As far as high school boys basketball teams go, the Greenport Porters have an unusual mix.
Of course, the Porters have their big three — Dantré Langhorne, Tremayne Hansen and Jalen Shelby. They also have Sean Charters, who has been around the varsity scene long enough to know what it is about. Then there was the unknown quantity of three newcomers to the team — Matt Dibble, Vincent Smith and Tevin Parish.
And that’s it. Five starters, two reserves — seven players in all. Depth is an issue, but apparently quality isn’t.
One could say that seven is Greenport’s lucky number, but the Porters’ performance in their season-opening game on Wednesday night was less about luck than skill and experience. That odd mix of players worked pretty well together, all things considered, and posted a desirable result, 70-41 over the East Hampton Bonackers.
For one night, at least, they got the job done.
“It is encouraging,” Greenport Coach Al Edwards said of his team’s first win over East Hampton in at least 29 years.
Shelby, a junior guard, had a sizzling hot shooting hand, knocking down 6 of 8 three-point shots and finishing with a career-high 24 points to go with six assists. “He’s always been a good shooter,” said Edwards.
The biggest cheers of the night by the Porters’ home fans were reserved for Langhorne’s three dunks, two of which came from passes off the backboard by Shelby for the trailing Langhorne. Langhorne, a 6-foot 6-inch senior forward, had 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block in the non-league game. Charters added 10 points and the 6-5 Hansen pulled down nine rebounds to go with eight points and five blocks.
Thomas King led East Hampton (1-1) with 25 points, 15 of which came on three-pointers.
“We looked good,” Langhorne said. “Everybody hustled for the loose balls, played together. … I just thought it was awesome.”
The Porters made their shots, shooting 58 percent from the field, including 8 of 12 from three-point range. They also sank all seven of their free throws, to boot.
When the curtain rose on the start of the season and it was show time, Shelby and Langhorne were ready to perform. The two combined on a pair of pass-off-the-backboard dunks by Langhorne in the first and third quarters.
“We’ve been playing with each other a long time, so we should know how to play together,” Shelby said. “I look back and he’s right there, so I just throw it up.”
And Langhorne takes care of the rest.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Langhorne said. “I know that [Shelby is] a team player and we work as a team, so sometimes he doesn’t just take [the shot] and he wants to throw it up off the backboard and have a little fun, get our crowd amped.”
But perhaps the most impressive thing that East Hampton Coach Bill McKee noticed wasn’t the flash so much as the substance and intelligence of Langhorne’s game.
“When we were concentrating on him, the other guys were really beating us,” said McKee, who is in his first season as East Hampton’s coach, taking over from the legendary Ed Petrie. “And then we had to change to another defense. Then he took over and took advantage of what was there.”
The Porters played well enough that the fact that they had only seven players in uniform (Edwards hopes to add a couple more bodies later in the season), didn’t seem to matter.
Greenport, aided by a 31-18 rebounding advantage, never trailed. The Porters opened the game by hitting 9 of their first 15 field-goal attempts for a 23-11 lead early in the second quarter. By then the tone had been set.
“We knew they were big, and Dantré creates all kinds of problems,” McKee said. “So you do what you can for him, and then they got shooters and they’re a good team. They’re going to go a long ways.”