Well, that was fast.
The basketball season, cut short by COVID-19 restrictions, wrapped up at the end of February, just one month after it started. However, judging from the smiles and laughter from the Shelter Island girls varsity basketball team, it mattered little that the season was short and the learning curve steep.
The final game was against the Greenport/Southold Porters on Feb. 24. The game started with the appropriate pomp and circumstances. Coach Brian Springer thanked his only senior, Lydia Shepherd for her work and leadership on the team.
The players were introduced, and select choir members offered a beautiful four-part harmony rendition of the National Anthem. Then, with a hearty “SI on three: 1-2-3 SI!” the players took the court for their last game of the season.
Bella Springer entered the center circle for the opening tip, and they were off. The refs, one of which sported a matching black and white striped mask, jogged up and down the court keeping an eye on the action.
Starting point guard Dayla Reyes was sidelined with a sore ankle, and sported a camera instead of a ball. Sophie Clark has proven herself to be a tough competitor, and is now part of the starting five.
The Porters got off to a quick start, scoring both from the paint and beyond the arc. Their defense was tough, and the Islanders had trouble penetrating inside. Luckily, Shelter Island isn’t afraid to put up 3-point shots, and Valeria Reyes’ swish got the team on the board. Franny Regan, who has kept the book for the team all season, noted it with satisfaction.
Angelina Rice, quick on defense, broke up a Porters inbound play, while Mary Gennari grabbed two of her four rebounds in the first quarter.
The second quarter proved the best scoring for the team. Sophie Clark scored 5 points in just over a minute, while pulling down 3 rebounds.
At the half, the high-flying cheerleaders pumped up the squad, reminding them to “Rock with the Grey and Roll with the Blue.”
During the third quarter Madi Springer, who has battled down low on the court all season, picked up a rebound, while captain V. Reyes showed her leadership skills as she directed first-year player Mackenzie Speece-Langendal on defense. Kaitlyn Gulluscio got in on the action, making a steal. In the 4th quarter B. Springer made an awesome no-look pass to Reyes who promptly sank the 3-point shot.
Despite the lopsided loss, the team showed growth and determination. Seven of the eight players snagged rebounds, with B. Springer tops with 6. V. Reyes was top scorer with 12, and Sophie Clark added 7 points.
Coach Springer thanked everyone who worked so hard to make the season possible. Similar to the famous proverb, “Fall down seven times, get up eight,” the coach reflected: “The kids learned to not be deterred by failing, picking themselves up again and again to improve. I commend my team for this, as success is not achieved without failures along the way.”
As the game ended, the team gathered their gear for the last time. They had just five games together this year, but the season has restored a sense of normalcy for the students. Live streaming instead of fans in the stands, along with masks, hand sanitizers, and wiped-down balls, can’t stand in the way of the lessons sports teaches.