A Friday, February 9 home game against Smithtown Christian marked the end of the Shelter Island School varsity basketball season.
The junior varsity’s season ended earlier in week.
For senior athletes Ray Wesley Congdon, Daniel Boeklen and Luke Gilpin, the Friday night game was the last of their high school careers.
The players commitment and contributions to the team were acknowledged by Coach Jay Card Jr. in a small ceremony before the game and Gilpin’s co-captain, sophomore Daniel Martin, shared touching words about each of the three players. School Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio also took the opportunity to honor senior Isabella Sherman, who had spent all of her high school career as a member of the cheer squad until this year when the squad was disbanded due to lack of participation.
Friday’s game ended in another loss for Shelter Island, 71 to 60 to Smithtown Christian. Starting for the Indians were sophomores Martin and Lucas Quigley-Dunning, joined by seniors Gilpin, Congdon and Boeklen.
The first quarter was an up tempo performance by the home team. Congdon scored his first baskets of the season, earning a standing ovation from the fans. The Indians led from the start and by as the buzzer sounded ending the first quarter, the score was 21-12 with the home team ahead.
The Indians maintained their lead throughout the second quarter, and went to the locker room up 37-26 It was only during the final quarter that Smithtown Christian pulled ahead. Shelter Island’s dedicated fan base was anything but deterred. Signs, yells and stomping feet had the gym rocking and former varsity cheerleaders Sherman and Sophia Strauss initiated a chorus of a classic Shelter Island cheer.
Coach Card deemed the match a classic “tale of two halves,” and attributed the disappointment of the second half to “a drop in energy.” More specifically, he named Smithtown Christian’s higher accuracy level from the foul line, making 20 of 22 free throws, while Shelter Island only scored 14 of 20.
“We were living and dying on the outside shot. We got cold,” Coach Card said.
Although the 2017-18 season did not see many victories, it was one of measurable improvement. At the start of the season Coach Card stated it’s theme was to be “taller, faster, stronger,” and after the game he reiterated a slightly revised version of that sentiment: “We got a little taller, a little faster, and a little stronger. If you saw us at the start of the year through the season, overall the guys got better.”
Coach Card and his players are making plans for next season. In the meanwhile, they plan on participating in a spring season, a fall league, and attending a summer camp in Massachusetts.