The boys junior varsity and varsity basketball teams had their home-floor openers on Thursday, Dec. 21, hosting their league opponents from Smithtown Christian.
The Islanders JV team trailed the Knights at halftime by a score of 20-6. The Islanders struggled on offense throughout the game, scoring just 5 field goals, posting a 41-15 final score.
The JV team was led by Kaden Gibbs (6 points), Ryan Sanwald (4 points) and Ari Waife (4 points). The Knigths were led by Jacob Farkas, who scored a game-high 19 points.
In the varsity game, the fans watched their team fall behind 5-0 in the opening minute. But then, the Islanders experienced an offensive explosion, which has been absent for several years. Brothers Evan Weslek (13 points) and Harrison Weslek (9 points) combined for 22 points in the next 7 minutes.
The home crowd was thrilled at what it was seeing, a team effort, as the Islanders outscored the Knights by a score of 22-11 at one stretch, before a 3-point play resulted in a 22-19 advantage.
But the Knights fought back, outscoring the Islanders 23-9 during the 2nd quarter. The Knights converted on three 3-point shots, dominated the backboards, and tightened up their defense.
After halftime, the Knights went on a 15-0 run and took a commanding 57-31 lead. They outscored the Islanders 27-10 during the 3rd quarter, combining both good outside shooting and getting some easy lay-ups. But the Islanders managed a comeback, scoring 26 points in the final quarter and dominating their opponents.
Hayden Davidson, Jose Frausto, and Harrison Clark each recorded a field goal and Evan and Harrison Weslek combined for 30 second-half points, as well. The home crowd appreciated the 4th quarter effort demonstrated by the Islanders.
The Knights posted an 88-66 win, but the game seemed a lot closer than the final score.
The Islanders were led by freshman guard Evan Weslek with a game-high 33 points and junior forward Harrison Weslek with 27 points.
In the final analysis, offensively, the team played extremely well. The passing, ball handling and shooting has improved dramatically since last year. But defensively, Coach Mundy and Coach Dunning know there is a lot of work ahead, if the team wants to be competitive in the league.
Learning to defend the 3-point shot, knowing how to close-out an outside shooter, as well as fronting the low post, are just three things that the coaches will emphasize. Defenders need to learn to get lower on defense to be effective and to stop penetration, especially along the baseline.
Coach Mundy has scheduled an upcoming practice session in order to review the game video. This is an important teaching moment for the team — players can learn from their defensive mistakes by watching video. The classroom can be a great teaching and learning tool for the team.
There is definite improvement on this team and the off-season work, namely, attending both individual and team basketball camps, are obvious to those in the bleachers. If the team can remain healthy, get some additional scoring from other starters and bench players, and take some pride in their defensive effort, this team will be exciting to watch.
Their next game is at Greenport on Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 6:15 p.m. The JV game is scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start.