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New boys basketball Coach Jay Card plans winning strategy

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO The 2014-2015 Shelter Island varsity boys basketball team. Front row, Peter Kropf, Henry Lang, Sawyer Clark, Jack Kimmelmann. Back row, Assistant Coach Jim Colligan, Johnny Sturges, Tristan Wissemann, Semaj Lawrence, Billy Boeklen, Coach Jay Card Jr.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO
The 2014-2015 Shelter Island varsity boys basketball team. Front row, Peter Kropf, Henry Lang, Sawyer Clark, Jack Kimmelmann. Back row, Assistant Coach Jim Colligan, Johnny Sturges, Tristan Wissemann, Semaj Lawrence, Billy Boeklen, Coach Jay Card Jr.

After earning the school’s first Class D County Championship with exciting wins over Smithtown Christian and Greenport, the Shelter Island boys basketball team for 2013-2014 posted an impressive 63-35 win over Clark Academy to advance to the southeast regional championships.

Unfortunately, Coleman Catholic sent the Indians home as they continued on to the New York State Class D Championship game.

Nevertheless, it was a season to remember. It made a lasting impression on the boys, serving as an important catalyst for the team of returning players.

This year’s varsity team will be coached by Jay Card Jr. Jay, a four-year varsity basketball player (Class of 1980) at Shelter Island, also served as the school’s JV coach and assistant under Mike Mundy last year.

Coach Card is thrilled about his opportunity to coach at the varsity level. He’s a very knowledgeable man who enjoys teaching and coaching. The players respond well to his patient and balanced approach, respecting his thoughts and ideas both on and off the court.

The team graduated four key players from last year’s team. They combined for 11 years of varsity experience, as well as 56 percent —  723 of 1293 points — of the team’s offense.

On a positive note, the Indians are returning junior Tristan Wissemann, who was the team’s high scorer with 420 points. Tristan led the team in rebounding, blocked shots and was second in assists, earning the team’s Most Valuable Player Award.

He has continued to work extremely hard in the off-season, playing AAU for the past two years against some very talented players. He will provide the leadership for his teammates, both on and off the court.

His ball handling and passing skills continue to improve, with a goal of playing basketball at the college level after his high school career ends at Shelter Island in 2016. Tristan will be one of the best players in our league.

The team also returns seniors Sawyer Clark and Johnny Sturges. Both will be key players for Coach Card. Sawyer has improved his ball handling skills and is lightning fast on the court, enabling him to get to the rim. He also is one of the team’s best defenders and works hard at both ends of the court.

Johnny will see a big increase in playing time at the power forward position. He is a good rebounder and, hopefully, will provide much needed offense along the baseline and in the paint.

Also returning from last year’s varsity team is junior Peter Kropf, an excellent free throw shooter who is working on his outside jump shot and passing skills. Peter is a real student of the game. Best described as “unselfish,” Peter will be a key player at the guard position for the next two years.

Billy Boeklen, a very talented junior, will play both guard and small forward on this year’s team.

Although Billy played JV basketball last year, he demonstrated his skills moving up to varsity during the playoffs, especially during the Class D County finals, scoring 21 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 assists in the 73-66 win over Greenport. Billy worked hard over the summer to improve his overall skill level and will be a real asset to the team.

Joining the team from last year’s JV team are Jack Kimmelmann and Henry Lang, both members of the junior class. Coach Card is counting on both Jack and Henry to provide some much needed spark off the bench. In addition, sophomore Semaj Lawrence, who stands 6 feet, 4 inches, will play both power forward and center.

Thus far, Semaj has been working to learn both the offensive and defensive strategies. He could be a key factor in this year’s team success. He possesses good hands and can be an important inside threat.

Coach Card will be looking to bring his players together as a team and compete in every game throughout the season. He is also looking to guide his team to its third consecutive post-season appearance.

Obviously, with only eight players on the 2014-15 varsity roster, the first priority is to keep everyone healthy and avoid any serious injuries. Coach Card, as did Coach Mundy, appreciates the great fan support that the team has received during the past few years. There’s no doubt our loyal fans act as the team’s sixth man on the court and make a real difference.

Our new coach has a simple message for the Shelter Island community: Come to our games and watch some exciting basketball. Hopefully, members of the team will deliver and earn the respect from their opponents as well as from the Shelter Island community.

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