To paraphrase the great Forrest Gump, playing in the Town Brookhaven Summer Recreation Basketball League is like a box of chocolates. You just never know what you’re going to get.
The Southold boys varsity basketball team certainly knew what that felt like at Eastport-South Manor High School as the First Settlers were outnumbered in several ways Tuesday night.
Vacations, summer jobs and other commitments sliced their 12-player roster to only six players for their game against Miller Place, which had a dozen players at its disposal for the small varsity game.
While they were placed in the same small school varsity league although Southold is a Class C school and Miller Place a Class A side.
So, it should not be surprising that the Panthers recorded a 55-26 win.
Like it or not, quirky things happen in the summer league.
Basketball games aren’t quarters, but are two halves that broken into a pair of 22-minute periods with running time, the only stoppages by coach’s timeouts and when the ball goes out of bounds and fouls in the final minute.
Teammates don’t have to wear matching shorts as long as they have the correct jerseys.
Miller Place (3-0) had two number 16’s and when one was called for a foul, the referee said told the official scorer, “The other 16.”
Southold (1-2) faced an uphill battle for most of the game with only one bench player to give the First Settlers breathers. Head coach Matt McCarthy moved players in and out of the game to give them a rest while the Panthers would bring on waves of players.
With Matt Hirdt connecting for nine of his game-high 16 points, Miller Place bolted to a 14-2 lead and never looked back as it grabbed a 34-10 halftime advantage.
Adam Baldwin recorded three out of his seven points in the opening five minutes of the second half as the First Settlers outscored Miller Place, 7-2, to move within 36-17. But fatigue finally caught up to Southold and the Panthers regained their rhythm.
Zach Grathwohl, who will be a junior this upcoming school year, led Southold with 10 points.
Christian Loretta added 11 points for Miller Place.
Photo Caption: Anthony Klavas goes up for a shot despite being closely guarded. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)