Shelter Island boys varsity and junior varsity basketball teams hosted Port Jefferson on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
Unfortunately, both varsity Coach Zack Mundy and JV Coach Matthew Dunning were under the weather and not available to coach. But Erin Mulrain, who is the co-coach of the JV team, stepped up and took the reins for both teams.
In the JV contest, Shelter Island only dressed six players and did their best to be competitive, losing 51-15 to the Royals. Kaitln Gulluscio and Sophie Clark combined for 8 of the team’s 15 points, with Hayden Davidson leading all Islander scorers with 5 points.
The Islanders actually held a 3-2 lead early in the game, when Sebastian Romero hit a big 3-pointer, but then found themselves down 27-9 at halftime. The Islanders were outscored 24-6 in the second half due to poor shooting, but managed to hustle and give a solid effort to the very end.
In the varsity game, the Islanders only had 6 players dressed, while the Royals dressed 11 players. Not only did Port Jefferson enjoy a height advantage — they have nine players 6-feet or taller — they have a deep and talented bench, as well.
The Royals’ varsity Coach Peter Meehan played all 11 players throughout the game and all 11 scored. Coach Meehan praised sophomore guard Conor Daily, who had a team high 5 assists and 2 steals. Junior forward Luke Dickhuth led the Royals with 14 points, but only played about half the game.
The Royals posted an impressive 69-11 win, never utilizing any full-court pressure, but rather played man-to-man defense as well as a 2-3 zone. Their defensive intensity created 18 turnovers in the first half, and 31 for the game. They also dominated the offensive glass, securing 13 rebounds in the first half, many of them leading to easy baskets in the paint.
The Islanders struggled on the offensive end of the court. Obviously, ball handling and passing skills need further development.
But the effort seems to never fade, and their ability to handle frustration helps them to compete.
The Islanders were led by Evan Weslek and Sebastian Romero who combined for 6 of the team’s 11 points.
Due to the new structure of the league, the Islanders are now playing much larger enrollment schools, such as Port Jefferson, Babylon, Center Moriches and Southampton. Many of these schools have enrollments that are six to eight times more than Shelter Island.
Those discrepancies don’t happen with the larger enrollment schools. Obviously, this comes at a time when the Islanders are seeking to rebuild their boys and girls basketball programs. If high school athletics is about “leveling the playing field,” then something needs to happen to correct these unfair practices.