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Varsity basketball team playing strong to the finish

COURTESY PHOTO

The Shelter Island boys varsity basketball team went 1-2 this week.

On January 31, the Indians dropped a heartbreaker to Southold, falling to the Settlers 56-53 after surrendering an 8-point fourth-quarter lead at Shelter Island School.

Shelter Island controlled the game for the first three quarters. After taking a 26-20 lead into halftime, the Indians extended the lead to 36-26 early in the third quarter when Lucas Quiggley-Dunning drained a 3-pointer from the left corner.

The Settlers stormed back with an 11-2 run. Junior Nick Grathwohl capped the rally with 3-point play at the basket to trim the Islander advantage to 38-37 with two minutes to go in the third quarter.

Shelter Island reclaimed the momentum on their next possession when Dan Martin hit a long 3-pointer off an inbounds pass.

In the last minute of the third quarter, Quiggley-Dunning swished a long-range jumper, and Walter Richards converted a buzzer-beating layup to put the home team up 45-37. With eight minutes remaining, Shelter Island appeared poised to claim their first victory over Southold since 2016.

But the Settlers dominated the final period. Grathwohl scored 8 of his team-leading 19 points as Southold outscored Shelter Island 19-8 down the stretch, notching their 10th victory of the season.

“It’s a painful loss,” Coach Jay Card Jr. said after the game. “Southold is a solid team, but they’re a team we can beat. And we were in good position to win the game. But we made many defensive mistakes, and missed too many easy baskets at the rim. You can’t make those kinds of mistakes and expect to come away with the win.”

On Saturday afternoon Shelter Island bounced back to defeat the Ross Cosmos 59-40 in a non-league home game.

The game featured a balanced offensive attack with every player on the roster contributing at least 2 points. Walter Richards led the Islanders with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Dan Martin added 8 points, seven assists, and a strong defensive effort as the Indians claimed their 7th victory of the season.

Shelter Island faced a tougher challenge on Monday night, traveling to Bridgehampton for a league game against the Killer Bees.

Senior J.P. Harding led Bridgehampton with a phenomenal 34 points and 30 rebounds, as the Bees leapt out to a 13-point halftime lead and coasted to a 78-61 victory.

Coach Card was pleased with the team’s effort, despite the loss. “I was proud of the kids tonight,” he said afterwards. “They could have folded after falling behind, but they played hard to the last buzzer. And we had great support from the fans. A lot of families and students traveled here from Shelter Island, and we just about matched Bridgehampton.”

The loss dropped Shelter Island to 4-7 in league games and 7-12 overall. The Indians play their final regular-season game on Wednesday night, taking on Smithtown Christian at Shelter Island School.

Graduating seniors Eric Thilberg, Nico Seddio, Mason Marcello and Nick Young will be honored as part of Senior Night.

Shelter Island will get another chance to defeat Bridgehampton in the Class D playoffs on February 12 at Center Moriches High School.

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