Shelter Island V-boys end 44-year drought, beat Bridgehampton 39-35

PETER KROPF PHOTO | Nathan Mundy shoots a free throw in Shelter Island’s historic victory Friday at home against Bridgehampton.

Not since Richard Nixon was president and high school students were wearing bell-bottoms and listening to “The Age of Aquarius” have the Shelter Island varsity boys basketball team come out on top against the Bridgehampton Killer Bees. But last Friday the Island boys did it in style, rocking their home gym in a tight game, winning by four points to end the streak.

The first victory against Bridgehampton since 1969 was not only witnessed but also choreographed by a living connection to that Indian squad, with Coach Michael Mundy presiding on the Shelter Island bench. Coach Mundy’s brother, Jerry, was on that 1969 team, one of the great ones in Indians’ history, which captured the League VI championship for that long-ago season.

The 2012-2013 team was motivated to the max, not just to end the losing streak, but also to notch a win in their hunt to bag a playoff berth.

After the historic win Friday, the Indians had just three games left.

From the tip the Shelter Island boys had nothing on their minds but winning. One example of their focus was senior forward Myles Clark who was unstoppable on the boards in the first couple of minutes.  Clark turned his rebounds into points, and by 5:14 in the first quarter he had four of the first five points the Indians scored.   Junior point guard Riley Willumsen then connected on a three-pointer to make it 8-0 Shelter Island.

Because of the Indians’ stingy defense, the Bees had trouble getting the ball into the high-post to Bridgehampton forward Josh Lamison.  This forced the visitors to take low percentage shots. After baskets from senior forward Hunter Starzee and senior center Chandler Olinkiewicz, Shelter Island had a 12-6 lead going into the second quarter.

The second quarter was less eventful on the offensive side of the court, with both teams scoring a combined 15 points.  After another basket from Starzee at 7:48, junior guard Matthew BeltCappellino hit a long shot off the glass at 5:55 for a two and then nailing a trey later in the quarter.  This would be all the scoring for the Island in the second quarter, but they still led at the half, 19-14.

In the first minute of the third quarter, BeltCappellino picked off a steal and finished the lay-up at the other end to make it 21-14.  At 5:15 junior guard/forward Nathan Mundy completed a three-point play, bringing the score to 26-15.  To continue the hot streak, BeltCappellino drilled yet another trifecta at 4:40 and the lead grew to 12 points.  The third quarter buzzer saw Shelter Island with a 33-24 lead.

Bridgehampton came back with a flurry, scoring 11 of the 17 points in the fourth quarter, but still could not get out of the hole that they had dug for themselves earlier.  Lay-ups from Willumsen and Mundy reassured the Indians’ fans their team had the historic game in hand.  Although the Bees still had some fight in them, the final score would be 39-35 Shelter Island.

A proud and happy Coach Mundy was relieved his club had stopped the four decade-long Bees’ dominance of the Indians.  He noted his teams had been “on the cusp” of beating Bridgehampton the last couple of seasons, losing some heartbreakers.

Coach Mundy said he appreciated the way the team came into the game with confidence  and had “controlled the game,” playing “outstanding defense.” He thought his squad played a “perfect team game” because of the “spread-out scoring.”

Speaking of the scoring, it went as follows: BeltCappellino led all scorers with 16, Starzee and Mundy each had 6, Willumsen  scored 5, Clark had 4, and Olinkiewicz chipped in  2.