Shoreham-Wading River overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat Southold Thursday night in the non-league season opener for both teams.
The Wildcats, behind a huge third quarter where they scored 25 points, dominated in the second half. Opening the season with a much different roster compared to a year ago, the Wildcats only needed one game to match their win total from all of last season.
After enduring an usually rough season in 2017-18, the new-look Wildcats were eager to start off this season with a fresh mentality.
It didn’t start off quite as planned. The First Settlers, playing in front of their home crowd at Southold High School, raced out a 10-point lead to start the the second quarter.
At halftime, the Wildcats focused on their defense, particularly slowing down Southold junior Steven Russell, who blitzed the Wildcats for 18 first-half points.
Midway through the third quarter, the Wildcats took control with a 12-0 run to go ahead 43-41. The go-ahead basket came on a beautiful fastbreak where Tom Bell delivered a pass to Cameron Loschiavo, who threw nifty pass behind him to Matt Cook for the layup.
Bell, Cook and Tristan Costello all played key roles in the comeback. Cook finished the game with a team-high 18 points. Cook added 15 and Costello scored 12.
Adam Gawreluk, the Wildcats’ 6-foot-7 center, scored on a putback late in the third quarter to put the Wildcats ahead again and they led the rest of the way.
Russell and junior Nick Grathwohl both finished the game with 18 for Southold to lead the First Settlers. Russell was held scoreless in the second half.
Both teams will have several days of practice before getting back to game action Dec. 5. The First Settlers will play at home against Hampton Bays and the Wildcats will play at home against Shelter Island.
Top photo caption: Southold’s Nick Grathwohl tries to split the Shoreham defenders. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)
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