Finally, after all these years, the Shelter Island High School boys varsity basketball team is getting a county championship banner to hang in its gym.
After reaching the past two Suffolk County Class D finals, only to come up short of the prize, the Island’s third straight appearance in the county title game was the charm.
Matt BeltCappellino scored 24 points and Billy Boeklen came off the bench to supply 21 points as the third-seeded Blue and Gray defeated No. 1 seed Greenport, 73-66, at Longwood High School on Saturday.
The Island boys (11-9) also received 17 points and 12 rebounds from their 6-foot-3 center, Tristan Wissemann, and 7 assists from Riley Willumsen.
After the game, the Section XI boys basketball chairman, Bob Mayo, presented Shelter Island coach Mike Mundy with the championship plaque that the Blue and Gray have been chasing for years.
They will next play in the Suffolk Class C-D final against either Pierson or The Stony Brook School on Wednesday in Northport.
Both teams, cheered on by their vocal fans, played an entertaining first half. It was a half that ended in Greenport’s favor, 33-31, following successive 3-point shots by Dibble, Wissemann and Tim Stevens.
The entry into the game of Boeklen, a sophomore who had been brought up from the junior varsity team earlier this season, made a difference for Shelter Island. Greenport Coach Ev Corwin called Boeklen the “X factor.”
Shelter Island made its move in the third quarter. Wissemann scored 5 points during an 11-0 run that gave the Blue and Gray the game’s first double-digit lead at 48-37. It was a lead they never surrendered.
The Porters (9-11) pulled as close as within 5 points when Hooks knocked down a big 3-pointer, making the score 62-57 with a little over three minutes remaining in the game. But Shelter Island had a reply for every basket or free throw by the Porters.