12/16/11 12:45pm

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | Junior varsity boys basketball team members Carter Brigham, Matthew Dunning, Matthew Murphy and Sawyer Clark get last second instructions from Coach Jay Card on how to finish the game with a win.

The boys junior varsity basketball team kicked off the season on Sunday, December 11 at home with a thrilling and solid win over a strong East Rockaway team, 35-31.

The game started out with good intensity from both teams. Drew Garrison hit two 3-pointers and the score was tied at the end of the first quarter.

The boys played a nice aggressive defense that they switched up almost every trip down the floor. That helped them take a 4-point lead into the locker room at the half.

They came out a little flat for the third quarter and allowed their opponents to cut the lead to 1 at the start of the fourth quarter. At 1:57 remaining in the game, the lead was gone and the Indians were down by 2.

The Rockers had foul trouble and Sawyer Clark and co-captains Matthew Dunning and Drew Garrison hit big foul shots going down the stretch.

Drew led all scorers with 14 points, including two foul shots with 15 seconds left to break a tie score.

The Indians then came out with good defense and forced a turnover with seven seconds left. The next inbounds play resulted in a easy breakaway basket by Drew to seal the game as a last-second shot from half court by East Rockaway fell short.

The Indian bench play was strong. Starter Matthew Dunning got into early foul trouble but exchange student Bac Tran and Matthew Murphy played some very aggressive defense.

Johnny Sturges came off the bench and played solid under the boards. It was nice to watch our bench players contribute. They didn’t score but figured prominently into the game.

The team’s defensive intensity was high. They communicated well on both offense and defense. Riley Willumsen handled the point well and did a nice job getting open shots for the team.

Carter Brigham also made some nice buckets and ended with 5 points. Sawyer Clark had 8 points with three of them important foul shots. The next game is away at Southold on Friday.

10/30/11 3:00pm

Following the long weekend holiday break, we were off to Noyac Country Club to play Pierson on October 12 in a non-league match.

The forecast looked horrible, with a small window of opportunity to squeeze it in. Noyac is a beautiful golf course and a true privilege to be there. On the difficulty scale based on the pin locations, it’s high but they had a player, Harrison Bayromi, shoot 39. We didn’t play particularly well, especially when the heavy downpour came at the end. Match score was Pierson 9–Shelter Island 0.

Back to league play on October 13, we were off to play Greenport/Southold at Island’s End. Our two teams get along very well and we were looking forward to the match. We were a player down, with Myles Clark away from the team on a school trip. I could sense the letdown a little — that the team had qualified and the chances of winning the league had slipped away. I knew this was going to be harder than the guys did. We needed one of our exhibition players to fill in the 6th spot and Riley Willumsen and Matt Dunning moved up. Jay Card halved with his man and Hunter Starzee had the low round for us and won his match. Matt Dunning beat his man by 5 strokes. Riley lost by 1 and Matt Belt-Cappellino lost by 3. The final score totals were 237 for them and 242 for us. They got the win: Greenport/Southold 6.5 to Shelter Island’s 2.5.

On October 17, Mattituck came here to play us. The greens had just been plugged and were covered in sand for the yearly aeration. It was a shame because the greens were perfect but nonetheless both teams had to play on them. The guys were up for this match. They realized that Mattituck was in first place and undefeated. This was their chance to have everyone else in the league take notice with a win.

And what a match it was. Jay had a rematch against Richie Corazzini and shot a two-over-par 37 and won by 1 stroke. Those were really good scores on those greens. Then Hunter posted a 42 and won by 4 strokes. We had 2 points and were up by 5 strokes. The next group that came in was Myles and Spencer Gibbs. Myles lost by 1 stroke and Spencer halved with his man.

We were still maintaining a 4-stroke lead. Then Matt Dunning and Riley came in with their scorecards. Matt lost by 1 stroke, lead down to 3 strokes. Riley posted a 50 and lost by 3. The match was tied on strokes but, because they won one more match by one stroke, we lost the match. That makes two matches we lost by a total of one stroke this year. It doesn’t get much tougher that this. Congratulations to Mattituck on a great season.

The next day, October 18, we played Mercy at home. The guys were a little down following the great match yesterday. Jay had another great day and shot 37 — pretty amazing on those greens. Hunter played well and won by 11 strokes. The Mercy coach played his worst players against Jay and Hunter and they won by a combined 34 strokes.

The Mercy coach played his number one against Myles, our number three. Myles played a great round shooting a 43 and lost by just one stoke. Spencer played their number-two man and won by 8. Matt Dunning and Riley, our numbers five and six men, both played their number three and four players and lost by a few strokes. By the time we did the math, throwing out the high scores and figuring the points, we had won. We had also shot 4 strokes lower than we had against Mattituck the day before: Shelter Island 6–Mercy 3.

Our last match was a non-league contest against East Hampton at South Fork Country Club on October 20. The wind was blowing about 40 mph. East Hampton has a nice home-course advantage there. The scores were high, with Hunter earning our only points. Ian Lynch shot a one-under-par 35 for East Hampton. The match score was East Hampton 8.5-Shelter Island .5.

I am very proud of how the boys competed, how they handled themselves on the golf course and how well they work together. This year was almost great. Losing two matches by a total of one stroke to the two best teams in the league is quite an accomplishment for this team.

We have certainly come a long way in a short period.

This year’s league record ended up 7-5. Our goal remains the same. We want to go to the county tournament in the spring and beat Mattituck and Eastport-South Manor on a neutral course. That would give us some redemption for those close matches. It’s not going to be easy but it is attainable.

I understand from Phyllis Power that we have some terrific young players coming up behind this group in the elementary level. Sounds like golf is alive and doing well on Shelter Island. Thanks again to Gardiner’s Bay Country Club for the use of the course, facilities and the assistance from Leigh, Chance and Sean. I am constantly hearing from the members about the golf team and how well they are doing.

I will report back in the spring with the county results. Stay tuned.

10/21/11 4:00pm

The Shelter Island High School golf team traveled to North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue to play Mattituck on September 26. Going into the match, we knew that Mattituck had a nice home-course advantage. Jay Card had a 39 and lost to Richie Corazinni, who shot a two-over-par 37. Spencer Gibbs had one of his lowest rounds of the year and shot 43, third low round of the day, and got us our only point. The final tally was Mattituck 8–Shelter Island 1.

The team had its rematch with Eastport-South Manor at Gardiner’s Bay on September 27. I knew that if we were able to pull off a win, we had a chance at winning the league. Jay had a nice round of 36, one over par, and won his match. Hunter Starzee and Myles Clark both won their matches. That split the match scores 3 to 3.

It all came down to the match total scores. Both teams threw out their high score, 52. They added the remaining 5 scores. We had 224 and ESM had 223. We had lost by one stroke and just like that we were no longer in the hunt for the league title. I looked at the faces of our guys and I could see them agonizing over their one or two bad shots. This one really hurt.

The match score was ESM 6–Shelter Island 3.

Our next match was a non-league event against East Hampton on October 3. The two teams enjoyed the day but East Hampton was a little stronger than we were. Jay managed to win and Myles got a half point. It was East Hampton 7½–Shelter Island 1½.

Then it was back to league play against Hampton Bays at home on October 4. The guys played well. Jay Card, Hunter Starzee, Spencer Gibbs, Matt Dunning and Myles Clark won their matches. The score was Shelter Island 8–Hampton Bays 1.

Riverhead was next on October 6, away at the Woods in Riverhead. This course is just how it sounds, tree-lined, and it feels tight from the tee boxes. The course was in nice shape. We had beaten Riverhead pretty easily at home. I didn’t expect this to be that close. Jay shot a 37, Hunter a 47, and Myles a 42 and won their matches. Matt Dunning held on to a half in his match, which was enough to help us to a four-stroke team victory: Shelter Island 6½–Riverhead 2½.

With that victory over Riverhead, the team qualified for the Suffolk County Team Tournament in the spring. Our discussions on the bus ride home focused on beating our league rivals at the County Tournament in May. Our league record is now 6-3.

10/05/11 6:47pm

JAY CARD PHOTOS | Matt Dunning hitting off the 8th tee during a practice round at Gardiner’s Bay.

The Shelter Island boys varsity golf team is off to a great start this year. We opened our season against Hampton Bays at Long Island National on September 8. This course has never been very kind to us. The fescue is pretty to look at but the word “fescue” is one that most golfers hate. We took our lumps and were able to hang on to an 18-stroke victory. Jay Card III had the low round of the day, shooting a two over par 37. “What fescue?” he said.

The score was Shelter Island 8, Hampton Bays 1.

Our next match was against Eastport-South Manor on September 14 at Hampton Hills in Riverhead. This is a wonderful golf course and a treat for us to play on. ESM’s team is comprised mainly of seniors. They have a strong home course advantage here because many of the shots are to blind landing locations and the greens have a lot of movement on them. Hunter Starzee had the low round for Shelter Island with a nice 39 and Spencer Gibbs had his all-time low round with a 41. ESM’s experience proved to be too much for us in the end and we found ourselves looking at a 14-stroke loss. The score was ESM 7 and Shelter Island 2.

We hosted Greenport/Southold at our home course, Gardiner’s Bay Country Club, on September 20. The course is in great condition and the greens are rolling great.

I can’t say enough good things about how well the members and staff have treated us. Jay had the low round of 38. Hunter, Spencer and Myles Clark all shot in the mid-40s. Matt Dunning held on to a two-stroke lead for the win. It was Shelter Island 8, Greenport/Southold 1.

The next day we hosted a young Riverhead team at GBCC. Jay and Myles had the low rounds of 42 and Hunter was one stroke back. The real story here was how Matt Dunning, who was down 4 strokes with two holes left to play, tightened up his game and played some great shots to earn the half point for our team. Riley Willumsen also recorded his second win of the year and is showing real progress.

It was Shelter Island 7½, Riverhead 1½.

Yes, this was a busy week. On September 22, we went to the Old Vine Club in Riverhead to play McGann-Mercy. Hunter had the low round for us with a nice 39. Both Spencer and Myles had 44s. The match was close at the end, with Riley playing a solid 9th hole to come from two strokes down on the tee to a one-stroke victory. This was very nice golf to watch. I was very proud of how well they handled themselves on the golf course and how hard they competed. We squeaked out an 11-point victory. The match score was Shelter Island 7, Mercy 2.

Chris Doyle tees off the 2nd hole at Gardiner’s Bay.

In order to keep the program growing, we have 7th grader Dante Meing, 8th grader Chris Doyle and 10th graders Nathan Mundy and Matt BeltCappellino. They are all working hard to earn that 6th spot on the play roster.

Next week we face the undefeated Mattituck team, away, and our rematch with ESM at home. If we are able to get a couple of victories this week, we will be tied for the league lead at the halfway point in the season. Wish the guys luck. They are working very hard and representing SI well.