Island boys in prep mode for March madness

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | The 2014  Shelter Island varsity boys basketball team.

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | The 2014 Shelter Island varsity boys basketball team.

Mark it down: Saturday, February 15, 2014 a dream came true for Shelter Island’s High School boys varsity basketball program.

After many years of building a program with all its ups and downs, the Island’s boys won a Suffolk County Class D title.

Since that historic game, the team’s victory has been highlighted in numerous newspaper articles with pictures, including the Reporter, the East Hampton Star and Newsday. The team’s success has made community members smile during conversations at the post office, the hardware store, or in the IGA. The whole Shelter Island community has expressed pride in our school, the players and coaches during this cold and snowy winter from this one event.

Fans are pulling for the team and waiting for the next game. They won’t have to wait long: The Blue and Gray are preparing to play the winner of a playoff between Biondi High School and Clark Academy in a regional New York State playoff game on Tuesday, March 4 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.

Biondi and Clark Academy are both small “D” schools similar in size to Shelter Island. Biondi is located in Yonkers and Clark Academy is in Dobbs Ferry on the Hudson River. Both teams are in leagues where they play larger schools, just as Shelter Island’s schedule includes larger schools, and like the Island, Biondi’s and Clark’s records reflect the tougher competition. Playing larger, stronger schools like Southold and Stony Brook only makes teams better when it comes to competing against schools of similar size in the playoffs. Both Clark and Biondi have competed against each other in playoffs in past years and have a history of playoff competition in their respective sections.

The team is looking at video and practicing on maintaining offensive and defensive skills and gaining confidence with each practice. In an interview with the Reporter, Coach Michael Mundy said, “We need to go into the game playing our game, being positive and confident in our skills and playing ability. This team’s players have never panicked in a game and have shown determination in our fourth quarter comebacks. We also want the players to enjoy the experience but work toward achieving our goals and playing to the best of their ability.”

Coach Mundy also stated that his players have attended practices during school vacations and worked hard. “Each player has a role and is working for our common goal and what is best for the team,” he added. “The boys have really shown a maturity level and playing at a high level due to unselfish play. I am really proud of these young men and how they have handled themselves this year, playing as a team and representing Shelter Island and the school. They are all pulling for each other and enjoy the success together.”

As the team prepares for the game, teachers and other community members are helping as well. Jay Card Jr., who coached most of the boys when they were on the JV team, sat on the bench during the Greenport class D championship game. Volunteer Assistant Coach Jim Colligan has spent countless hours working over the last few years with the team and brings his playoff experience when he was coach at Carle Place.

Coach Colligan is planning to scout the Biondi-Clark Academy game on Friday February 28. Jimbo Thienert and this year’s JV Coach Ian Kanarvogel have filmed and scouted recent games, helping the team prepare for competition.

If you can make the game on Tuesday, March 4, wear your blue and gray and if not give the players or coaches a positive send off with a hand shake or a good luck wish before the game. Wherever you are, take pride in our little Island, the team and the students who represent our school.

Go Indians!

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