The Shelter Island School boys varsity basketball game originally scheduled for Dec. 16 at Bridgehampton School, had to be rescheduled to the morning of Dec. 17 at 10 a.m., due to extreme storm-related tides that made it unsafe for the school bus to board the ferry due to the angle of the ramp.
Interesting to note, the boys basketball program at Bridgehampton has fielded just a varsity team, composed of 8th through 12th grade student athletes. The Killer Bees have been one of the most successful small school basketball programs in all of New York State.
Their 2022-23 roster currently has four seniors and two juniors, two sophomores, and six freshmen, for a total of 14 players on their varsity roster.
Shelter Island has tried to maintain a varsity and junior varsity team, but it’s been difficult to field more than seven or eight players on each team. Obviously, there are pros and cons that can be debated as to which is more advantageous — it may be time to re-examine this question for Shelter Island.
In the 1st quarter of the Dec. 17 game, the Killer Bees built an impressive 15-2 lead, but the game appeared to be much more even. Bridgehampton utilized an effective man-to-man defense and Shelter Island a 2-1-2 zone.
The Islanders played hard and maintained good defensive pressure throughout the 1st half. But the Islanders found it difficult to finish off on some good field goal attempts; their shooting simply went cold.
But early in the 2nd quarter, senior guard Bazzy Quigley-Dunning sparked his team with two strong moves to the basket and a 3-pointer for a total of 7 points.
That seemed to ignite both 8th grader Evan Weslek and 10th grader Harrison Weslek, who combined for five field goals, two from behind the arc, totaling 12 additional points. Unfortunately, the Bridgehampton brothers Mikhail and Jai Feaster answered the call, combining for 15 of the 20 Killer Bee points in the 2nd quarter.
Bridgehampton enjoyed a 36-21 lead by halftime. Just as a reminder, the halftime score last year was 55-5 in favor of Bridgehampton.
In the 3rd quarter, Bridgehampton turned up their defensive pressure, and fatigue became a problem for the Islanders. That led to a season high 10 turnovers in the 3rd quarter resulting in many easy scoring opportunities for the Killer Bees.
In addition, Bridgehampton dominated the offensive backboards and got many second and third scoring opportunities, especially from inside the lane, to take a convincing 56-27 advantage.
Offensively, the Islanders connected on six field goals, including two 3-point shots for a total of 15 points in the 4th quarter. But the Killer Bees lived up to its name and simply ran numerous fast break baskets for a total of 26 points.
Coach Ron White was able to go to his bench and bring in fresh players who were hungry to score. The final score — 81-42 — may be a little misleading.
There is no doubt that this year’s Islander team has improved offensively. It is also evident that they can play an active defense, but not for 32 minutes. Coach Zach Mundy, JV Coach Matthew Dunning, and volunteer Coach Jay Card Jr. are fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their teams. Their theme is all about one thing, namely, “improvement”. Both individual — as well as team — skill development will drive practices in the coming weeks.
Raising the basketball “IQ” is also needed, which basically means that players need to “know-the-game” if they’re going to raise their expectations moving forward.
Bridgehampton had three players in double figures: Kris Vinski, a 5th-year varsity player with 21 points; Jai Feaster, a freshman with 15 points; and Mikhail Feaster with 12 points.
Shelter Island also had three players in double figures: Harrison Weslek had 14 points; Evan Weslek had 13 points; and Bazzy Quigley-Dunning had 11 points.
Coach Mundy praised freshman Harry Clark who came off the bench and, although he picked-up three quick fouls, provided toughness and aggressive defense.
Senior Luca Martinez also did a good job on the backboards, grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds for Shelter Island.