After bouncing back from deficits to take the lead four times, the Greenport boys basketball team was hoping it had one more comeback in its bag of tricks. Looking for a little more drama and an additional two minutes of overtime, the Porters inbounded the ball to their sharpshooter, Gavin Dibble. Dibble rushed the ball across the midcourt line as the final seconds ticked off before launching a desperate long-range attempt. Greenport’s coach, Rodney Shelby, as if trying to will the ball in the basket through body language, skipped in front of the scorer’s table before coming to a dead halt.
Dibble’s attempt had no chance, smacking off the backboard.
And that was it. Greenport’s experience in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League came to an end Monday night as the Porters lost to Mount Sinai for the second year in a row in the small schools final. Alex Pintabona scored 6 of his 16 points in overtime as the Mustangs prevailed, 52-49, at St. Joseph’s College’s John A. Danzi Athletic Center.
“Coming up short,” Dibble said. “We always seem to come up a little bit short.”
The biggest shot of the game was hoisted by Mount Sinai’s Greg Kopcienski who, after receiving a pass from Coles Williams, drilled a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, tying the score at 45-45.
Greenport called a timeout with 6.3 seconds remaining in regulation time in the hope of setting up a winning shot. Billy Doucett put the ball in play with a pass to Dibble, who drove in the paint before laying off a pass to Austin Hooks. An unsuccessful 10-foot shot by Hooks bounced once off the rim as time expired, requiring overtime to settle things.
Mount Sinai then took charge of overtime as Pintabona converted a conventional 3-point play before draining a 3-pointer for a 51-45 lead.
Dibble and Hooks both sank two free throws each to slice Mount Sinai’s lead to two points. Williams then made good on one of two foul shots for a 52-49 Mount Sinai lead with 19.1 seconds left. Later, after Greenport forced a Mount Sinai turnover, Kopcienski missed a free throw with 5.4 seconds to go before the Porters quickly called a timeout for the game’s final play.
After the game, the body language of the Greenport players spoke volumes about how they felt about the result.
“I just don’t like losing,” Hooks said. “We just tried our best to stay in it. We should have played a better game in the end. We fouled too much and gave them too many shots.”
Shelby said: “They want to win pickup games, they want to win AAU games, they want to win regular season and they want to win summer. That’s all in your heart. They’re very competitive. They like to win and I don’t blame them.”
Including the playoffs, both teams had entered the game with 7-1 records, Mount Sinai’s sole loss coming by 9 points to Greenport on July 10. In that game, the Mustangs took the ball to the basket, with little success. On Monday night they tried a different approach, shooting from beyond the arc.
“Tonight they hit the shots they weren’t taking the first time we beat them,” said Shelby.
It worked. Mount Sinai shot 7 for 14 from 3-point territory, with two treys apiece by Jimmy Presser, Pintabona and Williams.
“The first time they didn’t shoot like that,” Dibble said. “They made adjustments. Obviously, they can knock down shots. We slowed them down a little bit in the second half, but that was a great shot by [Kopcienski] at the end” of the fourth quarter.
Mount Sinai led for most of the game, but Greenport always seemed to be in striking distance, never trailing by more than 7 points (once at 29-22).
Mount Sinai was outrebounded by 35-19 (15-6 on the offensive boards), but the Mustangs had good scoring balance and knocked down 16 of 20 free throws. In addition to Pintabona’s 16 points, Williams scored 12 and Presser produced 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists.
Greenport had three players score in double figures as well. Dibble led the way with 18 points. Hooks had 12 points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds.
“We needed all those rebounds, every one of them,” said Shelby, whose team reached the small schools final for the seventh time in eight years.
Timmy Stevens, a sophomore guard, looked like he belonged on the court, chipping in a vital 10 points.
“One of the young guys that’s coming up that’s going to be a plus is Timmy Stevens,” Shelby said. “He hit some big shots for us tonight. He showed that he’s not afraid of competition, so that’s good. … When he played, he definitely showed that he’s capable of playing on this level.”
After walking past the triumphant Mount Sinai team, which was posing for photos, Dibble spoke about his team’s future.
“We just have to keep on improving,” he said. “I think we’ll do that. We’ll be back and better during the regular [school] season.”