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Shelter Island varsity boys find their feet with two wins in a row

BEVELEA WALZ PHOTO | The Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team.
BEVELEA WALZ PHOTO | The Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team.

It was an unusually warm night for Friday, December 11 when the Shelter Island basketball fans gathered in the school gym for the first boys varsity home game of the season against East Rockaway.

Appropriately, the Island boys kept the heat on East Rockaway the whole game and won 74-53.

The boys’ junior varsity game started the night with the big hometown crowd watching and cheering on the team. The JV team lost to East Rockaway but the team showed offensive skills and defensive quickness during the game. Coach Ian Kanarvogel has a young squad and the contest provided him with direction for aspects of the game to focus on in future practices.

During warm ups for the varsity game, East Rockaway, in orange and black, looked poised, and the Islanders in traditional blue and gray were relaxed but focused on their home court.

Semaj Lawrence won the tip at center court and Tristan Wissemann hit a quick three from the corner to open the game. Billy Boeklen stole a ball for a layup and East Rockaway called a time out with the Island up 5-2. The visitors kept the score close, hitting some big threes, with the first quarter ending in an East Rockaway lead of 17-15.

Max Moroz opened the scoring of the second quarter with a two pointer to tie the game at 17. The Blue and Gray built a small lead when Wissemann put in a layup to make the score 27-23. Lawrence made a nice play off a hard, crisp pass in the lane to pad to the lead. Another 3- pointer by Wissemann gave the Islanders a 36-29 lead at the half.

East Rockaway came out on fire after the intermission, quickly scoring 7 points to tie the game at 36. A nervous murmur could be heard in the stands as an important timeout was called by the coaches. The Islanders refocused with Peter Kropf putting up a big 3-point shot. Boeklen also hit a trey and the Islander’s lead was 48-37. During the scoring surge, Boeklen made a nice play diving for a ball heading out of bounds. A neat pass to Jack Kimmelman who dished the ball to Wissemann cashed in 2 points. The quarter ended with the Islanders up 56- 42.

The fourth quarter started with five seniors on the floor and the Island with a comfortable lead of 60-44.

Wissemann led the team with 31 points, Boeklen had 17, and Lawrence finished with 10. The Islanders showed offensive balance with nine players scoring during the game.

The next day, Saturday, December 11, the varsity traveled to Hampton Bays for a non-league game and won again 56-47.

The Blue and Gray were down 33-29 at halftime but decided to change their defensive scheme, playing a more up-tempo 1-3-1 alignment in the second half. The Islanders out-scored their opponents 27-14 in the closing two quarters.

The team was led by Wissemann with 24 points, including a perfect 10 for 10 from the foul line. He also grabbed a team high twelve rebounds. Boeklen added an additional  18 points and  Kropf scored 6 points.

Junior transfer Luke Gilpin came off the bench and played superbly on defense, putting lots of pressure on the top of the zone.

The Islanders shot a sizzling 22 of 28 from the free throw line.

The team is now 2-2 overall and will begin their league season tonight, Tuesday, December 15, away at Greenport, with a varsity start at 6:15 p.m.

Not bad for two days work and a good run before league play begins.