Porters boys and girls squads headed to Nassau Coliseum

Two days before Christmas, two North Fork basketball teams will receive a unique gift that’s sure to create lifelong memories, playing at the Nassau Coliseum. The Greenport/Southold girls squad and the Greenport boys side will have the rare opportunity to play at in Uniondale on Saturday, Dec. 23, in an event dubbed the Long Island Nets Court of Dreams Experience.

The Porters’ opponents will be Carle Place, with the girls game tipping off at noon and the boys at 2 p.m.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for athletes,” said Greenport athletic director Brian Toussaint. “Other than going to a state semifinal or finals, they’re not really going to have an opportunity to play in an arena like this. When I first heard about this opportunity, I immediately wanted to try to make it work for our kids because it’s definitely a memorable experience, something that they’re going to remember for a long time.”

The Nassau Coliseum, which can accommodate 14,500 spectators for basketball, is about a one-hour, 45-minute drive from Greenport.

Players on both teams were excited about competing in a venue that has been home to the New York Islanders, countless concerts and special events.

“Before this season, I didn’t even know what the Nassau Coliseum was,” boys junior guard Kal-El Marine said. “I did my research. We’re playing in a real arena. It sounds great. I feel like it could get our team used to like the next level. I’m excited.”

Excited was the word to describe everyone’s expectations.

Senior forward Lilly Corwin: “Not everybody gets to play in an arena like that. It’s a Long Island landmark. It’s really cool.”

Senior guard Aiko Fujita: “It’s a huge stage, playing in front of so many people. It’ll be a very unique experience.”

Senior guard Leon Creighton: “I’m very excited for that. It’s probably going to be one of the biggest games I’ve ever played.”

Senior guard-forward Taiquan Brumsley: “I’m looking forward to that game. I’ve got friends at Carle Place. It’s a big arena. I’ve never played in something like that.”

The enthusiasm was shared by their coaches.

“I’m just psyched,” girls head coach Ev Corwin said. “We’re all excited about it. I’ve watched concerts and sports there. Coaching a team there is going to be great.”

Boys head coach Justin Moore has attended concerts at the venue, but never a sporting event.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Having that experience of being at the Nassau Coliseum, playing in an arena like that is almost similar to playing in Glens Falls. This is a blessing that we get to play there.”

Glens Falls is the traditional venue for the state boys’ basketball championships.

The Dec. 23 game at Nassau Coliseum is sponsored by the Long Island Nets, who play in the G League, the NBA’s official minor league. The team is affiliated with the New York Nets, who call Brooklyn home. Tickets are $15 for both games. Each ticket holder will also have the opportunity to attend the Dec. 27 L.I. Nets game against the Wisconsin Herd for free.

“Between Greenport and Southold, there’s a lot of people who plan on going,” Lilly Corwin said.

Toussaint jumped at the opportunity of playing at the Coliseum when he attended a leadership conference.

“You don’t get to play Nassau County schools very often,” he said. “It’s not many that are similar in size, but Carle Place was a B school. They were looking to do a non-league game there.”

The Greenport girls squad competes in Suffolk County Class B. The boys are a Class C team.

“We want to get as many people as possible there,” Toussaint said. “Hopefully, it’ll bring more attention to both teams. Maybe people will enjoy watching it and maybe they’ll start coming in for the games at the high school and build the enthusiasm and support for athletics.”

While the journey from the North Fork to Uniondale is a long one, Toussaint said that friends and families can make a day out of the trip.

“It’s a little extra traveling, a little longer bus ride, but the timing of it is also nice,” he said. “It’s at the beginning of the Christmas break. It would be a cool opportunity for the members of the community to take the ride. Maybe they want to go do a little shopping. It should be a fun time, for sure.”

Tickets can be purchased at the Greenport schools athletic office or through members of both basketball teams.

For more information, call the athletic office at 631-477-1950, ext. 1224 or click here.