Something special has been happening at the Shelter Island School gym these cold and dark winter evenings.
A tough, disciplined, motivated and talented team of basketball players has been lighting up the low-tide season of the year on the Island. A down-to-the-wire, thrilling, hold-your-breath (we, like our sportswriter, are running out of superlatives for this team) 1-point victory over the Stony Brook Bears Saturday ensured the boy’s varsity team would make the post season.
Saturday’s game was a David and Goliath affair, with the Islanders handing the bigger school its first loss this season in league play, spoiling Stony Brook’s 8-0 record and turning the tables on the powerful Bears after the Indians had lost to them by double digits earlier this season.
But nail-biting (here we go again) victories are becoming old hat for the Islanders; their previous home game was in doubt until the final seconds and resulted in a 1-point win for the Indians.
Adversity seems to make this team stronger, the sign of character and commitment. A blowout by the Bridgehampton Killer Bees was forgotten just three days later in the stirring victory over Stony Brook.
Congratulations are in order to Coach Jay Card Jr. for his expert stewardship of this team, which has a small roster to begin with, and has been made even smaller now and then because of illness. Good coaching has ensured that when called on, everyone steps up, ready to play.
Along with Assistant Coach Jim Colligan, Mr. Card has used skillful, calm and inspired coaching to produce a successful season in the won-loss column. But more importantly, they have been teaching their charges the values of hard work, sportsmanship and struggling as a group in good times and bad to achieve a goal.
The fans — parents, teachers, school administrators, students and friends led by the cheerleading squad — also deserve a shout-out, an appropriate expression considering the noise that rocks the gym when the team is giving its all on the court.
All of the above represent our hometown in the best possible way, showing spirit, heart and a sense of pride shining through.