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Islanders play season’s best game against Mattituck, but fall to Royals, Tuckers

The Shelter Island boys varsity basketball team traveled to Port Jefferson on Tuesday, Jan. 11 for a League VII contest, losing by a score of 71-11. Two weeks ago, the Royals had beaten the Islanders by a score of 69-11 at Shelter Island.

The Royals jumped out to a 23-2 first quarter advantage and led by a score of 39-4 at halftime.

The home team were led by Senior forward Peter Murphy with 12 points and 7 rebounds; senior forward Steven Bayer with 11 points; and sophomore guard Conor Daily with 10 points.

The Royals enjoyed a distinct height advantage and dominated the backboards.

The Islanders were led by Elijah Davidson with 5 points; Harrison Weslek with 4 points; and Luca Martinez with 2 points. The team was held to just 3 field goals throughout the game, and 5 points from the free-throw line.

The Islander’s then hosted Mattituck on Friday, Jan. 14 and played their best half of basketball this season, jumping out to a 9-5 lead midway through the 1st quarter.

The Tuckers came back and tied the score 11-11 with just 2 minutes remaining in the opening period. Mattituck then went on a 5-0 run to end the 1st quarter, posting a 16-11 advantage. 

But it was freshman guard Weslek and junior small forward Davidson who put on a great offensive display, scoring from behind the arc, as well as driving to the basket. Both of these players scored 18 of the team’s 20 first-half points.

Although Mattituck played a fairly soft 2-3 zone defense during the 1st half, the Islanders moved the ball on the offensive end extremely well. The spacing was good and the players took good shots, only committing a season-low 4 turnovers in the entire 1st half of play.

With just 3 minutes remaining in the opening half, Hayden Davidson got a steal, drove the length of the court and converted a lay-up, tying the score at 20-20. The crowd really appreciated the effort and saw some significant improvement on the offensive end of the court.

But the Tuckers were not to be denied, either, ending the first half on a 7-0 run and then outscoring the Islanders 56-13 in the 2nd half. The final score was 83-33.

Mattituck started five seniors, including guard Luke Woods who scored a game high 36 points. The Tuckers connected on seven 3-point attempts, with Woods accounting for 5 of the 7. Liam Buckley also was in double figures with 10 points, and 11 players scored for the visitors.

The Islanders were led by Weslek who scored a season high 18 points, including two 3-pointers and Elijah Davidson accounted for 13 points, including two 3-pointers as well. These two players combined for 31 of the team’s 33 points for the game. But other players played key roles with their passing, particularly in the 1st half.  

Yes, “progress is our most important product,” and the coaches must be pleased with the team’s overall growth.

The Islanders are entering a point in their schedule where they’re playing against some very large enrollment schools, compared to most other East End towns. Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson is just about five-times the size of Shelter Island.

Schools like Center Moriches and Southampton are more than eight-times the size of Shelter Island. Enrollments are determined by the number of students reported in grades 9, 10  and 11 from the fall BEDS (Basic Educational Data System) figures, which are reported to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Education Department.

Even schools such as Pierson and Southold enjoy enrollment figures that are 4.5 times the size of Shelter Island. Hopefully, Section XI Athletics will bring back League 8, which included the bottom seven enrollment schools in the county, namely, Pierson, Southold, Greenport, Ross, Smithtown Christian, Bridgehampton and Shelter Island. 

It’s more advantageous to play one another three times a season, to avoid having to play the additional four other top enrollment schools that are currently in League 7 with Shelter Island. 

Having the ability to play some non-league games against schools of your choosing, based upon ability, is a much better way to schedule, especially for small enrollment schools.