The Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team entered its home game against Southold with a league record of one win and two losses and an overall record of four wins against five losses. Southold, also 1-2 in league action and 4-4 overall, was hoping to steal a win from the home team. After a hard-fought, exciting game, Shelter Island came away with a 67-63 win.
The junior varsity boys started the double bill, playing a tight game but coming up short in a 52-49 Southold win. Coach Ian Kanarvogal said the team has shown great improvement this season and the players are understanding the fundamentals of the game. Kal Lewis, Walter Richards and Liam Adipietro led the team in scoring.
At the start of the varsity match, with both teams in camo-style warm-up shirts, fans noted the athletes eyeing one another, sizing up the competition. Shelter Island held the height advantage, but Southold was speedy, with some good outside shooters.
Semaj Lawrence started the scoring for the Blue and Gray with a 2-pointer under the basket.
With baskets by Tristan Wissemann and Jack Kimmelmann, the Island had a quick 6-0 lead. The Settlers made some great passes to cut into the lead until Kimmelman hit a crowd-pleasing outside trey to make the score 12-9. Near the end of the quarter Wissemann drove the length of the court for a lay up at the buzzer giving the Island a 14-11 lead.
Southold hit a quick 3 at the start of the second quarter to tie the score at 14. Using his size advantage, Lawrence ran off 4 points from inside the paint for a 18-14 lead. He also controlled the boards, limiting Southold’s second chances on missed baskets while allowing some nice put backs for the Island. By the end of the night Lawrence had collected a game-high 13 rebounds.
With strengths of both teams established, the game quickly became a competition between the quickness of Southold and the height and power of the Island. Billy Boeklen’s heads-up shooting gave his team a 23 -16 lead, and at the end of the first half the Blue and Gray went into the locker room with a 29-22 lead.
At half-time, the cheerleaders rolled out the big blue mats and entertained the crowd with their cheers and new, energetic dance routine, during which they flawlessly performed two impressive lifts along with some nicely coordinated moves.
The third quarter started with both teams shooting cold, and it was not until the 4:28 mark that Wissemann broke the ice with a bucket to maintain the lead at 31-24. Coach Jay Card Jr. called a time out and inserted Will Garrison, who nailed a big three.
The crowd roared its approval.
The Island entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 40-26 margin.
But the Settlers were not going quietly into the night. With the Island relaxing a bit with a double-digit lead, Southold made fourth quarter interesting with big threes and solid defense. Going on a 12-1 run, they cut the lead to 41-38. Wissemann showed his basketball IQ and athleticism to add 2 points and maintain the lead the Island lead at 43-38.
Kimmelmann made a nice steal resulting in points and his teammates did a great job breaking the Southold full court press. Max Moroz came into the game off the bench and snagged a nice long pass for a layup to give the Island a 59-47 lead.
As the clock became a factor, Southold’s strategy became clear: put up as many 3-point attempts as possible. The Settlers came roaring back to keep the game in reach. With both teams in the bonus, foul shots became a key factor. Kimmelman hit a free throw to extend the lead to 65-61, providing a little breathing room. But Southold’s determined shooting cut the lead to two points during the waning minutes. When the visitors were forced to foul to stop the clock, Boeklen sunk two foul shots to make the final 67-63.
Wisseman led the team with 33 points, with Boeklen and Lawrence each contributing 12, giving Lawrence a double-double on the night.
The win pulls the team to 2-2 in league play and an overall record of 5-5. The next home game is against cross-bay rivals Greenport on Tuesday January 19 with tipoff at 5:45 p.m.