Boys Basketball: Stevens is Greenport’s ‘other’ hot shot

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | The ball should be in Timmy Stevens' hands a lot more now that he has moved from playing on the wing to guard.
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | The ball should be in Timmy Stevens’ hands a lot more now that he has moved from playing on the wing to shooting guard.

It would be hard to find someone who appreciates good shooting more than Greenport’s new head boys basketball coach, Ev Corwin. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Corwin thinks highly of his two sharpshooting guards, Gavin Dibble and Timmy Stevens.

“We have two of the better ones right here,” Corwin said. “I mean, these guys can light you up real quick, and I give them the green light. I think they like that. I yell at them for not shooting it.”

While Dibble, a senior, has already made a name for himself as a bona fide scorer, Stevens is a lesser known quantity — to those who don’t watch Greenport play regularly. But to those who follow the Porters, there is no questioning the value the junior brings to the team.

The query was posed to Corwin: Is Stevens an unsung hero?

“I think people who follow it know what his big strength is: scoring and just really playing exceptionally hard,” the coach answered. “If that’s unsung, then I guess. I just think that if you watch enough of our games, he just sticks out.”

Greenport’s regular back court last season was manned by Gavin Dibble and his older brother, Matt, who has since graduated. Stevens, who was a wing player, has been moved to shooting guard, which means the ball is in his hands more these days.

“I take the challenge,” he said. “I accept it. I just have to work on my ballhandling. Once I get that down, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport's Angel Colon was at the center of a free-for-all for the ball during Thursday night's game against Westhampton Beach.
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport’s Angel Colon was at the center of a free-for-all for the ball during Thursday night’s game against Westhampton Beach.

Stevens is hardly a newcomer to playing alongside Gavin Dibble, though. In addition to two varsity seasons as Dibble’s teammate, the two have played ball in the same park for years, so familiarity is not an issue.

In the same back court, they help take pressure off each other. And they both have undoubted offensive ability.

“We both can shoot the outside jump shot,” Stevens said. “We both can take the ball to the rack.”

Corwin recalled a scrimmage against a good Riverhead team once when Stevens was on fire. Just about everything he threw up fell through the basket. The coach figured Stevens netted a dozen 3-point shots in that scrimmage.

“Sometimes I’m just feeling it, [and] it just seems like I can’t miss a shot,” Stevens said. “Sometimes it goes down, sometimes it doesn’t. When I’m off, I’m off bad, really bad.”

It’s not as if Stevens is a one-dimensional player, though. He brings a lot of other qualities to the table, particularly his endless hustling.

“He does a lot of the little things,” Dibble said. “He’ll get in there, rebound, take a charge, get some steals. Yeah, he does a good job with that stuff.”

Stevens said his game has improved, but he believes he can progress a lot more.

How about Dibble? Have there been any changes in Dibble’s game?

“Nope, the same Gavin,” Stevens said. “He scores in bunches, man.”

In a Town of Brookhaven Summer League game on Thursday night at Eastport/South Manor High School, Dibble poured in a game-high 23 points in a 43-41 win over Westhampton Beach.

At times Dibble looks unstoppable, such as when during Thursday’s game he charged into the lane, whirled and twirled through a maze of defenders, and made a layup.

“They used three or four different guys on him,” Corwin said. “He was frustrating that coach. He goes from shooting three steps beyond the 3-point line to beating you to the hole. I mean, that’s a good skill set.”

It was an impressive performance by the Porters (5-5) against the first-place Hurricanes (8-2). Austin Hooks provided Greenport with 12 points and 6 rebounds. Stevens had 5 assists to go with 5 points, 4 steals and 2 rebounds.

Greenport took the lead for good on a basket by Byron Rivas that made the score 31-29 early in the second half, opening an 8-2 run.

Westhampton Beach managed to cut Greenport’s lead to 41-39 when Luke Dyer made a free throw with 7.5 seconds remaining. But the reliable Dibble, who shot 8 for 10 from the foul line, sank both ends of a one-and-one with 6.2 seconds to go, essentially sealing the result.

“The effort these guys gave tonight, for a coach, that’s all you can ask,” Corwin said. “They played so hard. Up and down the floor, they don’t get a rest these guys. They just busted their tail. They got to be exhausted. I’m exhausted and I didn’t do anything.”

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