On Saturday afternoon, the Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team defeated the Pierson Whalers 70-62 before a spirited home crowd at Shelter Island School.
Dan Martin scored 24 points and Lucas Quigley-Dunning made five 3-pointers as the Indians withstood a dramatic second-half comeback by the Whalers to notch their first victory of the young season.
“It was a gutsy performance,” Coach Jay Card Jr. said after the game. “We let them back into the game in the third quarter, but we didn’t fold.”
During the first half of the game, the Islanders dominated both ends of the court. After falling behind by 6 points in the opening minutes, the Indians finished the first period on a 14-3 run to take a 5-point lead.
The momentum continued through the second quarter as the home team outscored Pierson 20-9. Nico Seddio, Walter Richards and Erik Thilberg anchored the defense and controlled the boards, while Quigley-Dunning led the offensive attack with four 3-pointers in the first half, allowing the Indians to take a commanding 38-22 lead into the break.
But the lead wasn’t safe.
After a jumper by Dan Martin in the opening minute of second half put the home team up 43-25, Pierson took advantage of several costly Island turnovers to chip away at the lead. Henry Brooks, who finished with a game-high 31 points, led the Whalers on 23-5 run to tie the game at 48 at the end of the third.
“We got a little on our heels,” Coach Card said after the game. “Not that we weren’t trying, but our rotations were off. We were out of position and a lot of our long passes were intercepted.”
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Islanders reclaimed the momentum when Dan Martin drained a deep 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Indians a 51-48 lead.
A Pierson turnover on the next play led to a contested fast-break layup by Seddio, bringing the fans to their feet and putting the Indians ahead by 5 points.
Pierson trimmed the lead to 2, but the Islanders buckled down on defense and pulled away down the stretch. Seddio and Thilberg corralled crucial offensive rebounds, and Quigley-Dunning sank six clutch free throws in the final minutes to secure the win for the Indians.
Coach Card was impressed with his team’s resilience and focus.
“I give our guys a lot of credit,” he said. “When the other team makes a big comeback, it’s easy to hang your head or panic. But that’s not what our team did. We went right back at them, and we made the adjustments we needed to make to get the W.”
Quigley-Dunning played an excellent all-around game, leading Shelter Island with four assists and three steals, scoring an efficient 22 points on 11 shots from the field. Thilberg contributed a team-leading 12 rebounds to go along with 8 points.
The victory evened the Shelter Island’s record to 1-1 on the season. This week, the team travels to Hampton Bays and Shoreham-Wading River for road games against the Baymen and the Wildcats. The next home game tips off at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday December 8, as the Indians take on East Rockaway in a non-league game.