The two week holiday vacation didn’t slow down the Shelter island girls’ basketball team one bit.
On Monday, Jan. 6, the first day back after the long break, the Pierson Whalers visited and Shelter Island walked away with a convincing 24-15 win.
The gym was decorated with a large banner for Spirit Week, asking “Hey SI, Are You Ready?” Posters for each of the athletes on the girls and boys basketball teams also lined the walls.
Pierson scored quickly, going up 2-0, but did not score again for over 15 minutes. Shelter Island’s scoring started slowly, but their smothering defense gave Pierson trouble, the coach calling for a timeout to get her players out of a jam. Lyng Coyne is particularly fierce, while Valeria Reyes’s quick hands often were able to tap the ball away from opponents. Audrey Wood, top rebounder in the game with eight, showed her growth by boxing out the free throw shooter and grabbing the rebound at the end of the first quarter, denying the Whalers a chance for a put-back. The home team was up 7-2 at the end of the first.
The cheer squad encouraged the crowd and team with their “Let’s Get Tough” cheer, and the team wasted no time doing so. Bella Springer grabbed a steal just 8 seconds into the stanza, one of a team-high five for the day. Mary Gennari moves well off the ball and always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. She quickly got open to let V. Reyes pass the ball out of a tricky double-team situation. Shelter Island was up 15-2 at the half.
Pierson came back to the court for the second half determined to make things harder for their hosts. They started to press, putting pressure on point guard Dayla Reyes. The home team adjusted quickly, and with the Whalers occupied on backcourt defense, Bella Springer was able to race down the court, getting open for a couple of long passes which she dropped in for points. Grace Olinkiewicz, back on the court with her right knee in a brace, enthusiastically grabbed a rebound, and also had two steals.
The younger members of the team are getting some nice playing experience. Maddie Springer has quick reflexes, and will often grab a rebound and launch the ball directly back up to the basket. At one point, Bella Springer had an open shot, but with a double-digit lead, did the right thing and looked for younger sister Maddie to give her a chance to score. Pierson’s shots started to fall, and they outscored the Islanders 8-4 in the third period, but the Blue and Gray still held a 19-10 lead heading into the final quarter.
The teams played evenly for the last 8 minutes, each scoring 5 points apiece. D. Reyes had a nice assist as Audrey Wood got open in the low point, and banked a shot in for a 22-11 lead. Mary Gennari was big on the boards with three of her four coming in the final quarter in quick succession to round out the 24-15 win.
Valeria Reyes was high scorer, with 9 points. Dayla Reyes had 7 points, and Bella Springer added 6. Audrey Wood chipped in 2.
The next home game is Jan. 10 at 5:15 p.m. against the Babylon Panthers, followed by a Jan. 14 match up against Southampton at 4 p.m. Come and cheer on the team!