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Basketball loss follows four impressive wins

The Middle School Boys Basketball team lost its first game of the year after posting four impressive wins over Mattituck Gold, Greenport Purple, Mattituck Blue, and Greenport Purple again.  Coach Peter Miedema was pleased with his team’s early successes but injuries at the boys’ JV and varsity levels, resulted in the promotion of the highly talented eighth grader, Evan Weslek to the high school level.

Nevertheless, the middle school team did post a couple of wins after Evan was moved up but definitely felt his absence during the 41-25 loss on their home court to Southold this past Monday.

During the first quarter, Shelter Island played a tough man-to-man defense and limited the Settlers to just 2 points during the opening 7-minutes, posting a 7-2 first quarter lead.

But things began to change in the 2nd quarter when the Settlers held the Islanders to just 2 points, on their way to a 12-9 halftime lead.  The low scoring first half was the result of good defense by both teams, as well as lots of missed easy baskets from inside the lane.   The Settlers utilized a 1-2-2 zone defense during the 2nd quarter of play and tried to clog-up the middle, denying the Islanders better scoring opportunities.

Early in the third quarter, both teams caught fire and exchanged leads but every time the Islanders cut the deficit to 1-point, the Settlers responded with a key basket. But it was CJ Bailey who scored 10 of his game high 13 points in the third quarter that turned the tide for the Settlers.  

Shelter Island was led by Nathan Sanwald who scored 10 of his team’s game high 12 points in the second half. Nathan scored several long-range shots from behind the arc, as well as driving into the lane for several easier baskets.  The 3-point shot does not exist at the middle school level; all made field goals count as 2-points. 

The Islanders dressed eight players for this game and had  six players score.  Coach Miedema managed to utilize all eight players in both halves of the game. The Islanders were outscored 29 – 16 in the second half, as the Settlers controlled the backboards and took advantage of their fast-break opportunities, scoring 7 of their 13 field goals off the fast break.

The team still is only half way through its season and has five remaining games on their schedule.  Coach Miedema is continuing to stress the basic skills with his players, learning to play with more aggression and toughness. On the offensive end, he wants players to share the ball, drive it to the basket, and to learn how to finish shots, especially in the lane.

Overall, the skill level of the team has continued to improve. But developing good practice habits, both offensively and defensively is key to real improvement. Learning the game and learning how to communicate with  teammates are key ingredients in improving as a team. We all wish the team continued success.