The Whaler girls basketball team knew their game against the Nauset Warriors Tuesday afternoon wouldn’t be easy despite an impressive start to their season last week. They lost all three matchups last year to the Warriors by a combined score of 210-72, including a 90-22 loss in their season opening game.
But the Whalers got their revenge with a 47-42 win yesterday behind a 23-point effort from senior captain Raegen Perry. Nantucket trailed 27-17 at halftime, but outscored the Warriors 30-15 in the final two quarters to cap off the win.
“This is a really important, meaningful win for this team, especially for this senior group,” head coach Rafael Osona said. “They had some really tough games with Nauset these past couple years and I think it was our first win against Nauset in seven years. They are ecstatic. They feel great. Then coming back after being down on the road is just the cherry on top.”
The game started out with both sides struggling to score in part because of poor offensive execution and strong defense by each team.
“We were just a little bit too wound up in the first half,” Osona said. “We couldn’t really run the offense like we are capable of.”
The Whalers only scored five points in the opening quarter to Nauset’s eight. But the second quarter was all Nauset, outscoring the Whalers 19-12 to put Nantucket in a 27-17 hole going into halftime.
Osona said he believed several factors led to the Whaler’s turnaround in the second half, but the play of Raegen Perry alongside fellow senior guard Ciara Barnett played the largest role.
“Between Ciara and Raegen, the two of them leading as dual point guards allowed us to really be able to calm the team down and get the offense creating points in a patient manner in the second half,” Osona said. “Cici is a monster. She is incredibly athletic. Then Raegen just has it going right now. She is a huge piece of the puzzle for us. She is a point guard, a scorer, a defensive leader. She is kind of our spiritual leader too. When we are down she will bring us back up. She does it all.”
Senior guard and forward Caroline Correia scored six of her 10 points on the day in the third quarter to help Nantucket outscore Nauset 13-12, but Nantucket still trailed 39-30 going into the final quarter of play.
But Nantucket’s athleticism and team speed helped them erase the deficit. They outscored the Warriors 17-3 in the final quarter, turning strong defense into quick baskets in transition on the opposite end.
“We really took control in the second half,” Osona said. “Our offense was on point, the rebounding was excellent, and that kind of gave us that recipe for the comeback. We made some adjustments on defense and kind of had to check back in mentally while settling back into the game on the offensive end. I think it was a defensive adjustment and just relaxing that made the difference for us.”
After needing 12 games to earn their first win last season and finishing last year with a 1-16 record, Nantucket now has a 2-0 record to begin their season with Falmouth Academy scheduled to come to town tomorrow, December 16, for a 4 p.m. rematch after Nantucket beat them 60-10 last week.
“We have a very high ceiling,” Osona said. “We are going to do some good things. I’m excited.”