COSMOS 55, PORTERS 42
The contrast between last season’s Greenport boys basketball team and this year’s Porters could hardly be greater. It’s a brave new world for the Porters, one that is full of challenges.
Gone are the above-the-rim players that have made Greenport a force to be reckoned with for over a decade. For the first time since the late 1990s, Greenport doesn’t have that premier player to rely on. No Gerald Crenshaw. No Ryan Creighton. No Dantré Langhorne.
And then, to make matters worse for the Porters, Jalen Shelby, who would have been their top player, transferred to Riverhead for his senior year.
Furthermore, the new Porters are short in numbers (only seven are on the varsity roster), stature (the 6-foot-2 Austin Hooks is the team’s tallest player) and experience (Sean Charters is the only returning player who saw significant playing time last season).
“It’s a big change,” said Charters.
That’s a rough blend of shortcomings to overcome, and it goes a long way toward explaining Greenport’s 55-42 loss to The Ross School in the Suffolk County League VIII opener for both teams on Monday night at Greenport High School. The Porters had opened the season last Thursday with an 81-58 loss to visiting Wyandanch.
“The odds are kind of against us,” said Greenport coach Al Edwards, who acknowledged that his team has a tough road ahead.
The start to the league opener was about as rough as it gets. Greenport, the defending league champion, opened the game with 1-for-21 field-goal shooting, putting itself in a 26-2 hole. The Porters trailed, 31-9, at halftime, and that was after a buzzer-beating scoop layup by Greenport’s Matt Dibble. Ross led by as many as 16 points when a Hayden Aldredge basket made it 42-16 in the third quarter.
“It kind of hurt a little when we went down that much,” said Greenport sophomore Gavin Dibble.
After shooting 3 for 25 from the field in the first half, Greenport pulled its final shooting percentage up to 23.2 percent (13 of 56). With no inside game to speak of, the Porters resorted to the three-point shot, and found little success there, going 2 of 17 from that range.
“Threes are good if you can knock down the threes,” Edwards said. “But if we don’t have an inside game going, it’s going to be a long night if you’re not hitting threes.”
He said the game felt like it was three hours long.
After the Cosmos (1-1, 1-0) pulled their starters off the court, Greenport (0-2, 0-1) closed the game on a 12-0 run to make the final score more respectable.
To be sure, Greenport faced a quality opponent in Ross, an improved team. “I think it has the possibility of being the best team that we’ve had,” said McKee.
Fuhito Yoshida led 11 Ross players in the scoring column with 11 points to go with 4 assists. Roosevelt Odidi added 9 points while Jiahui Guo and Liam Chaskey had 8 apiece. Odidi also accounted for 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks and 3 assists. Aldredge, a fierce competitor, was the game’s leading rebounder with 17 boards. “Oh, he’s a beast on the boards, a tremendous rebounder,” said Ross coach Kelly McKee.
Matt Dibble was the top scorer for Greenport with 11 points. His brother, Gavin Dibble, totaled 4 points, 9 rebounds, 9 steals and 4 assists. Billy Doucett had 6 points and 10 rebounds.
Gavin Dibble said Greenport, with the help of positive thinking, can be a playoff team. “I know we’re going to keep our heads up, keep working and get better as the year goes on,” he said.
Charters, a senior who made his varsity debut as a sophomore during Greenport’s glory days, is a believer, too. “It’s going to get better from here on in,” he said. “I know it is.”