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Bears Top Islanders to Stay Unbeaten

January 23, 2016

Over the years Swanson Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the Shelter Island boys’ basketball team, who have not escaped the Brook with a win since 1993. While a talented team closely battled the Bears until the final buzzer, the blue and white continued its dominance over the east enders, making all the plays down the stretch in a 65-52 victory.

Scores from Mac Bohuny and Luke O’Connor gave the Bears an early 4-2 lead, but Shelter Island responded with 5 straight points to take a 7-4 edge. Two free throws from Chester Kayonga and a runner from O’Connor gave the Brook a brief lead before the Indians reclaimed it with a pair of free throws. With time winding down in the quarter, O’Connor squared up from well beyond the three-point line and drained a trifecta that left the blue and white up 11-9 after the first frame.

In a frenetic second quarter the lead changed hands four different times as both squads battled for early momentum. A drive and layup from Bohuny gave the Bears a 27-24 lead in the final minute, but a Shelter Island score in the closing seconds cut their deficit to just a point at the break.

The Indians reeled off an 11-2 run to begin the second half, quieting a large Friday night crowd and seizing a 35-29 lead. The Bears responded with a 6-0 run as two free throws from Kayonga were sandwiched between scores by Jyles Etienne. The Islanders briefly took a 37-35 lead, but another Etienne layup and another deep 3-pointer from O’Connor just inside the buzzer gave the blue and white a 40-37 advantage heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter began with a huge possession for the Bears. It began inauspiciously with two missed 3-pointers, but offensive rebounds led to a Brandon Providence trifecta that gave the Brook their largest lead of the game at 43-37. After a free throw from Shelter, a basket from Kayonga pushed the Bears’ lead to 7. With their backs against the wall, the Islanders fought back with a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to one. In need of a big play, Harry Zhu took advantage of a sloughed off defender to drain a huge 3-pointer and put the Bears back up by 4. The Bears sandwiched a pair of Etienne free throws and a gorgeous backdoor alley-oop layup for Kayonga around a Shelter score for a 6-point lead, but the Indians showed no signs of succumbing without a fight. The Bears drove an early nail in the coffin when Etienne hit a hook shot in the lane, drew a foul, and converted the free throw to vault the Bears up by 9 past the midway point of the quarter. Shelter scored on their next possession to cut their deficit to 7, and then began fouling to lengthen the game. Clutch shooting from the line kept the Islanders at bay as the Bears were 6-for-8 in the final 1:27. That, combined with two Shelter Island turnovers in the final 45 seconds allowed the Bears to close out the victory.

Defense won the game for the Brook down the stretch as they held Shelter’s Tristan Wissemann, Suffolk County’s leading scorer at 24.9 ppg, to just 6 second half points in a 20-point effort.

Etienne scored a team-high 17 points that included a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the free throw line. The balanced scoring continued with O’Connor (16), Kayonga (15), Bohuny (9), Zhu (5), and Providence (3).

The win kept the Bears undefeated in League VIII at 7-0. The Bears are now 44-7 all-time against the Indians under coach Mike Hickey.

The Bears take the floor again on Tuesday as they host Greenport.

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League VIII Standings

  1. Stony Brook (7-0)
  2. Bridgehampton (6-1)
  3. Shelter Island (4-3)
  4. Pierson (4-3)
  5. Southold (2-6)
  6. Port Jeff (2-6)
  7. Greenport (1-7)

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