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Porters and Ravens defeat Islanders: Coaches stress ‘blue collar’ basketball

The Shelter Island boys varsity basketball team lost a well-fought game to their cross-bay rivals, the Greenport Porters, and one at home to the Ross School Ravens.

On January 28, the Islanders took the ferry to Greenport to take on the Porters for a Division 5 game. Playing against the Porters’ starting five, the Islanders found themselves down 26-7 after the opening quarter, with their first bucket coming on a superb pass from Hayden Davidson to Harrison Weslek. Harrison gave a strong head fake and connected on a 15-foot jump shot. Davidson then hit a 3-point shot just before the buzzer sounded to end the 1st quarter.

Greenport sat their starting five for the 2nd quarter and the game became much more competitive.  Highlights included junior center Sebastian Romero’s much improved defense and rebounding, as well as hitting two for two from the free throw line.

Sebastian Romero at the free throw line on the road against Greenport. (Credit: Jim Colligan)

Daniel Hernandez came off the bench to add some additional offense, making both of his field goal attempts. The Islanders closed the scoring margin, but still trailed 40-17 at halftime.

The primary highlights in the 2nd half included Evan Weslek’s game high 9 of his 11 points and Harrison Weslek’s 8 of his 10 points, which totaled 21 of the team’s 37 points for the game.

The best highlight of this game came from Bazzy Quigley Dunning. After hitting a huge 3-pointer, he made a baseline move and finished on a reverse lay up that might have been his best move of the year.

The final score was 73-35. The Porters had a balanced scoring attack, with 13 of their 14 players scoring. They played a fairly active high 2-3 zone that put pressure on the Islander guards as the ball crossed half court.

Positives for the  Islanders was doing a better job attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. It was the first time this season that the team went into the bonus due to seven or more opponent fouls in a half.

The coaches have been emphasizing the need to be more aggressive at the offensive end of the court and not settling for the long-range jump shots.

On Monday, the Islanders hosted the Ravens from the Ross School, and played their best defensive game of the year, especially in the opening 10 minutes.

The Islanders actually took the lead 13-10 on an Evan Weslek 3-point shot with 7:32 remaining in the 1st half. Harry Clark was tremendous on the defensive end and on the backboards. The Islanders struggled offensively, but their man-to-man defense was exceptional.

The Weslek brothers combined for 10 of the team’s 1st half points and Bazzy Quiqly Dunning also converted on a 3-point shot.

During halftime, junior center Romero provided his teammates with an emotional plea, which was designed to challenge the team to come back and win the game. It was well-received by the team as they exited the locker room.

The 2nd half was pretty much a blueprint of the 1st, with the Ravens enjoying a 27-13 advantage. Offensively, the Islanders need to learn to set screens and V-cut off those screens, penetrating into the paint for some easy baskets.

Overall, Coach Zach Mundy and Coach Mike Dunning stayed positive with their players and stressed the importance of “not dropping their heads” when things don’t go as planned.

Shelter Island has always prided itself as being a “blue collar” team, which means that taking charges, playing tough defense, diving for lose-balls, and fighting for every rebound, are the true definition of blue collar.

The coaches continue to emphasize the importance of working hard, staying focused and improving as a team. That philosophy will pay dividends.