Friday the 13th turned out to be lucky for the Shelter Island girls’ junior varsity basketball team. The Greenport squad was visiting, the cheer squad was in good voice, and after overcoming a slow start, the team beat the Porters 34-26.
That comfortable winning margin was not at all expected during the first quarter as Greenport jumped out to a 10-3 lead. However, as the players warmed up, their ball movement became more fluid and shots started to drop. During the second quarter, players hustled on defense, and senior Lyng Coyne’s quick feet and hands soon netted a steal. Classmate Audrey Wood is making her mark as a rebounder and free throw shooter, with her 4 points all coming from converting foul shots into scoring opportunities. The team scored 11 points to the Porters 4, evening the score 14-14 at the half.
Ninth graders Madison Springer and Mary Gennari got into the action during the third quarter, with each pulling down a rebound. Sophomores Valeria and Dayla Reyes traded off duties at the critical play-making point guard position. Valeria had a nice pass to her sister, and Dayla took advantage of some nice screening by the rest of the team to cruise up the middle of the paint and make a bucket to put the team up 17-16 to claim the lead for good. Dayla had another shot at the buzzer of the third to pull the team to 21-16.
In the fourth quarter both teams started scoring more. Izzy Fonseca stole the ball, then passed it out of the crush on the edge of the court to open up the play. Bella Springer had a beautiful defensive rebound, then took it end-to-end to get 2 points. Greenport scored 6 unanswered points within 30 seconds with 2.5 minutes left in the game, but the Islanders quickly added 3 of their own to get the 34-26 win.
Five players contributed to the scoring, with D. Reyes notching a team high 11 points. V. Reyes had the team high 5 rebounds, while Coyne nabbed the most steals with 4.
Grace Olinkiewicz, who kept score this game, and Lydia Shepherd, are also on the team. Lydia is one of five athletes who are playing dual sports this winter. She and Mary Gennari are both also on the cheer squad, with Lydia cheering during home games, while Mary cheers at away games. Lyng Coyne, Madi Springer and Izzy Fonseca also run winter track.
Brian Springer is the new head coach this year. Laura Mayo, a familiar face on the sidelines, is assisting in a volunteer capacity this season. Coach Springer played for the boys’ team in the mid-1990s, and is looking forward to seeing each athlete grow her skills. While some players specialize, he likes to move the girls around so they get a sense of each position.
The team certainly plays hard, and they will be developing more plays over the long holiday break. Coach Springer isn’t a huge fan of set plays. “Plays are too predictable. Basketball is a game of unpredictability,” he said, adding that he likes to allow the flexibility to let the ball and the athletes determine what shots will work well.
The coach believes that sports teaches life lessons.
“When you lose you have to keep your head up and not take it personally,” he said.
Currently, the team is 2-2, with 10 games to play. The next two home games are against Center Moriches on Dec. 18, and Pierson/Bridgehampton on Jan. 6, both at 4 p.m.