Talk about the Greenport Porters, and people inevitably talk about the Big Three: Dantré Langhorne, Tremayne Hansen and Jalen Shelby. But a lot of the talking the team’s assistant coach, Ev Corwin, had been doing recently was to the Porters’ fourth scoring option: Sean Charters.
Corwin took it upon himself to remind Charters what type of a basketball player he is and to encourage him to shoot the ball. So, whenever Charters headed toward the bench for a timeout, Corwin was in his ear with the same message: “Keep shooting, keep shooting.”
It proved to be wise advice.
Charters’ fourth three-point shot of the game gave undefeated Greenport a 61-57 lead that led to a 62-59 non-league victory over the Mattituck Tuckers in a Saturday matinée at Greenport High School.
“That was great,” Charters, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, said. “I love playing these types of games. It’s a lot of fun. I love these type of close games where you don’t know if you’re going to win, you don’t know if you’re going to lose, and it comes down to the wire.”
A driving layup by Mattituck’s Connor Davis cut Greenport’s lead to 61-59. The Porters (11-0 overall, 7-0 in Suffolk County League VIII) then turned the ball over twice in the final 55.7 seconds before Langhorne sank the front end of a one-and-one for the game’s final point with 7.9 seconds left.
Mattituck (8-4, 4-2 League VII) called a timeout to set up one last shot, an attempt by Steve Ascher that Langhorne blocked before the final buzzer.
“A great game,” Mattituck Coach Paul Ellwood called it, “the best game of the year; the best game I’ve been involved in in a long time.”
Langhorne turned in 23 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Charters finished with a career-high 15 points — 11 in the first half — and Hansen had 14. Charters and Shelby had six assists each.
Mattituck, which took its third straight loss, was led by Ascher’s 16 points. His brother, Tom Ascher, scored 10 points as did Mike Mangiamele. Mangiamele did well coming off the bench for the Tuckers. So did Tom Sledjeski, who supplied nine points and nine rebounds.
“It was fun to play in,” Tom Ascher said. “It was both teams doing their thing and it just came down to the end.”
Charters proved to be a difference-maker, though, as Mattituck keyed on Greenport’s tall threesome of Langhorne, Hansen and Shelby.
“As good as Dantré is, Charters stepped up as the role player that beat us today,” said Ellwood.
Charters swished two early three-pointers to spot his side an 8-0 lead and then added a third later in the first quarter to make it 13-7.
“I knew I had to pick my game up today to beat Mattituck,” said Charters.
Charters said he missed four or five shots in a row during one stretch, but those were easy to forget. The ones he hit really made a difference.
“Defensively, he’s grown,” Greenport Coach Al Edwards said of Charters. “He takes good shots, quality shots. He doesn’t force anything. He knows what his role is, and he’s got to knock those shots down.”
While Mattituck struggled with its field-goal shooting in the first quarter when it went 5 for 15, Greenport hit 10 of its first 12 shots from the field. For the game, the Porters shot 54.5 percent from the field to Mattituck’s 44 percent.
The Porters never trailed and pulled away to a lead as large as 14 points when a pair of free throws by Langhorne made it 31-17 with 4:27 left in the second quarter. Shortly after that, Mattituck trimmed the margin down to single digits.
“It’s nice to be on the winning side of that,” said Edwards, whose team is ranked No. 1 among Class C teams by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
The Porters gave no reason for their state ranking to change, and for that they can give some thanks to Charters. He did what Corwin told him to do.
Said Charters, “I always listen to Coach Ev.”