Boys Basketball: Greenport takes home loss to Smithtown Christian
The bad news is that the Greenport High School boys basketball team did not play up to par in a 57-36 home loss to Smithtown Christian on Monday night. The Porters struggled due to an ice-cold shooting night and a defense that did not play up to expectations in the Suffolk County Division 5 encounter.
The good news is that the Porters can make amends against their foes in a much more important game – in the Class D tournament in February.
Until then, head coach Justin Moore needs to fix a few things.
“We had a tough loss where we didn’t play to our potential,” he said. “The game didn’t go how we wanted it to. Offensively, we just didn’t have it going. Smithtown Christian worked hard and hit a lot of shots. We went into a man-to-man defense. They figured it. I probably should have come out of the man earlier. I guess you live and learn, right?”
It was a frustrating game for several reasons.
The Porters (6-12, 6-7) expected a more competitive contest. Two earlier season matchups between the two teams were relatively close. Greenport won the first battle, 50-46, away on Dec. 10. The Knights retaliated with two victories on the Porters’ court, a 53-45 triumph on Jan. 20, and Monday night’s result.
So much for home-court advantage.
“I guess we just played good that day,” sophomore guard Kal Marine said of the first game. “Maybe it was early in the season. Maybe things were a little bit different.”
The Porters could never find their rhythm. They shot only 24.6 percent from the field (13-for-53), and worse, they sank only four three-pointers in 31 tries for a 13 percent.
“We got some good open looks,” Marine said. “The shots wouldn’t fall.”
Smithtown (9-9, 8-6) grabbed a 5-0 lead and never looked back in a first quarter that produced some rather unusual numbers.
The Porters committed the lone turnover. They also were a perfect 4-for-4 from two-point range, but fired blanks in six trey attempts. In fact, the Porters missed their first 12 long-range shots until Justus Horton broke the skid with 42.1 seconds remaining in the second quarter. With 11.7 seconds left, Marine (nine points) sank another three-pointer to move Greenport within 28-21 at the half.
When Greenport came within 28-23 after junior guard Leon Creighton (team-high 12 points) put in a layup only 37 seconds into the third quarter, the Knights reeled off 13 consecutive points to grab a 41-25 advantage with four minutes and 19 seconds remaining in the period.
“My coach always says third quarter is most important and he’s right,” Marine said. “Once we got that bucket, I thought we were going to turn things around, but they just hit shots and we couldn’t.”
Lorenzo Crilly, Isaiah McCarter and Nehemiah Yuen scored 15 points apiece to lead Smithtown. When push literally came to shove, McCarter dominated the boards with 14 rebounds and turned three of those into baskets. Crilly added 10 rebounds.
“He’s a very good rebounder,” Moore said of McCarter. “I tell the boys all the time if we don’t box him out, it is going to be his rebound because he’s strong. He’s talented. He wants it. He’s hungry. We’ve got to do a better job and box and him out.”
The Porters will get that opportunity as the Class D final is scheduled for St. Joseph’s College on Feb. 15, a semifinal game must be played a few days before that — at Smithtown.
That would mean a rare fourth encounter between two teams from the same league.
“We have to play better defensively,” Moore said. “We didn’t play up to our defensive potential today. In order for us to beat them, that’s where it’s going to start for us. We’ve got to make shots and limit turnovers. If we do those things, I like our chances in beating them. But if we don’t, then it’s going to be a game like it was today.”
Marine felt the Porters could have a fighting chance.
“We need to come out with energy in the first quarter,” he said. “When you come out with a lot of energy, it really just sets the tone. Maybe they get a little nervous. If we come out good in the first quarter, I think we can get the win.”
Only time will tell.