Boys Basketball: Porters felt at home with Hamptons rentals

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Hayden Aldredge, left, one of three Ross School players who played for Greenport this summer, defended against Mount Sinai's Patrick Hogan.

Some people take summer rentals in the Hamptons. The Greenport Porters took three summer rentals from the Hamptons.

Three players from The Ross School boys basketball team — Hayden Aldredge, Liam Chaskey and Rose Odidi — were looking for a team to play for this summer since the private East Hampton school doesn’t have a summer team of its own. The Porters, meanwhile, were in need of players of their caliber.

It was a beneficial arrangement for both sides.

The Ross trio and their teammates had shown what they could do in the last school season, when the Ravens enjoyed their best season in school history, winning a Long Island Class D championship and falling one win shy of a place in the New York State final four.

“We have basically the same team so we’re looking to do pretty well” this coming season, said Aldredge.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Liam Chaskey looked for two points for Greenport while under the shadow of Michael Guzzardi's long reach.

Aldredge, Chaskey and Odidi will certainly help. Aldredge, a senior, and Odidi, a junior, are both tough, 6-foot-2 post players. Chaskey, is a heady senior guard. They all helped the Porters reach the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools final for the sixth time in seven years. Unfortunately for the Porters, they didn’t have two regular starting senior forwards (Myles Waters had to take care of business in Florida, and Jalen Shelby missed the game because of disciplinary reasons) on Monday night. The Porters could have used them, too, in a 40-34 loss to the Mount Sinai Mustangs at St. Joseph’s College.

Would the Porters have reached the final without the three Ross players?

“I don’t know,” Greenport’s summer league coach, Rodney Shelby, answered. “That’s a good question. I would like to say I think so, but we’ll never know. They definitely helped us out.”

“I like the way they hustle,” he continued. “They didn’t mind getting on the floor to loose balls. All three of them are good scorers.”

It could be argued that the Porters’ three best players on Monday night were Aldredge, Chaskey and Odidi. Aldredge, a fierce competitor under the boards, accounted for three points, two assists, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal while battling Mount Sinai’s 6-6 junior, Michael Guzzardi. Odidi, who has been nursing an ailing knee, collected eight rebounds to go with four points, and Chaskey scored six points.

Sean Charters led the Porters with nine points and four assists, and Gavin Dibble chipped in seven points.

The summer experiment with the Ross players was judged a success. They were contributors to a Porters team that won 10 of the 12 games they played this summer, including playoff wins over the Miller Place Panthers and the Comsewogue Warriors.

“It definitely helped us, and we tried to help them as much as possible,” Aldredge said. “I enjoyed it a lot. It gave us a lot of chances to run and play basketball, and they’re all good guys, and I learned a lot and had a fun time.”

Odidi said: “It was a great experience. I like how Greenport plays. They play tough D and make you work hard. It worked great. They’re fun and easygoing, and they love to play basketball. They play hard, and that’s really all you can ask for.”

Chaskey and Odidi both play for the Boulevard Boyz, the Amateur Athletic Union team that Rodney Shelby coaches.

The understrength Porters had difficulty dealing with Guzzardi, a tireless big man with good feet who can quickly move to where he has to be. Guzzardi struck for 13 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and a steal. The Mustangs also received 11 points and six assists from Gregory Kopcienski.

Mount Sinai never trailed, and built an 18-8 lead by halftime. The closest the Porters came to the Mustangs in the second half was when back-to-back layups by Chaskey made it a four-point game at 38-34 with less than 20 seconds remaining. Kopcienski sank a pair of free throws with 5.6 seconds left to seal the victory for the Mustangs, who shot 55.6 percent from the field and held a 31-20 rebounding advantage.

“Obviously, you would have loved to have won this,” Odidi said afterward, “but other than that I think we had a great season.”

Teammates today, the Ross trio will become opponents of the Porters in several months when the school season starts. The Porters and the Ravens will play each other in Suffolk County League VIII.

“They’re going to have a good team,” Rodney Shelby said. “I see us battling them, hopefully, for first place.”

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