The locker room was filled with excitement and joy after the Islanders beat The Ross School on Jan. 12, 50-42, building confidence and pride in both the players and their coaches.
This wasn’t just a good win. It was the first win in more than a year by a gallant team. A hard-fought road game full of surprises, it was a “Friday Nights Lights” moment that helped the team earn some much needed self-respect.
What were some of the big surprises at this game? Well, senior guard Hayden Davidson led the Islanders with a season high 19 points, including five 3-pointers and then converting on all four free throws late in the game to put his team up by 6 and 8 points in the final minute of play.
Davidson played a solid game and as a senior, he took the pressure off Evan and Harrison Weslek on the offensive end of the floor.
But it was Jose Frausto, playing the power forward position, who contributed in so many ways. Frausto defines the term “blue collar” player, and basketball coaches love them. He scored a career high 8 points, grabbed key rebounds at both ends of the court, as well as diving on the court for loose balls, not only gaining possession but passing the ball to teammates for easy baskets.
Frausto was joined by teammates who played solid defense, grabbed numerous rebounds and threw some great passes for easy baskets, namely, senior Leo Dougherty and sophomore Harry Clark. A game highlight included Clark grabbing a rebound and throwing a perfect outlet pass to Harrison Weslek. He dribbled between two Ross defenders and finished with a running lay-up.
There is no secret that both Harrison and Evan have carried the team, especially at the offensive end of the court. Coach Zack Mundy has been stressing the importance of others stepping up and becoming more involved. Opponents have scouted the Islanders, focusing their attention on stopping the Weslek brothers. But this game clearly demonstrated that Davidson and Frausto have accepted that challenge; they combined for 27 of the team’s 50 points. No one could have predicted that prior to this game.
This game was tight throughout, but the Islanders limited their turnovers and played hard at both ends of the court. The Ravens starting center is a senior who stands 6’7” tall and scored a team high 19 points. Much of his scoring came from offensive rebounds and working the low post. It will be a focus for the Islanders who will play the Ravens twice more in the coming weeks.
Finally, Coach Mundy did a superb job utilizing his bench and calling timeouts at key moments. Dressing only seven players poses challenges for any basketball coach, but utilizing timeouts wisely helps rest players and maintain focus, especially in closely contested games.
The coaches reminded the team to utilize the clock to their advantage, especially late in the game after their best player, Harrison Weslek fouled out. But the Ravens chose to deliberately foul the wrong guy, namely Davidson, who calmly went to the line and hit four huge free throws to seal the deal.
This was by all accounts, a strong team effort, which will serve the team well during the remainder of the season.
The JV team played well but missed on some good scoring opportunities, losing 39-22 to the Ravens. The Islanders shot only 4 of 14 from the free throw line and failed to execute in the paint, but Coach Dunning will continue to work with his young team in the coming weeks.