BEARS 70, PORTERS 65
As much as he was tempted to say it, the competitor in Ev Corwin prevented him from uttering the word “encouraging” to describe a defeat. Nevertheless, one couldn’t help but believe that Corwin was encouraged by what he saw from his team in his debut as the new Greenport boys basketball coach on Friday night.
The Porters tipped off the new season by playing fiercely and giving a powerful Stony Brook team a fight, only to come up on the short end of a 70-65 score in a League VIII game at Greenport High School’s Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium.
That result came despite the fact that Gavin Dibble rang up 35 points, despite the fact that Greenport’s starting center, Austin Hooks, played only 19 minutes and 7 seconds before fouling out with 5:08 to go in the game, and despite the fact that the Porters shot 51.2 percent from the field. But Stony Brook, the defending league and Long Island Class C champion, brings a potent mix of speed, size and 3-point shooting skill that makes the Bears a handful to deal with.
Stony Brook knocked down 11 3-point shots from 27 attempts, and except for the game’s early moments, never trailed after taking the lead for good. At the same time, pesky Greenport prevented Stony Brook from putting the game out of reach. A 3-pointer by Brandon Odom gave Stony Brook its largest lead of the game at 62-49 a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter.
Undeterred, Greenport kept plugging away, trying to beat the odds, which were made slimmer by the loss of Hooks. It wasn’t Hooks’ night. By the time he picked up his fifth personal foul, he had only 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 block and 1 steal, partially because of foul trouble that forced him to sit almost the entire second quarter. Hooks was clearly displeased over his early departure and slammed down a chair at the team bench as he walked off the court.
Undersized as it was, having to deal with Stony Brook’s two big bodies, Andrew Daniel and Bryce Jackson, Greenport got a big helping hand from guard Timmy Stevens, who collected a team-leading 9 rebounds. Both teams had 25 rebounds each.
Greenport made things interesting by hitting 7 of its last 10 shots and receiving 15 fourth-quarter points from Dibble. It was a triple by Dibble (his third of the game) that cut Stony Brook’s lead to 66-60 with 1:58 to go. Later, he added a layup and a free throw to make it a 3-point game at 68-65 with 18.2 seconds left. But a free throw by Odom and another one by Daniel — sandwiched around a failed 3-point attempt by Dibble down the stretch — settled matters in Stony Brook’s favor.
Davis scored 18 points. Three of his teammates reached double figures. Chase Audige produced 15 points, Odom had 14 and Daniel recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
In addition to Dibble’s big scoring night, Stevens added 14 points and 7 assists. No other Greenport player had more than the 5 points Willie Riggins supplied coming off the bench.
With Corwin’s predecessor, Greenport’s former longtime coach, Al Edwards, watching on from the bleachers, the Porters’ new coach and his charges faced a severe test from the start. Stony Brook drilled six treys in the first quarter, including one by Davis at the buzzer ending the period.
Stevens nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the second quarter, leaving Stony Brook with a 38-32 lead by halftime.
It wasn’t a successful day for any of Greenport’s new coaches. In his coaching debut, former Greenport star player Ryan Creighton saw his junior varsity team miss two foul shots with 1.8 seconds left and fall to Stony Brook, 28-26.