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Island boys varsity basketball team loses to Ross School: Showing marked improvement on offense

The Shelter Island boys varsity basketball team traveled for the second time this season to East Hampton to take on The Ross School for a Divisional 5 game on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The Islanders had dropped a close game back on Dec. 9 by a score of 48-38. Ross has renamed their mascot, and is no longer the Cosmos; late last year the school revealed their new mascot and name, the Ross Ravens.

The Ravens jumped out to a 15-10 lead in the 1st quarter of play in their latest encounter against the Islanders, with 8th grader Evan Weslek scoring 8 of the Islander’s 10 points. Ross came out in an aggressive man-to-man defense and focused on stopping Harrison Weslek — Evan’s brother — Shelter Island’s leading scorer for the season,

The Islanders played an active 2-3 zone defense, but got hurt inside due to the major size advantage of their opponents.

During the 2nd quarter, Harrison Weslek provided the team’s only 6 points, hitting on two 3-point shots from behind the arc. Once again, Ross was successful getting the ball inside and capitalized on several offensive rebounds that led to easy lay-ups.

At halftime, the Islanders trailed 29-16.

During the 2nd half, senior guard Bazzy Quigley-Dunning scored 8 of his 10 points on two big 3-point shots, as well as a basket from inside the lane. Evan Weslek played his best game of the year thus far, contributing 11 points in the 2nd half. Evan had a game-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and two 2-point shots.

The Islanders welcomed back senior forward Elijah Davidson who has missed the entire start of the season due to an injury. His presence on the court should help the team, especially on the defensive backboards, which has been a consistent weakness throughout the season.

The Ravens ended up winning by a score of 63-42. They had four starters in double figures and enjoyed a 21-to-7 advantage on 2-point field goals, which produced a 28-point advantage in the team scoring.

The Islanders dominated from beyond the arc, converting on a season-high nine 3-point field goals, compared to the Ravens who had just four, giving Shelter Island a 15-point advantage. But there’s a cost for settling for outside shots, namely a lack of driving to the basket and drawing fouls.

The Ravens shot far more free throws throughout this game because they were able to take advantage of their significant size and strength in the paint.

Nevertheless, the Islanders have improved their offensive skills, but their primary scorers are limited to just three players. The team needs to focus on setting screens and gaining a more balanced attack on the offensive end.

They handle and pass the ball much better, but need to understand the importance of spacing, screening, v-cutting, and balancing the floor in order to improve offensively.

Coach Zach Mundy and Coach Jay Card Jr. emphasized these points at the end of the game with their team. Finally, defensive rebounding is another major point of emphasis; it takes all five players to box-out, especially in a zone defense.

The good news is that the team continues to improve. The Islanders’ next game is Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6:15 p.m. at the Shelter Island gymnasium.