The one thing that will be remembered about this 2021 winter sports season is just how compact it was, lasting about one month.
COVID-19 has played a major role in shaping and limiting the length of all three sports seasons here in Section XI/Suffolk County.
“Short and sweet” is how the boys varsity basketball team will describe this season, playing just an eight-game schedule, which included a forfeiture by Pierson High School. The Islanders finished in 4th place in an eight-team league, with a 4-4 overall record.
The team lost their last game to Smithtown Christian at home by a score of 70-50. Josh Mangum, a very talented guard for the visitors, led all scorers with 28 points and 5 assists. Teammate DenMark Simon added 12 points for the Knights.
Once again, it was Junior Gill who led the scoring for the Islanders with 21 points on 10 field goals from the floor. Senior Bradley Batten added 13 points, including three 3-point field goals, and senior Nick Mamisashvili contributed 8 points in the losing effort.
Coach Peter Miedema was pleased with his team’s overall effort, at practices and during this shortened league season. Not being able to adequately prepare for the season with limited practices, as well as being able to scrimmage and play some non-league games, was frustrating for the coach and his players.
Nevertheless, it did provide the team an opportunity to play and regain some small sense of “normalcy” during this world-wide pandemic. Since The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced a cancellation of the regional and state tournaments, Suffolk County is allowing a one-game “League Championship” to be played by the top two finishers in each league. The League VIII Championship will feature undefeated Mattituck (8-0) against Port Jefferson (8-1).
Sadly, almost all of our varsity players will graduate this June and fielding a varsity boys basketball team for next season does not look promising. Coach Miedema is determined to rebuild the program along with Junior Varsity Coach Zack Mundy and Junior High School Coach Jay Card Jr.
Finally, Coach Miedema wants to recognize the tremendous season Junior Gill had this year. Gill was one of the top players in League VIII and Batten really stepped up his game, especially with his outside shooting.
Speaking from a fan’s perspective, the Shelter Island faithful really missed not being in the stands this year to cheer on their team since fan attendance was not permitted by Section XI. Surely, it was also difficult for the players and their parents.
On behalf of the Shelter Island community, we wish all of the players the very best.