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High School basketball wraps for season: Players learned to handle adversity with pride

The Shelter Island boys basketball season came to an end on Thursday, Feb. 10 at Pierson High School. The varsity game was canceled and the Islanders dropped their final JV game, 63-24 to the Whalers.

The Islanders fell behind 30-3 after the 1st quarter but outscored their opponents 13-7 in the 2nd quarter, trailing 37-16 at halftime. Eleven of the 12 Whalers scored, with Lance Schroeder leading all scorers with 13 points.

Once again, the Islanders were led by freshman guard Harrison Weslek with 13 points, and junior guard Bazzy Quigley-Dunning with 7 points. Luca Martinez and James Durran each contributed a field goal to round out the scoring.

The Islanders ended their season with a 1-17 record at the varsity level and a 1-13 record at the JV level. But Varsity Coach Zack Mundy, and Mathew Dunning and Erin Mulrain, the junior varsity coaches, all agreed that both teams made important strides as the winter season progressed.

On the offensive end, the spacing and passing definitely improved and there were less turnovers. Both teams struggled to score, but they did improve their shot selection. They also learned how to run an offense and get the ball inside. Unfortunately, both teams were overly guard-oriented and lacked skilled players that could exploit the lane and get to the basket with consistency.

Defensively, both teams made progress in the second half of the season, learning to take pride in their defense; learning how to get low and stop dribble penetration into the lane; the importance of fronting the low post; and learning how to block-out an offensive player. Those are all skills that need to be improved on moving forward.

Finally, the coaches know that equally important is that guards need to learn how to get back quickly on defense and to limit the number of fast-break baskets, which plagued the teams all year.

It’s worth noting the overall positive attitudes of the varsity and junior varsity players, who learned to handle both adversity and frustration, even though there were some very lopsided games. It would have been easy to display poor sportsmanship and bad attitudes and/or even quit. But these teams didn’t.

Good things happen if one just continues to put forth the effort and work hard. The overtime victory against the Greenport at home on February 8 brought smiles, cheers, standing ovations, and relief to both the team and their loyal fans.

They dominated the overtime period and just “refused to lose,” an old motto from UMASS under John Calipari.

Coach Mundy is eagerly looking forward to rebuilding the basketball program and have his players involved in the off-season. Successful high school basketball programs challenge their players to work on basic skills and identify weaknesses.

Attending summer basketball camps, participating in team summer league games, and developing a personalized basketball practice routines, are the basis for both individual and team improvement.

The good news is that everyone is returning next year, except for senior Emmett Cummings, who played on the varsity this season. Let’s hope that these young men and women are willing to develop good work habits and make significant improvement prior to November 2022.

There are many former Shelter Island players who continue to play basketball as adults, who would love to “give-back” to the basketball program. The current coaching staff needs to reach out to these adult resources in order to help rebuild both the boys and girls programs.

In addition, there are former basketball coaches who are also willing to assist as well. The rebuilding of both these basketball programs needs to be a team effort. The Shelter Island community and fan base will be very supportive and needs to be tapped.

A special thank you to our tremendous cheerleading team and to the loyal fans for their continued support throughout the winter season.