PORTERS 70, CRUSADERS 53
At first glance, one might think that the Greenport boys basketball team has clones in its back court. Matt and Gavin Dibble aren’t clones, though, just brothers with a striking similarity in appearance who help keep the Porters’ fast-moving offense on the go.
They are interchangeable parts. Both starters can play point guard or shooting guard. Matt, a junior in his second varsity season (uniform No. 3), and Gavin, a sophomore and varsity rookie (uniform No. 15), have been teammates at various levels for most of their basketball-playing life. They know each other so well that it is like they both have a GPS system implanted in them for locating the other brother on the court.
“I can close my eyes and see him on the court,” said Matt Dibble.
And yet, there are differences in their game.
“Gavin is definitely more of an outside shooter,” Matt Dibble said. “I have more of a mid-range and drive to the basket type of game. Maybe I look to pass a little more. I think he’s a better ballhandler as well. Together is how we play best.”
The Dibble duo was surely on the same page Tuesday, combining for 37 points in a 70-53 defeat of Smithtown Christian at Greenport High School.
After losing its previous two games, Greenport got back in the winning swing of things, no small thanks to a double dose of Dibble. Matt Dibble scored points in each quarter and finished with 24. Gavin Dibble put up 13 points and 7 assists.
“We needed this win a lot, and we got it,” Gavin Dibble said. “We need to stay positive and keep winning. If we keep winning, we’ll be able to keep that momentum going.”
Greenport (10-5, 8-3 Suffolk County League VIII) started the day in third place, behind Pierson (9-5, 8-2) and The Stony Brook School (8-5, 8-2). Losses to Stony Brook and Bridgehampton in its previous two games had dislodged Greenport from first place and damaged its league title hopes.
“I still look as it as still having a chance,” said Greenport coach Al Edwards, whose team had already clinched a playoff berth. “Those two losses hurt, but you never know what’s going to happen when the final bell goes off.”
The Porters did what they had to do against last-place Smithtown Christian (3-10, 2-9), jumping in front from the start. Three 3-point shots by Gavin Dibble highlighted a 16-3 run that left Greenport with a 34-19 lead in the second quarter.
“I’m not afraid to take a shot, take a big shot, because I know I can make it,” Gavin Dibble said. “I love hitting my shots.”
Moments after that, Matt Dibble demonstrated that he has a nose for the basket, somehow making an acrobatic shot while falling down and after being fouled. He drained the free throw that followed for a 37-21 lead. It was one of three conventional 3-point plays he converted.
“Sometimes I think Gavin’s a little smoother, but Matt, he roughhouses it, a bulldog type,” Edwards said. “I think they’re a little different. Gavin is more laidback, and Matt is like a go get them type of guy. He’ll punch you in the head. I’m real happy with the both of them.”
It is also partly a credit to the Dibbles that Greenport limited itself to 13 turnovers, 11 less than Smithtown Christian.
The Porters also received 10 points from Austin Hooks and 9 from Ted Stevens, a freshman recently called up to the team along with sophomore Brian Tuthill.
Caelan McCabe made all 11 free throws he attempted and scored 25 points for Smithtown Christian. His brother, Brendan McCabe, added 13 points and Charles Bellini provided 7 assists for the Crusaders. A third McCabe brother, Connor, also plays on the team.
Both teams shot well. Smithtown Christian hit on 65.6 percent of its field-goal attempts while Greenport made 53.8 percent — but the Porters took 20 more shots and made seven more of them than the visitors. Only four of Greenport’s 28 field goals were unassisted.
“They were fastbreaking every time they had a chance,” Smithtown Christian coach Dan Skaritka said. “They were beating our guys down the court. That’s just something we got to work on for next year.”
Smithtown Christian had recently upset Bridgehampton in overtime in an odd game. Bridgehampton had only seven players available, so after three of them fouled out, the Killer Bees had to play with only four players in overtime.
“I never played a game of five against four, so that was something new and interesting,” said Skaritka.
Greenport won on Tuesday despite gathering only 20 rebounds. Edwards said the Porters need to tweak their interior defense and rebounding.
Meanwhile, their high-octane offense — the one with two speeds: fast and faster — seems to be moving along fine, thanks in part to the Dibble brothers.
Edwards said, “Once they get on a roll, forget it.”