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Only eight games into his high school career, there is little doubt that Greenport High School guard Ahkee Anderson has established himself as one of Suffolk County’s top freshmen players.

After all, he is averaging a head-turning 15.8 points a game as the Porters (3-5) look to open their League VIII season against Port Jefferson on Friday.
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12/29/13 7:00am
12/29/2013 7:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO  |  Ryan Creighton was presented a framed No. 34 Greenport jersey by varsity coach Al Edwards (left) and superintendent ichael Comanda Wednesday night.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Ryan Creighton presented with a framed No. 34 Greenport jersey by varsity coach Al Edwards (left) and superintendent Michael Comanda.

The greatest Greenport basketball player in school history saw his jersey rise to the rafters earlier this year.

Ryan Creighton, who played for the Porters from 2005 to 2009 — becoming Long Island’s all-time leading scorer and New York State’s second-leading scorer with 2,799 points — had his No. 34 jersey retired in a moving ceremony before a Greenport varsity game.

Creighton became the second Greenport player to have his jersey retired, joining Al Edwards, who coached Creighton there. Creighton would go on to become the junior varsity coach at Greenport for the start of this winter season.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 sports stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.

11/21/13 5:00pm
11/21/2013 5:00 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Creighton, Greenport's all-time leading scorer, started his coaching career last Wednesday with the school's junior varsity team.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Creighton, Greenport’s all-time leading scorer, started his coaching career last Wednesday with the school’s junior varsity team.

Over the course of his 14 years as the Greenport High School boys basketball junior varsity coach, Ev Corwin often attended Suffolk County coaches meetings with Al Edwards, who coached the Porters for 34 years before retiring this past spring. As Corwin tells it, the two of them would walk into the meeting room together, and he would instantly feel like Claude Rains.

“We went and I walk in, and as usual, I’m invisible because when Al walks in the room, it’s like Michael Jordan walks in the room,” Corwin said. “Everybody’s, ‘Hey, Al! Al! Al! Al!’ ”

Corwin suspected things might different two weeks ago when, as Greenport’s new varsity head coach, he attended a coaches meeting at Longwood High School with Greenport’s new junior varsity coach, Ryan Creighton.

“I’m the new coach of Greenport, man,” Corwin said. “I got my chest out a little bit, and all of a sudden: ‘Ryan! Hey, Ryan!’ ”

Corwin was upstaged again.

“First Al Edwards, now Ryan Creighton, man,” he said, chuckling as he recounted the tale.

The glare of the spotlight has a way of finding Creighton. Edwards was a legendary coach. Creighton was a legendary player for the Porters, and is embarking on his new basketball life as a coach.

In succeeding Corwin, Creighton, 23, finds himself in the unusual position of taking on his first interscholastic coaching job in Greenport High School’s Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium, the same gym where he delighted home fans with his outstanding play. By the time he graduated from high school, Creighton had led the Porters to three straight trips to the New York State Class D final four and their first state championship game. He finished his high school career as Long Island’s all-time scoring leader and the state’s No. 2 scorer with 2,799 career points. Creighton’s purple No. 34 jersey hangs framed next to Edwards’ white No. 33 jersey high on a gym wall for all to see. They are the team’s only two retired numbers.

As a player, Creighton was a savvy, skilled veteran. As a coach, he’s a rookie, and Wednesday was Day 1 for him as he presided over his first practice.

“It’s exciting,” he said after the practice. “It gives you a sense of joy because they want to learn.”

Creighton said he remarked to Justin Moore, the Porters’ new assistant coach, recently that it seems unreal that he played in this gym only four years ago. What was once his playground not all that long ago, is now Creighton’s workplace. “Now you’re coming in here and it’s like you mean business,” he said.

Make no mistake, fun is also in Creighton’s playbook. During Wednesday’s practice he admonished a player, saying: “Don’t goof around. We’re going to have fun, but we’re also going to work.”

Later, in an interview, Creighton, bearing his trademark smile, said: “You got to go in and basically lay the rules down and everything, but also you want to have fun. That’s what I want. As long as these kids come and they want to work hard and learn the game and have fun, I’m all with it.”

Creighton said it finally hit him that he is a coach the night before the first practice, while he was preparing his schedule plan for the first practice, pen and paper in hand.

Coaching is not exactly new to Creighton, however. In addition to being surrounded by coaches during his playing days, his uncle, Rodney Shelby, is a coach. Creighton did some coaching for Shelby’s AAU team, the Boulevard Boys.

Greenport’s senior center, Austin Hooks, was in junior high school when Creighton was wearing Greenport purple and gold, but he played AAU ball for him. “He’s a pretty good coach,” Hooks said. “The thing with him is he’s just like Coach Al. He’s very calm.”

Creighton said he felt some nerves before the first practice. “You get the nervous butterflies because it’s different now,” he said. “You’re not dealing with yourself and a coach. You’re dealing with 12 different personalities.”

“You’re not going out there and performing,” he continued. “You’re trying to get kids better at the game. You’re trying to teach them fundamentals to help them become better players, so it’s definitely a lot more you have to bring to the table.”

Creighton acknowledged that he has to adjust to the coaching life. He said he is blessed to have the job.

“Once you’re on the other side,” he said, “you definitely feel for the coaches because there’s a lot they have to really deal with, and it definitely takes a toll on them, so you kind of got to tip your hat to the guys who have been doing it for years and give them that respect.”

What does Creighton ask of his players?

“Just come to practice every day and work hard,” he said. “Don’t get down on your teammates. We’re all in this together as a team. Together, everyone achieves more.”

And for all of those points that Creighton scored, he has an appreciation for the value of defense.

“Anybody can put the ball in the hole,” he said. “I want to play defense, though. That’s what’s going to win games for us.”

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01/30/13 9:02pm
01/30/2013 9:02 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Creighton, holding his retired No. 34 jersey, sharing a laugh with the Greenport school superintendent, Michael Comanda.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Creighton, holding his retired No. 34 jersey, sharing a laugh with the Greenport school superintendent, Michael Comanda.

PORTERS 74, FIRST SETTLERS 37

Greenport fans were standing, clapping and cheering. It was like the good old days for the Porters. A little Ryan Creighton magic had returned to Greenport High School.

On an historic night for Greenport boys basketball, Creighton returned to his former school as the guest of honor for a pregame ceremony Wednesday evening in which his old uniform number, 34, was retired by Greenport. Creighton, who played for the Porters from 2005 to 2009, becoming Long Island’s all-time leading scorer and New York State’s second-leading scorer with 2,799 career points, is the last Greenport player to wear that number.

In presenting the framed purple and gold No. 34 jersey to him, Greenport’s school superintendent, Michael Comanda, said to Creighton, “Ryan, on behalf of the Greenport public school system and the Greenport community, I’m proud to officially retire your number 34. Congratulations.”

Creighton, snappily dressed in a gray suit, made brief remarks to the crowd, thanking family and friends. He held the framed jersey aloft for fans to see. Later, he said he felt emotions tugging at him during the ceremony. “I almost shed a tear,” he said in an interview.

Asked what the ceremony was like for him, Creighton flashed his trademark smile and replied: “It was great. It was awesome. Words can’t even explain it.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Billy Doucett shot in 20 points to lead Greenport in its rout of Southold.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Billy Doucett shot in 20 points to lead Greenport in its rout of Southold.

Creighton’s No. 34 is only the second number that Greenport has retired. It joins the No. 33 that Al Edwards wore for Greenport before going on to coach the Porters for the past 33 years. Edwards is Greenport’s second-leading all-time scorer with the 2,117 points he registered prior to his high school graduation in 1972. Edwards’ No. 33 was retired in 1992, on the same day that Greenport’s gym was named Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium.

Greenport’s athletic director, Robbie Costantini, said the No. 34 jersey will be hung up next to the No. 33 on a wall in the gym.

“That’s a great honor for him,” said Edwards.

Noting the large turnout for the event, Edwards said fans appreciate what Creighton did for the school. A four-time all-state player, Creighton led the Porters to three straight trips to Glens Falls for the state final four as well as their first state championship game his senior season. He remains a beloved figure in Greenport, not only for his heroics on the basketball court, but also for his humble character.

Ron McEvoy, the former Greenport public-address announcer who acted as the master of ceremonies, said that while in Glens Falls during Creighton’s playing days, “all the coaches, players, basketball fanatics would all talk about Ryan Creighton, and the only thing you heard were good things — competitive, classy. You can break any record you want, but if you do it with class, that’s what’s important to us here at Greenport.”

The presence of Creighton, who now lives in Raleigh, N.C., was apparently inspirational to the Porters. They went on to rout Southold, 74-37, for their fifth win in six games.

Creighton said he told the Porters before the game, “You can’t lose tonight.”

And they didn’t.

Billy Doucett scored 20 points, Austin Hooks netted 18 and Gavin Dibble had 17 for Greenport (9-5, 7-3 Suffolk County League VIII). Doucett fell one rebound shy of a double-double and Dibble came within an assist of a double-double.

Southold (4-11, 3-8), which was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, received 14 points apiece from Alex Poliwoda and Liam Walker.

Greenport took charge early, shooting out to a 14-2 lead by the end of the first quarter and making it 35-10 by halftime. The Porters stretched their lead to as many as 41 points twice in the second half.

The big difference in the game was field-goal shooting. Greenport shot 50.9 percent while Southold struggled at 29.4 percent.

“We didn’t want to disappoint him,” Doucett said of Creighton. “We didn’t want him to come all the way back here for nothing. We wanted him to enjoy the show.”

Hooks said the pregame ceremony was “pretty inspirational. I sure look up to Ryan. He was an icon when he was in high school. It’s just great the numbers that he put up. He worked with his team. He passed the ball. He scored. He rebounded. He did all of it.”

Creighton, who left Franklin Pierce University (N.H.) during his freshman season, said he is considering going back to school to study sports management and possibly go into coaching. Perhaps one day he will get to coach in the same gym that exhibits his old uniform number.

“It was an emotional time at my stage in my coaching career to … witness another number going up on the wall after all these years,” Edwards said. “Now he can come back and see his jersey on the wall. He’ll look at it every time he walks in here.”

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01/30/13 12:43pm
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Greenport will retire Ryan Creighton's No. 34 jersey tonight. The jersey will be hung next to Al Edwards' No. 33, the only other uniform number retired by the Porters.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Greenport will retire Ryan Creighton’s No. 34 jersey tonight. The jersey will be hung next to Al Edwards’ No. 33, the only other uniform number retired by the Porters.

The festivities for Ryan Creighton’s jersey retirement ceremony are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. tonight as the Greenport Porters host Southold at Greenport High School. The game begins at 5:45 p.m.

Creighton’s No. 34 jersey will be retired, joining coach Al Edwards’ No. 33, after an illustrious five-year career that brought the Porters to the cusp of a state championship.

Creighton finished his career second all-time in state history for career points with 2,799.

Be sure to check back tonight for full coverage from Creighton’s big night as well as the game between the Porters and First Settlers.

01/23/13 12:00pm
01/23/2013 12:00 PM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Greenport will retire Ryan Creighton's No. 34 jersey next week. The jersey will be hung next to Al Edwards' No. 33, the only other uniform number retired by the Porters.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Greenport will retire Ryan Creighton’s No. 34 jersey next week. The jersey will be hung next to Al Edwards’ No. 33, the only other uniform number retired by the Porters.

Make room No. 33, because No. 34 is coming.

Al Edwards’ old No. 33 jersey will have company alongside its exalted place on a Greenport High School wall overlooking the basketball court. The No. 34 jersey that Ryan Creighton wore when he played for Greenport before graduating in 2009 will be retired next week, joining Edwards’ No. 33 as the only two uniform numbers to be so honored by the Porters.

“To be up there with Coach Al [who has coached the Porters since 1979] is definitely going to be honor,” Creighton said in a telephone interview from North Carolina, where he lives. “It’s just a great honor, and I really couldn’t do it without all my friends, family and the Greenport community.”

A LOOK BACK: RYAN CREIGHTON AND AL EDWARDS FOREVER LINKED

Creighton made his place in New York State basketball history. By the time his five-year varsity career ended, he was Long Island’s all-time scoring leader and the state’s No. 2 scorer with 2,799 career points. A four-time all-state player and five-time team most valuable player, Creighton led the Porters to their first state championship game and three straight trips to the state final four. After a senior season in which he led Suffolk County in averages for points (27.5), rebounds (8.9) and assists (5.7) per game, he was named Suffolk’s player of the year by Newsday, and the Suffolk small schools player of the year by the county’s coaches.

“It was just a matter of time; it was just a matter of when,” Greenport athletic director Robbie Costantini said of the decision to retire Creighton’s number. “So, it was decided, let’s do it sooner rather than later.”

Edwards, who is the school’s second all-time leading scorer with the 2,117 points he collected prior to his high school graduation in 1972, sounded delighted to have company in the exclusive club.

“I’m really happy to have his number next to mine,” Edwards said. “He’s meant a great deal to Greenport basketball over the years and it’s quite an honor. I feel really happy for him, and over the years he’s brought a lot of excitement to Greenport, and I don’t think anybody would doubt the fact that he would belong up there. I feel that throughout the years he carried himself as a real gentleman, not only with his playing skills, but as an icon in the community.”

The 6-foot-2 Creighton was not only a prolific scorer who could knock down long-range attempts with seeming ease as well as power inside for a basket, but he was notably unselfish, a superb passer and a relentless rebounder.

“I think he got just about all he possibly could have gotten out of himself,” Costantini said. “He wasn’t real tall and he wasn’t real fast. He took what God gave him and really nurtured it. I didn’t realize how hard he worked at his game. And he was the total package. He could score, he could pass, he could rebound.”

Over the course of his career with the Porters, there was little Creighton did not achieve, aside from winning a state championship, although he did come close. In his final game for Greenport, Creighton registered 31 points and 12 rebounds in a 47-43 loss to South Kortright in a state final.

Creighton went on to accept a full basketball scholarship from Franklin Pierce University (N.H.). After starting all seven games that he played for Franklin Pierce, Creighton provided stunning news when he decided to leave the school during his freshman season. He said he was burned out and had no desire to play any more.

Edwards recalled the 1992 ceremony when his jersey was retired. It was the same day in which Greenport’s gym was named Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium.

“That was quite an honor and it was a great feeling,” he said.

Creighton’s big day will come before Greenport’s home game against Southold on Jan. 30. Ron McEvoy, Greenport’s former public-address announcer, will preside over a pregame ceremony in which Creighton will be presented with his framed jersey. At some time in the near future, Costantini said, the framed jersey will be hung up on the wall next to Edwards’ No. 33. The ceremony is expected to start around 5:30 p.m., with the game scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m.

Creighton’s uncle, Rodney Shelby, an assistant coach for Greenport, wore No. 34 when he played for the Porters, and Mike Murphy was the last Greenport player to wear that number before Creighton came on the scene. Creighton being assigned No. 34 was more of a practical matter than anything else. He said that when he was brought onto the varsity team as an eighth-grader, the No. 34 jersey was the only one that fit him.

Creighton said the thought of his number being retired never occurred to him during his playing days.

“I honestly I never really thought about none of that stuff,” he said. “Once you get on the court, all you think about is playing and trying to win.”

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07/22/11 12:20pm
07/22/2011 12:20 PM

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Fromer Greenport basketball start Ryan Creighton was injured in a crash early Friday.

Ryan Creighton, who became Long Island’s all-time leading scorer as a member of Greenport High School’s varsity basketball team, was injured early Friday morning when he fell asleep at the wheel and rolled his vehicle over on the Main Road near the CVS store in Mattituck, according to police.

Mr. Creighton was heading to work at Cross Sound Ferry in Orient when the accident occurred at 5:25 a.m., said police.

He was taken  by the Mattituck Fire Department rescue squad to Peconic Bay Medical Center where he was treated and released.