It’s hard to win if you don’t take care of the ball.
Greenport (4-5 Division 5, 4-10 overall) was winning at three different points during the first half against Smithtown Christian Friday night, but the lead was impossible to keep as untimely turnovers just kept coming. The Porters committed a total of 20 turnovers as they lost 53-45 to Smithtown Christian in front of a robust home crowd.
“That’s way too many,” Greenport head coach Justin Moore said when told of his team’s turnover total. “We can’t make it that easy for the other team. Those turnovers led to easy points for them.”
The lead changed hands five times before Smithtown Christian began to pull away late in the second quarter. Greenport’s defense was keeping them in it but their inability to score ultimately allowed Smithtown Christian to get ahead — and stay ahead. The Porters took their final lead with four minutes left in the second quarter.
“We’re having trouble putting the ball in the hoop,” Moore said. “It’s been happening all season. We’ve been playing very good defense but struggling on the offensive end. It’s a work in progress. We’ll get there.”
Greenport’s defense did have its moments as sophomore Taiquan Brumsey came up with two emphatic blocks during the course of the game. Brumsey also chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. Fellow sophomore point guard Kal-El Marine also had a solid game, contributing a few steals to go with his nine points. The Porters forced 13 turnovers in total on defense.
“We’re young at a few positions,” Moore said. “They’ve been working very hard. I can’t stress enough how proud I am of them for putting the work in.”
It wasn’t only the sophomores that put up some production. Senior Justus Horton tried to single handedly bring Greenport back by shooting moonshots from outside the arc. In a third quarter mostly dominated by Smithtown Christian, Horton connected on three 3-point baskets in a row to cut the lead to eight points. The problem was that Greenport hadn’t scored in third quarter until Horton hit his first three. That was five minutes in.
At that point, it was too little too late. Horton finished with a team-high 16 points.
Most of the points scored by Smithtown Christian (5-5 Division 5, 7-8 overall) came from talented junior point guard Nehemiah Yuen, who had a game-high 20 points. Lorenzo Crilly added 12 points and Isaiah McCarter scored 10.
“We’re playing Smithtown Christian again this year so we’ll game-plan better and try to get a better result,” Moore said. “We need to just take care of the ball and hopefully some more of our shots start to fall.”
The season is coming to an end, so every game is crucial in Greenport’s chances for the playoffs.
“We need to finish out strong,” Moore said. “We’ll be playing Class D teams so it’s up to us now to right the ship. If we want to play in the playoffs, we have to want it.”