The Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball team rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Smithtown-Christian 55-51 in the final game of the regular season on Wednesday evening at Shelter Island School.
It was also Senior Night, and the Class of 2019 varsity players was honored at half time.
Shelter Island came out flat in the opening minutes. Smithtown Christian limited the Islanders to just five points in the first quarter and took commanding 31-16 lead into halftime.
“Our effort was good, but our shots just weren’t falling,” Coach Jay Card Jr said after the game. “It was like there was cellophane over the rim.”
During the halftime break, Coach Card challenged the players to use a full court press on defense and take the ball to the hoop on offense.
The team responded with an 8-0 run to start the second half. By the end of the third quarter, the Islanders had trimmed Smithtown’s lead to 37-33.
Shelter Island kept the momentum going down the stretch, taking its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter. Eric Walter Richards and Dan Martin made four clutch free-throws in the closing minutes, and Lucas Quiggley-Dunning made a crucial defensive stop to force a key turnover as the Indians held on to claim the victory.
Shelter Island finished the regular season with a record of 5-7 in league games and 8-12 overall. Looking back, Coach Card is pleased with the team’s effort and performance, but regrets the four close losses against Southold and Pierson.
“If we had won a couple of those close games, we would have finished with a winning record,” he said. “But we’ve played hard all season and we’ve been competitive in almost every game. I think anyone watching us would agree that we’ve made steady improvement.”
Shelter Island will take on the Bridgehampton Killer Bees in a playoff game at Center Moriches High School on February 12.