PORTERS 60, BEARS 45
The team full of surprises continues to surprise. Perhaps, then, it should no longer come as a surprise what the Greenport boys basketball team is doing this season.
How do the Porters do what they do with only seven players, not much height and no star players? The answer is a simple one.
“We just hustle,” said forward Billy Doucett.
Hustle and heart have worked wonders for Greenport this season. Those ingredients were vital on Monday when the defending league champion Porters gained the inside track on the Suffolk County League VIII title race. Greenport took sole possession of first place — at least for 24 hours — with a 60-45 defeat of The Stony Brook School. The two teams, which entered the game tied for first place, will play again Tuesday night in Greenport.
“This is big today,” said Greenport coach Al Edwards.
Visiting Greenport (9-3, 7-1) brought tremendous energy to Monday’s game and never allowed Stony Brook (6-5, 6-2) to take a lead. The Porters did it with their familiar recipe of hustle mixed in with some deadly accurate outside shooting.
“We play hard,” said Greenport guard Sean Charters, who hit four 3-point field goals and poured in 19 points. “Seven guys, tremendous effort, and we’re always undersized compared to everybody. People look at us and they’re like: ‘Oh, they’re small. They don’t have any guys that can do anything,’ but we have a lot of heart from our team.”
And not a bad shooting touch. Greenport netted 9 of 11 three-point attempts and made good on 46.7 percent of its shots from the field.
Greenport’s knack for making shots sometimes catches its coaching staff by surprise. Edwards said, “At times you’ll see some shots going up and you hear [assistant coach] Ev [Corwin], sitting on the bench going, ‘No way,’ and the ball’s going in.”
Gavin Dibble hit four 3-pointers for all 12 of his points in addition to passing for 7 assists. Austin Hooks put up 12 points as well, and Doucett came down with 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Greenport’s defense held Stony Brook to 29.4-percent shooting from the field. The Bears opened the game by making only 2 of 14 field-goal attempts and then went 4 of 15 in the fourth quarter.
“We worked our tails off down there and we knocked down some clutch shots,” Charters said. “It was definitely a good effort.”
Stony Brook fell behind by 25-9 on a 15-3 Greenport run. It was 30-16 by halftime.
Successive three-pointers by Tyler Abrahamsen near the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth helped kick-start Stony Brook’s attempted comeback. A layup by Stony Brook’s Richard Armand made it a single-digit game at 49-40. Later, another three by Abrahamsen and an Armand free throw pulled Stony Brook to within seven points at 51-44.
But Greenport finished strong. A basket by Charters, a free throw each by Hooks and Matt Dibble, a three-pointer by Gavin Dibble, and two foul shots by Charters completed Greenport’s scoring for the day.
Stony Brook received 13 points from Abrahamsen and 12 from Brandon Odom. One of Stony Brook’s starters, Marco Masakayan, fouled out with 4 minutes 31 seconds left in the game and 6 points next to his name in the scorebook.
Greenport has been overcoming challenges, not the least is scrimmaging against its junior varsity players because it doesn’t have enough varsity players to go five on five. But the Porters seem to be growing accustomed to putting in long hours at practice and logging a lot minutes in games.
“We just work harder in practice, get in better shape, and with seven guys, it doesn’t really bother us, really,” Doucett said. “We’re used to playing, pretty much, every game, all game. We just work hard every game, work hard every practice. We don’t take any game lightly. We have to go in, and go 110 percent.”
Edwards put in a full game himself Monday, stalking the sideline, continually exhorting his players to move the ball and yelling out instructions.
Said Edwards, “Every game is a test for us because we’re short in numbers, for one thing, but we always have five guys on the court who are going to work hard.”