ESM boys continue to struggle, girls pick up second league victory

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The Eastport South Manor boys basketball team continued to struggle last week as it lost three games and has yet to pick up its first ever League IV victory.

After losing 69-56 in Riverhead on January 13, ESM (0-5 League IV, 2-9 overall) lost at home to West Babylon 58-53 on Friday and then 68-54 at Bellport on Saturday.

Sharks head coach Chris Carlson said the new league is exactly what he expected it to be.

“We knew those teams that were going to be athletic, Riverhead, Bellport,” he said. “But West Babylon and Smithtown West and Hills West are teams that we definitely match up well against. We’ll take film in the second half of the league season and make adjustments. That’s what basketball is all about, making adjustments.”

In the loss to Bellport, Carlson believed his team out hustled the Clippers and was happy with his team’s effort, but the Sharks just couldn’t match Bellport’s athleticism. Senior guard Mike Annunziata scored a game-high 29 points, and Carlson praised his aggressive play on offense. Junior guard Pat Fabian scored nine points, was not aggressive enough.

“When Fabian did go to the basket he did a good job,” Carlson said. “I think the other guys were settling for jump shots instead of going to the basket.”

Connor Fedge led Bellport with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Antonio Scott helped with 19 points and five rebounds.

Carlson said the loss to Riverhead was similar to the loss to Bellport as the Blue Waves’ athleticism was too much for ESM.

“You play as hard as you can, they’re just superior athletically,” he said. “They were getting two rebounds for every one of ours. My kids didn’t give up the fight. They worked hard the entire game and that’s all you can ask for.”

Kennedy had his best game to date as he scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Sharks.

“He was very, very aggressive,” Carlson said of Kennedy. “He went to the line 15 times and made 12 free throws.”

Carlson said this season he has been frustrated by his inconsistent effort. He said that his team plays extremely hard for the tough teams in the league, but loses that intensity when it plays teams it should match up well against.

“When we’re in a position to win games our level isn’t where we need it to be,” he said, “and that’s frustrating.”

Carlson was alluding to the West Babylon loss in which the Sharks did not get the defensive rebounds or stops they needed to win the game. Statistically, ESM had one of its best games of the season with Annunziata scoring eight points to go along with seven assists and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Curtis Smith scored a team-high 15 points while senior forward John Kennedy scored 13 points and added seven assists. Matt Sullivan led West Babylon with 17 points while Mike Munch had 15 points and seven assists. Eagle Kyle Kube had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Senior forward Drew Sinensky, who has always been solid defensively, according to Carlson, is starting to break into the starting lineup showing more confidence in his offensive game. He scored a total of nine points in ESM’s three games last week.

ESM was home Tuesday against Smithtown West and will be home Saturday for the team’s final non-league game of the season when it takes on Sachem East at 2 p.m.

ESM Girls

The Lady Sharks won their second League IV game of the season when they defeated Bellport 50-39 on Saturday at home. The win comes after the girls lost 61-35 to West Babylon on Friday.

In the win against Bellport, Tara Gerstacker stepped up and had 18 points for ESM while Alex Marshall had nine. Ikema Ross scored a team-high 12 points for Bellport.

In the loss to West Babylon, the Lady Sharks couldn’t contain Lady Eagle Brianna Waczak, who had a game-high 16 points, while Melani Maxwell had 12. ESM’s Dene DiMartino and Chelsea Kull had a team-high eight points each.

ESM was at Smithtown West on Tuesday and will have nine days off before its next game at Half Hollow Hills West on Thursday, January 29, at 6 p.m.

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