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Islanders battle Bees but buckle down the stretch

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Jack Kimmelman going strong to the hoop in Tuesday’s home loss against Bridgehampton.
Jack Kimmelman going strong to the hoop in Tuesday’s home loss against Bridgehampton.

The Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team hit the home court against the Bridgehampton Killer Bees on a cold Tuesday, January 5, with its season record knotted at 4-4.

The Bridgehampton varsity, in their traditional black and yellow, are the defending Class D state champions, and entered the game leading the league with an 8-1 record.

After a close first half, the Bees rolled to a 60-42.

Coming off an emotional and historic win against East Rockaway January 2, with Co-captain Tristan Wissemann scoring his 1,000th varsity point, the Island boys were looking for another check mark in the win column.

The school gym was full, with many fans remaining from an exciting and closely contested JV contest prior to the varsity game. The JV took a tough loss, but showed grit, flare and improvement both defensively and offensively.

In the first quarter of the varsity matchup, Bridgehampton quickly built a 4-0 lead with sharp, inside-the-paint passing and layups off the glass. The Islanders fought back with nice drives to the basket by Wissemann and Billy Boeklen. Semaj Lawrence had some key rebounds, Jack Kimmelman dished a nice pass to Wissemann for a basket, and the Blue and Gray led 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter opened with a steal by Boeklen and a nice back pass to Wissemann for 2 points. Luke Gilpin came off the bench and sunk two foul shots to give the Islanders a 20-16 lead. Coach Jay Card Jr. called a time out with his team holding a slim 20-18 lead, but the Bees kept up the pressure with great inside passing. Wissemann provided some inside defense at the end of the quarter with two blocked shots, but the Killer Bees went into the locker room at the half with a 23-22 lead.

The second half started with Bridgehampton turning up their intensity and showed why they sit atop the league. A quick 10 point burst by the visitors made the score 34-24. Shelter Island fought back; Gilpin cut the lead to 34 -31 with a 2 pointer.

Unfortunately, foul trouble kept top rebounder Lawrence on the bench for most of the quarter and the Bees built a double-digit lead. Boeklen made a crowd-pleasing 3 pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 42-36.

During the fourth quarter, the Islanders continued to battle, but couldn’t match the quickness and outside shooting of the Bees. Bridgehampton showed poise controlling the offensive boards and used the clock wisely, rolling to the 18-point victory.
Wissemann and Boeklen led the Blue and Gray with 16 points each and Lawrence led the team with 7 rebounds.

The teams play next on January 12 at home against Southold. JV tips off at 4 p.m. the varsity at 5:45 p.m.