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Shelter Island girls basketball: Outnumbered but never out-hustled

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Senior and Co-Captain Serina Kaasik has been an inspiration to her younger teammates on this year's Junior varsity basketball team.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Senior and Co-Captain Serina Kaasik has been an inspiration to her younger teammates on this year’s junior varsity basketball team.

Coach Mike Mundy started his first season with the junior varsity girls basketball team with eight athletes and ended with “6.5,” as he said, due to injury and the loss of an athlete who transferred.

His main goal this past season was to improve each player’s skills while building the team’s cohesion. The end of the season brought the young coach a sense of pride in his team’s accomplishments and an eagerness to be back in 2017.

Seniors Serina Kaasik and Colibri Lopez were the captains. Both exhibited strong leadership while mentoring the younger players. Kaasik, who has played competitively since beginning her basketball career in 6th grade with the CYO program, was on the court “99.9 percent of time,” Coach Mundy said. Her calm example was essential to her teammates, he added, especially in the early days of the season.

Lopez was “a force down low” in the paint, the coach said, and that determination rubbed off on Melissa Frasco, a junior who exhibited toughness and hustle. Frasco was a crowd pleaser and a key component when it came to defense.

BEVBERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Junior Melissa Frasco battling for the ball.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Junior Melissa Frasco battling for the ball.

Madison Hallman, small in stature but big in influence and poised to be a team leader, was the point guard, bringing the ball up every time. Her mental toughness was key when the team was defended tightly.

Coach Mundy also identified Domily Gil and Lily Garrison as up-and-coming players. “Both were shy and timid on the court at the start of the season,” he said. “But they demonstrated confidence and scoring ability.”

Kaasik agreed with her coach. “I think the chemistry between the players and the overall fundamentals of the game started to come together as the season progressed,” she said. “ We all became more confident in our abilities and started shooting more and became more aggressive.”

Bianca Evangilista, the “.5” in the teams roster, was injured part way through the season. Nevertheless, she was a positive and energetic influence on the bench, cheering from the sideline and acting as an assistant coach.

Coach Mundy’s philosophy stressed the need to be in good physical condition. That goal led to what both Mundy and Kaasik identified as the highlight of the season: the February 3 game at Greenport/Southold. With only five players dressed because of injury and sickness, the team lost by only 4 points.

Coach Mundy said, “They pressed us the whole time, but we beat the press. We were even with them right to the end when we got in foul trouble and couldn’t stop the clock.”

Kassik added, “We were exhausted, but it was the best game we ever played.”

The season has come to an end, but Coach Mundy is looking ahead. “I want to stick with the girls, and get us back to the glory years,” he said. “We’ll stay JV for a couple of years as we rebuild numbers and continue to become more competitive.”

The proud coach also thanked Coaches Jay Card, Pete Miedema and Ian Kanarvogel for all their help and guidance.

The final word? “I enjoyed it more than I thought I would,” Coach Mundy said. “It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed seeing them get better.”

Star player Kaasik added, “Overall my time here playing at Shelter Island has been great! My biggest hope for the future is that the girls basketball team continues.”

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