The Eastport South Manor boys basketball team split its first two League V games of the season last week, losing, 51-42, at Westhampton Beach on December 11, then coming back to defeat Islip, 62-41, at home two days later.
The League V opener at Westhampton Beach didn’t go as planned for the Sharks (1-1 in League V play, 2-1 overall). They had a prime opportunity to take the Hurricanes out of the game from the get-go, as Westhampton Beach was ice cold from the field, missing all of their shots in the first quarter. But ESM didn’t take advantage of the Canes’ poor shooting—the Sharks led only 8-0 heading into the second quarter.
That allowed Westhampton Beach to stay in the game. Junior Devonte Dixon, a prolific scorer for the Canes, hit his first shot in the second quarter and went on to score 15 of his game-high 25 points in the frame to help ease Westhampton Beach back in the game, though ESM still led by four points at halftime.
The Sharks came out cold in the third quarter, and Westhampton Beach took advantage, outscoring ESM, 14-6, and taking hold of the lead for good.
“We shot ourselves in the foot all game long,” ESM head coach Chris Carlson said. “We missed too many opportunities, especially three to four feet from the basket. You can’t do those type of things against a good team. Nothing good is going to come out of that.”
ESM senior Dennis Sullivan scored a team-high 14 points, while senior Chris Goncalves scored 12 points. Thomas Biasetti, a senior filling in for the injured senior Mat Annunziata, chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.
The Sharks were able to turn things around though in the win over Islip. The Buccaneers, at one point in the game, tried a box-and-one defense, where four players play a zone and one player plays man-to-man on the other team’s best scorer. In this case, Islip put a defender on Sullivan, but the Sharks were able to score on five consecutive possessions and forced the Bucs to change their defense again.
“When you lose your first league game, you have to bounce back and win the games that you should, and that’s what we did,” Carlson said. “They understood the importance of the game.”
Carlson said Sullivan did a good job of being patient when the Bucs focused their defense on him. “It was up to his teammates to get him out of it, and he did a great job accepting that and not getting frustrated,” he said.
ESM’s non-league game at home with East Hampton on Saturday was postponed due to the inclement weather that came through the area that day. Carlson said it will be made up some time in January, though a concrete date was not yet pinned down.
The ESM girls basketball team lost both of its League V games last week. After losing, 29-27, at home to Westhampton Beach on December 11, ESM lost, 57-49, at Islip on Friday.
The Lady Sharks (0-2 in League V play, 1-4 overall) were leading Westhampton Beach by 10 points with three minutes remaining in the third quarter last week, but the Lady Hurricanes used a 15-6 fourth quarter to come back and win the game. Westhampton Beach sophomore Shea Casey scored on a layup with 40 seconds remaining in the game to give her team the lead and eventual victory. ESM got off a last-second shot, but it rimmed out. Junior Nijay Brown scored 18 of ESM’s 27 points.
The Lady Sharks trailed by just seven points heading into the fourth quarter at Islip, but Jasmine Sapp led a strong push for Islip, which outscored ESM, 18-17, in that final frame. Brown led ESM with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Friday, 12/20, at Sayville, 5:45 p.m.; Saturday, 12/21, at Connetquot, 2 p.m. Girls—Wednesday, 12/18, Southold/Greenport; Friday, 12/20, at Sayville, 4 p.m.