SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS D SEMIFINAL | PORTERS 55, KILLER BEES 52
Good shooters are made, not born. Gavin Dibble is no exception.
Dibble made himself into the shooter that he is. The Greenport High School senior said he shoots baskets every day.
“Repetition and practice,” he said. “It’s hours and hours of work. Usually in the off-season I shoot about 500 shots a day. That’s what it takes.”
Call it time well spent.
Whenever Bridgehampton did something good in Wednesday night’s Suffolk County Class D boys basketball semifinal, the Porters seemed to have a response and, often enough, it was a shot by Dibble that swished through the net. And if it wasn’t Dibble, it was Darius Strickland or Austin Hooks or someone else.
The Porters had all the answers. Brian Tuthill canned a critical 3-point shot and Willie Riggins sank a big free throw late in the fourth quarter as they prevailed over their rivals from the South Fork, 55-52. Dibble’s game-high 21 points helped the top-seeded Porters (9-10) to their first playoff win in three years and a place in the county final against No. 3 Shelter Island (10-9) on Saturday.
Dibble, who played his final game in Greenport High School’s Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium, said he was so pumped up for the game that he had trouble sleeping the night before.
“I was ready, man; I was ready,” he said. “Playoff time, my adrenaline was running all day.”
The Porters, shooting 55 percent from the field, made the shots when they needed them. Tuthill came off the bench and drilled what could be considered the shot of the night, a 3-pointer that gave the Porters a 52-48 lead.
“That’s a gutsy shot, man,” Greenport coach Ev Corwin said. “It really was.”
In the final minute, Bridgehampton’s Josh Lamison made a basket while being fouled. Then Dibble and Bridgehampton’s Tylik Furman dropped in two free throws each, making the score 54-52 Greenport.
Riggins had only 1 point listed next to his name in the scorebook, but it was a big one.
After a missed free throw by the Porters, Furman grabbed the rebound, raced down the court and tried to hoist a shot. Hooks blocked it. The ball was controlled by Riggins, who was fouled. So, Riggins headed to the foul line with 6.9 seconds to go. The junior forward knocked down the first foul shot and a huge roar erupted from the crowd as he made it a 3-point game. His next free throw missed and the ball went out of bounds.
With 5.3 seconds left, Bridgehampton’s Anajae Lamb passed the ball inbounds to Henry Katz, who immediately passed it back to him. Lamb chucked a 3-point attempt that wasn’t close and went out of bounds with 7/10ths of a second remaining. The Porters inbounded the ball, the game ended and they celebrated, jumping into each other’s arms with overjoyed looks on their faces.
“That was a hell of a game, man,” Dibble said. He added, “We worked for that one, man.”
The three games played between the teams were decided by 11 points (they beat each other by 4 points during the regular season). It’s a rivalry with a lot of history.
Bridgehampton coach Carl Johnson, facing a group of reporters afterward, was asked if the teams bring out the best in each other.
“Definitely,” he said. “It’s never going to die. I don’t care where we are in the league, Greenport and Bridgehampton are always going to bring their best. They get up for us, and we get up for them. As coaches, we don’t have to worry about pumping your kids up for this kind of game. They’re ready to play, right from the beginning.”
The Porters trailed for most of the first half, but a penetrating move by Dibble set up an uncontested layup by Hooks for a 26-24 Greenport lead at halftime. Greenport never trailed after that, but it never led by more than 9 points, either.
No. 4 Bridgehampton (8-11) stayed uncomfortably close thanks in part to 20 points from Furman. Lamison added 11 points. Lamb, who had 7 assists, scored 9 points as did Jerome Walker.
Lamison went down with a sprained ankle 1:44 into the second quarter and moved gingerly as he was helped to the bench. Although Lamison returned to the game, Johnson said he was playing at about 45 percent. “You could see the kid was hurting,” he said. “He was laboring out there.”
The Porters had an ankle issue themselves. In the game’s final seconds, Angel Colon went down in obvious pain, and was literally carried off the floor by Hooks. Corwin said he wasn’t sure of Colon’s status for Saturday’s game.
Greenport got off to a slow start before Strickland (11 points), the freshman phenom, entered the game late in the first quarter. The impact was immediate, as the Porters started attacking the basket and drawing fouls.
Dibble was sharp throughout. He shot 7 of 12 from the field, hit 4 of 7 3-point attempts and passed for 7 assists.
“He’s on a mission,” Corwin said. “The best thing I can say about him is he’s a competitor. That kid, he couldn’t wait to get to the gym tonight.”