snow and cold, the winter sports season is off to a hot start at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with the boys’ basketball and hockey teams posting early big wins.
Meanwhile, the girls’ hockey team has been shaken by the sudden departure of longtime head coach Sam Sherman just two games into the season. Athletic director Sandy Mincone said Mr. Sherman turned in his resignation last Friday; the Vineyarders were 0-2 on the season after opening with losses to Whitman-Hanson last Saturday and Sandwich last Wednesday.
Mr. Sherman has been girls’ hockey coach since the team’s inception 13 years ago.
Ms. Mincone is serving as interim coach during the search for a permanent replacement. She could not comment in detail about the resignation.
“All I can say is that it was his decision,” she said.
Reached by telephone, Mr. Sherman also offered no explanation.
“I didn’t want to go out this way . . . not two games into the season. I can say that,” Mr. Sherman said. “It is disappointing because I was excited about our prospects for this season. I will miss the team,” he said.
Despite losing 11 seniors to graduation last year, the boys’ hockey team is off to a 1-1 start after a tough 4-3 loss to Franklin on the road last Wednesday, and an easy 4-0 win over Bourne at home on Saturday just before the Island was hit by a major snowstorm.
Coach Matt Mincone acknowledged his team lost its core of seniors from last year and in many ways is still working to find itself. “I’m not calling this a rebuilding year, I’m calling it a reloading year. We’re trying out new goaltenders, a whole new defense, a whole new approach — and so far I like what I see.”
He said this year’s team is unusually young, with only seven seniors, three juniors and the rest freshmen and sophomores. The team also does not have much depth — only 14 players dressed on Saturday, largely because several key players are out with injuries.
Senior Brooks Billingham was injured in the Franklin game, Alex Bilzerian sustained a serious injury and will be out all season and Henry Smith will be out until next month. Rookie goaltender junior Louis Jacobs-Walsh had his first varsity shutout over the weekend.
And the team has shown a lot of spark. On Saturday they outshot Bourne 44-6.
“We are lacking in numbers, but I’m not panicking, really, because this is a team that doesn’t like to get pushed around,” Coach Mincone said. “They’re a tough bunch, and I like that.”
Tuesday night, the Vineyarders took out Quincy, 9-4, at home.
The Vineyard boys play on the road Monday against Avon/Holbrook; they play at home Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. against Framingham.
This team is also off to a fast 2-1 start. They opened by splitting a pair of games against Sandwich — losing on the road on Dec. 12, 73-63, and then beating the same team at home on Dec. 15, 67-64. And they had an easy 74-60 win against Bourne at home last Saturday.
Coach Mike Joyce said expectations are high for this team, which is flush with experienced starters. Senior cocaptain Steven Handy has already emerged as leading scorer with some 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Handy is joined by guards Lamar Moreis and Shane Schofield, both senior cocaptains, and junior Randall Jette at forward. Senior Pat Hart is currently out with injury, but is expected to return soon.
The team doesn’t have a lot of height but is expected to challenge opponents with a quick run-and-gun offense, the coach said. “We press the ball with a lot of movement . . . we can run the ball with anyone, and we can shoot it,” he said.
The team also has the benefit of a deep bench.
“I think we will play 10 guys just about every game, and I think we will get contributions from 10 guys every game. The last game against Bourne we got everyone some minutes, and everyone played a part in the win. This year especially I think there will be very little drop-off when we go to the bench. We have some talented kids,” he said.
The boys play on the road this weekend in the Cape Cod Classic tournament and do not play at home again until Jan. 9 against conference rival Bishop Feehan.