Featured Story
08/07/19 6:01am
08/07/2019 6:01 AM

One couldn’t help but think that Phil Reed must have been beaming somewhere. The sight of his former basketball players running a hoops camp for youngsters would have almost certainly had the late Southold High School coach smiling from ear to ear. READ

06/09/15 6:16pm
06/09/2015 6:16 PM

Liam Walker understands that living in a small town and attending a small high school has its ups and downs. For an athlete like Walker, who plays golf, basketball and baseball for Southold High School, there is always the danger of being overlooked.

But that was not the case on Sunday when the senior from tiny Southold made a big splash, being named the male recipient of the 15th annual Butch Dellecave Award during a breakfast in Patchogue. The female winner, Center Moriches senior Diana Monaco, also comes from a small school.  (more…)

01/05/15 11:09pm
01/05/2015 11:09 PM

FIRST SETTLERS 54, KNIGHTS 32

Whenever he plays basketball, Liam Walker usually has a serious, determined look on his face, whether he is leading a fast break, driving to the basket or attempting a 3-point shot.

For a couple of seconds on Monday night, the senior guard let his guard down, so to speak. He had a smile on his face.

Late in the Suffolk County League VIII game, sophomore guard Pat McFarland stole the ball from a Smithtown Christian player and fed Walker under the basket. Walker sank perhaps his easiest bucket of the game, which turned out to be his 1,000th career point. (more…)

11/24/14 12:00pm
11/24/2014 12:00 PM
Greg Gehring, a junior transfer with a penchant for passing, is expected to bring Southold assists. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Greg Gehring, a junior transfer with a penchant for passing, is expected to bring Southold assists. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Every now and then a team gets lucky, and a gift falls in its lap. Greg Gehring is the Southold High School boys basketball team’s early Christmas present.

Gehring, a junior point guard, is a transfer from Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School. He was a solid starter for the Monarchs last season, with a pass-first mentality. (more…)

07/30/14 5:00pm
07/30/2014 5:00 PM
Southold junior Aidan Walker holds the distinction of having defeated the school's best player, his brother Liam, in one-on-one games. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Southold junior Aidan Walker holds the distinction of having defeated the school’s best player, his brother Liam, in one-on-one games. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Even at this stage in his young life, Aidan Walker can lay claim to a degree of fame: He has defeated Southold High School’s best basketball player in one-on-one competition. And more than once, too.

Not many people can say that. (more…)

12/28/13 7:48pm
12/28/2013 7:48 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Southold's Liam Walker beats Mount Sinai's Coles Williams to the basket for a layup. Walker scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the second half.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Southold’s Liam Walker beats Mount Sinai’s Coles Williams to the basket for a layup. Walker scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the second half.

HAMPTON BAYS COACHES VS. CANCER TOURNAMENT | FIRST SETTLERS 54, MUSTANGS 50

People who know Liam Walker rave about him as a person and as a basketball player. As a person, he is known for his good character, being unfailingly polite and humble. As a player, well, he is exceptional.

Walker is a tremendous talent who looks like he has college basketball in his future. His ability to finish and put up points is a big boost for the Southold High School boys basketball team.

One day after registering 32 points despite being double- and even triple-teamed at times, Walker showcased his defensive skills as Southold overtook Mount Sinai, 54-50, in the Hampton Bays Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament consolation game on Saturday.

After trailing for most of the first half, Southold (4-3) turned to a man-to-man defense in the third quarter, when it outscored Mount Sinai (0-7) by 10-2 and never looked back. Walker netted 7 of those points, rising to the occasion when his team needed him most.

“He’s a tremendous player,” Southold coach Phil Reed said. “He’s probably the best player I ever coached.”

Limited to only one field goal in the first half, Walker scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the second half. He shot 5 of 16 from the field.

But perhaps Walker’s most valuable service to the First Settlers came on the defensive end. The junior guard defended Mount Sinai’s big shooter, Coles Williams. Williams, a senior guard, was held to 2 second-half points after scoring 13 in the first half. For the game, Williams shot 4 for 13 from the field.

Both players were named to the all-tournament team.

Walker had turned in a superb offensive effort on Friday, striking for 32 points (5 shy of his career-high) against host Hampton Bays. The Baymen won that game, 63-53. But Walker’s play made an impression on Hampton Bays’ veteran coach, Pete Meehan, who later expressed his admiration for Walker.

Walker indicated that he valued team wins more than individual accomplishments, so he may have found Saturday’s game more to his liking.

Only four players scored for Southold, yet all of them reached double figures. Among them were Shayne Johnson (14 points), Alex Poliwoda (13) and Kenji Fujita (11). The active Fujita also had 13 assists, 8 rebounds and 5 steals.

Mount Sinai, aided by Williams, Christian Dular (13 points, 5 assists) and Nolan Kelly (8 points, 14 rebounds), led by as many as 7 points in the first half when it held a 21-11 rebounding advantage. The game turned in the third quarter, though, as Southold tightened its defense and did a better job of running its offense, said Reed.

With Southold down by 31-29, Walker scored the first three baskets of the third quarter — a layup, a 3-pointer from the corner, and another layup. Something clicked, and the First Settlers were off and running.

[email protected]

07/19/13 12:23am
07/19/2013 12:23 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold's James Penny, far left, and Damiko Jones get their hands ona  rebound that Liam Huysimon of Westhampton Beach is reaching for.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold’s James Penny, far left, and Damiko Jones get their hands on a rebound that Liam Huysimon of Westhampton Beach is reaching for.

One might have wondered if the Patchogue-Medford High School gym suddenly went dark because the Westhampton Beach boys basketball team had shot the lights out. In another sense, at least, the Hurricanes did shoot the lights out, at Southold’s expense.

Southold is not only playing against teams from larger schools in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League, but it is still in a rebuilding phase. Every game is a lesson and a test for the First Settlers.

On Thursday evening the First Settlers gained an appreciation for the importance of defense and rebounding. Despite an encouraging start to the game, in which it flew to an early 11-2 lead, Southold was overtaken by Westhampton Beach, 51-25. Over the course of the contest, Westhampton Beach (5-1) went on runs of 15-0, 9-0, 10-0 and 10-2 while handing Southold its fifth loss in six games this summer.

But the First Settlers can see the bigger picture.

“We’re improving every game,” Liam Walker, a junior shooting guard, said. “We haven’t had all our pieces.”

Indeed, the First Settlers were missing people. Alex Poliwoda was absent. Shayne Johnson is still recovering from a broken left wrist he suffered this past spring while taking a hard fall after dunking a ball.

Two vital pieces to the puzzle, however, were present in the back-court partnership of Kenji Fujita and Walker. They are two of the team’s more accomplished players and vital to Southold’s fortunes.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold shooting guard Liam Walker facing defensive pressure by Westhampton beach's John Frangeskos.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold shooting guard Liam Walker facing defensive pressure by Westhampton Beach’s John Frangeskos.

Southold also has other players with varsity experience: Kevin McGough and the 6-foot-3 James Penny as well as the aforementioned Johnson and Poliwoda. A newcomer who should help is Damiko Jones, a junior transfer from Mattituck.

But a lot rests on the shoulders of the talented Walker and Fujita, a senior point guard with a high work rate who is taking on more of a shooting role.

“We can see plays a lot quicker than some of the other guys,” Fujita said. “They’re going to get better. That’s what summer league is for.”

Westhampton Beach brought too many weapons for Southold to handle. Mike Frangeskos had a monster of a game with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocks.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Hurricanes had seven other players score, including Liam Huysimon (9 points), John Frangeskos (8), Dwight Corley (7) and Cole Attar (7).

Westhampton Beach shot a sizzling 54.5 percent from the floor, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range to burn the Southold defense.

Just about every time Walker received the ball, the Hurricanes collapsed on him, giving him special attention and making him work for his team-leading 12 points.

Fujita had 6 steals to go with 5 points.

Walker said his mid-range jumper has improved. He knows it’s important to have a well-balanced game, with a perimeter shot and the ability to drive to the basket to keep defenses honest. “When teams are keying in on you, you pretty much have to be able to do everything,” he said.

Walker, an all-league player this past school season, said his focus has been on defense this summer. “I think I can get my points,” he said. “I just want to help the team on defense.”

The game started in semi-darkness in the steamy gym because about half of the lights went out. Then, with 11 minutes 12 seconds left in the game, all the lights went out, causing a delay before enough lighting was restored to allow play to resume.

Walker said fast breaks and good looks at the basket helped Southold early in the game. “The more we move the ball, the better looks we get,” he said.

Southold had more difficulty finding the basket than its opponent, though, shooting 34.6 percent. The First Settlers had more than twice as many turnovers (21) as field goals (9).

But the First Settlers didn’t sound discouraged afterward. They may know that a summer league can sometimes give a distorted view of where a team stands.

Said Fujita, “Once we get Shayne Johnson back from his injury, we’ll be fine.”

Perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

[email protected]

01/18/13 9:38pm
01/18/2013 9:38 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | David O'Day of Southold, driving past Shelter Island's Hunter Starzee, scored 24 points.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | David O’Day of Southold, driving past Shelter Island’s Hunter Starzee, scored 24 points.

INDIANS 70, FIRST SETTLERS 63

Make room for the youngsters.

Suffolk County League VIII has some fine young basketball players who are making a name for themselves this season. Possibly the one with the longest name of them all, Matt BeltCappellino, may have shined the brightest of them all on Friday night.

BeltCappellino scored 19 first-half points before finishing with a career-high 29 for Shelter Island in its 70-63 defeat of host Southold. The junior bettered his previous game-high total by 8 points.

“The ball was just feeling good off my hand,” said BeltCappellino, who also had 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. “I was getting good shots. The team was getting me open. I was taking my time, following through, and it was going in.”

Meanwhile, Southold had a young player of its own putting up big numbers. Liam Walker, a sophomore, registered 24 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists for his side. A Southold senior, David O’Day, also produced 24 points.

Aside from the fact that BeltCappellino is a forward and Walker is a guard, the two players share some notable similarities. They both wear the same uniform number, 12, and they both have undoubted scoring ability. Like BeltCappellino, Walker recently turned in a career-high scoring total. In Southold’s previous game, a win over Smithtown Christian three days earlier, he scored 36 points.

“It’s a boost, yeah,” Walker said. “It’s more like a boost of confidence.” He added: “It felt like I can do that every game. I have to expect that out of myself more and more.”

Southold coach Phil Read said Walker struggled early in the season, but “he’s on now.”

As is BeltCappellino, whose efforts have helped put Shelter Island (5-6, 5-3) on a pace to reach the playoffs. In addition to being one of the top students in his class, he also has the basketball smarts and shooting ability that the Indians need.

“He’s not forcing it at all,” Shelter Island coach Mike Mundy said. “He’s only taking good shots. He’s getting good looks, and when he’s on, he’s on. He’s actually stepped up for us. In games where he needs to step up, he’ll step up.”

Friday night was one of those times.

Three days earlier, Shelter Island led Greenport for three quarters and most of the fourth before succumbing and losing. That loss, Mundy said, turned Friday night’s game into a “must win.” Every league game is precious as far as playoff implications are concerned.

Shelter Island led by as many as 19 points three times in the third quarter. Southold, however, worked its way back, pulling to within 6 points of Shelter Island during a 17-6 run in which O’Day scored 9 points. When O’Day nailed a 3-point shot from the top of the key, it made the score 66-60 with a little over 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“We’re not as talented as a lot of teams, but you know, we go out there every day and we give it our all,” Read said. “I can’t ask for more from any group of guys.”

Shelter Island secured the victory with two free throws each by Myles Clark and BeltCappellino down the stretch.

“We had a good first half, but the second half we let them crawl back in,” BeltCappellino said. “I give them credit. They’re a good, scrappy team. They hit some shots, but we got the last word.”

A big factor in the game was the rebounding department, where Shelter Island held a 40-25 advantage. Hunter Starzee (16 points, 16 rebounds) was a major contributor. Riley Willumsen had 8 assists for Shelter Island, which made good on 60 percent (24 of 40) of its field-goal attempts.

Southold (3-9, 2-6), which lost for the sixth time in seven games, received 11 assists from Kenji Fujita.

“I thought we worked really hard,” Walker said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we still scored, but we have to key in on defense. Seventy points isn’t going to cut it. We should be winning games when we’re scoring over 60.”

But Southold’s better days are to come. The team is two losses away from being eliminated from playoff contention, but the future looks bright with sophomores like Shane Johnson, Alex Poliwoda and, of course, Walker.

Shelter Island’s future doesn’t look bad, either, with good-looking young players such as Matthew Dunning, BeltCappellino, Nathan Mundy and Willumsen. Dunning made his first career start in place of Mundy, the coach’s son.

“We have options,” Mike Mundy said. “Everybody knows their role, too. Nobody complains about their playing time. It’s what’s best for the team.”

And this is a team that could be going places, thanks a good deal to its young, up-and-coming players. Two wins from its final six league games would earn Shelter Island a coveted ticket to the postseason.

“We’re fulfilling our expectations,” BeltCappellino said. “We thought we could be in this position, which is right where we want to be.”

[email protected]