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Year in Review: Basketball team battled way to winning season

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Billy Boeklen, working off a pick set by Semaj Lawrence, driving to the hoop.
Billy Boeklen, working off a pick set by Semaj Lawrence, driving to the hoop.

Now that the season is over, Shelter Island High School boys varsity basketball Coach Jay Card Jr. said he was satisfied his squad accomplished many of its original goals.

What’s not satisfying is failing to achieve the ultimate goal — a Class D County championship. But the Bridgehampton Killer Bees — the defending New York State champions — were too tough for the Indians in the championship game on February 13.

Nevertheless, Shelter Island finished in third place in League VIII with a solid 8-4 record, behind Bridgehampton and Stony Brook, with both of those teams going 10-2. Overall, the Indians posted 11 victories for the 2015-16 season.

The highlights of the year were beating Pierson and Stony Brook late in the season by 1 point in each game. The team also recorded both home and away victories against East Rockaway, Southold, Greenport and Port Jefferson.

The Indians also beat Hampton Bays earlier in the season in a non-league game.

The sudden death in January of Southold’s varsity coach, Phil Reed, was a shock to our players. The two teams have always shared a bond, plus Coach Reed was a role model for the entire league. He will be deeply missed by many in League VIII and throughout the East End community.

Based on a 5-year study of Shelter Island varsity basketball statistics, this year’s team scored more points (58.63), had more assists (12.7) and shot better from 2-point range (49.3 percent), 3-point range (34.2 percent) and the foul line (68 percent), than any other team in the preceding five years.

But this year’s team gave up an average of 60.47 points per game, the highest total in five years. It’s easy to see why, in light of the statistics, that individual and team defense will be a point of emphasis for Coach Card leading up to the 2016-7 season.

Expressing pride in his entire team, the coach singled out seniors Tristan Wissemann and Billy Boeklen for receiving accolades from the Suffolk County Coaches Association (SCCA). Wissemann earned All-League, All-Conference and All-County honors and was voted Player of League (VIII) by the coaches.

He ended his 3-year varsity career by scoring 1,240 points, shooting 52 percent from 2-point range and 76 percent from the foul line. Wissemann also posted 174 assists, 70 steals, 89 blocks and 652 rebounds during his varsity career.

Boeklen also earned All-League honors for a second straight year, totaling 594 career points, grabbing 170 rebounds, handing out 154 assists, as well as making 70 steals during his 2.2 years of varsity experience.

The honor of “most improved player” on this year’s team is senior guard Jack Kimmelmann. He proved to be a real asset at both ends of the court. As the season progressed, so did his confidence. Although he wasn’t a big scorer, Kimmelmann hit big shots in games that were hanging in the balance.

Peter Kropf, another of our senior guards, also improved as the season progressed. Kropf was honored by the SCCA as a scholar athlete for League VIII. He kept his turnovers to a minimum and managed to grab some key offensive rebounds in closely contested games, helping his team to victory.

Semaj Lawrence, a junior, was the team’s second leading rebounder (181) and third leading scorer (165 points). He also led the team in blocked shots and played a key role in many games this season, gaining the accolade of the “X” factor for his team.

Luke Gilpin, a sophomore transfer from the Stony Brook School, was a great addition to our team. An extremely valuable sixth-man, Gilpin, provided energy at both ends of the court. Unfortunately, a medical issue sidelined Luke during the second half of league-play. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery for the coming season.

Seniors Max Moroz and Henry Lang, as well as junior Will Garrison, made up the remainder of Coach Card’s bench. All three of these fine young men battled every night in practice and combined for 26 points during the season. Although they saw limited time, all three played a key role in the success of the team.

Coach Card noted how proud he was of the junior varsity players. Coach Ian Kanarvogel was challenged to manage the largest JV squad in many years. Both coaches saw a steady growth of skill and dedication by the JV team. Coach Card, losing seven of his nine varsity players, will rely on many of these JV players as they make their way to the varsity level.

Lastly, a special thanks to our official scorers, Kelly Colligan and Connor Rice, for all their hard work and loyal service. A huge thanks goes out to Peter Miedema, Jimbo Theinert and Ian Kanarvogel for providing their input and special talents to our varsity and JV programs. All three men spent countless hours assisting at practices, games and scouting our opponents.

To Cindy Belt and Mark Cappellino — we appreciated your outstanding basketball articles in the Reporter and for helping to keep stats as well.

Finally, to all our fans, cheerleaders, parents, chaperones and school administrators, the coaches and team thank you for your loyal support throughout our season.