Porters stand tall and win summer small schools title

Tremayne Hansen of Greenport drove to the basket while Mattituck’s Connor Davis defended.

PATCHOGUE — It can be a daunting sight for the Greenport boys basketball team’s opponents to behold when they look at the moving skyline that constitutes the Porters’ front line. The 6-foot-5 Dantrà Langhorne, the 6-6 Tremayne Hansen and Andre Phillips, a 6-7 transfer from Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, can be a handful on the boards.

The Porters’ starting lineup has an average height of about 6-3. “For a League VIII team, that’s pretty good,” said Greenport Coach Rodney Shelby.

But Mattituck did not appear intimidated. Quite the contrary, the Tuckers seemed up for the challenge of facing Greenport in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools final on Tuesday night. In the end, Greenport’s height advantage helped as it scored a 38-33 victory for its second small schools title in three years. Greenport’s three big men, all of whom are heading into their senior year, combined for all but five of their team’s points in the game at St. Joseph’s College.

Langhorne and Hansen were particularly productive. While Langhorne led all scorers with 15 points, he also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Meanwhile, Hansen was responsible for 14 points, seven rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

With their 12th win in as many games this summer, the Porters advance to Brookhaven’s overall final against Sachem East (10-2) on Wednesday night at St. Joseph’s College.

“Everybody was under a lot of pressure to win,” said Phillips, who sensed that a loss Tuesday night might have negated those 11 previous wins. “I just had to kind of get everybody to open up and laugh a little bit and see the fun in basketball.”

Greenport had defeated Mattituck by seven points in their regular-season meeting on July 22. A tight contest was anticipated for this rematch, and that’s precisely what spectators saw. The game featured nine lead changes. The score was tied seven times. Neither side led by more than five points until a conventional three-point play by Hansen gave Greenport the largest lead of the game at 36-28 with 1 minute 58 seconds to go.

Later, following a basket by Mattituck’s Cody Huntley, Hansen hit a chip shot to make it 38-30.

Tom Ascher of Mattituck sank a three-point shot with a little over three seconds remaining for the game’s final points, but it wasn’t enough for the Tuckers to come back.

“They definitely made us work for it,” Shelby said. “Mattituck is not a team that you can look at the schedule and pencil in a victory any more.”

Mattituck received 10 points from Connor Davis in addition to nine points and nine rebounds from the 6-5 Huntley. It was the first time the Tuckers have played in the small schools final. The Tuckers ended their summer campaign with a 9-3 record, losing twice to Greenport and once to Mount Sinai on a banked three-pointer at the buzzer.

“We were expecting to win,” said Mattituck Coach Paul Ellwood. “You get to the championship game, you expect to win.”

He added: “Someone might walk in the gym and say: ‘Greenport should win that game. They’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re stronger.’ Our kids don’t think that way. That’s why our kids are going to win a lot of games next year.”

For all of Greenport’s height, the Porters held only a modest advantage in rebounding, 23-18. The teams were dead even in offensive rebounds with nine apiece.

“They’re aggressive,” Hansen said of the Tuckers.

The teams were within four points of each other through the entire first half, which ended with Mattituck up, 17-15. That close play continued into the second half as the teams traded baskets, fouls and turnovers. Neither team built a substantial cushion until Greenport’s 10-2 surge made it 38-30 late in the game.

“Everybody was saying Mattituck was going to take it this year,” Langhorne said. “We just wanted it more.”

Shelby has seen big things from his big men, not to mention the rest of the team.

“Our boys did what they had to do down the stretch, so I’m happy,” he said. “It’s been fun. It’s just been a great summer. The fact that we’re 12 and 0 makes it a little better.”

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