Last night, the boys’ basketball team opened its 98th season with a 72-55 victory over Shelter Island in the 5th Annual Silent Night Game. Stony Brook’s hardwood remained a house of horrors for the islanders who have not left Chapman Parkway with a win in their last 22 games dating back to 1993.
A Christmas-clad Blue Fan Group packed Swanson Gymnasium for the annual tradition of remaining completely silent until the Bears’ 10th point, though early, emphatic blocks from CJ Edwards and Colin Scanlon made keeping a lid on the cheers difficult. Scanlon opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, then transfer Matt Fajfer answered an Indians layup with a 3-pointer of his own. Shelter Island added another bucket to pull within 6-4 before an Owen Sobel layup brought the fans to the precipice. Scanlon unleashed them at the 3:07 mark with a 3-pointer, joining his brother Seamus in an exclusive club of silence-breakers. The Blue Fan Group erupted, sending the islanders into a frenzy, ultimately resulting in a misfired 3-pointer. Scanlon followed with a free throw before Fajfer canned his second 3-pointer of the frame as the lead grew to 15-4. The Indians responded with a pair of 3-pointers but T.J. Wachter closed the quarter with a layup to give the Brook an 18-11 edge after one.
In the second quarter, the Indians clawed their way back into the game with their patented brand of tough, scrappy play. They extended possessions with gritty rebounding, pestered the Bears with their extended zone, and connected on a trio of 3-pointers to pull within 24-22. The Bears responded with a quick 8-0 run thanks to layups from Wachter, Edwards, and Sobel, and a jumper from Fajfer, but a fourth Shelter Island 3-pointer in the quarter stemmed the tide. Edwards answered with a tough layup through contact, but Shelter closed the quarter with a pair of buckets to head into the break trailing 29-34.
The islanders opened the second half with two scores to pull within 33-34 as a restless Blue Fan Group nervously shifted, but a 7-0 run, punctuated by a Fajfer 3-pointer, restored a 41-33 cushion. The Indians saw the Bears’ trifecta and raised them a four-point play on the ensuing possession to move back within four points. A minute later, leading by a narrow 44-39 margin, the Bears used four momentum shifting plays to engineer an 8-0 and grab an advantage that would not fall below double-digits the rest of the way. Sobel ignited the run with a pair of steals and layups. Wachter followed with a defensive rebound before dribbling coast to coast and drawing a foul on a made layup to bring the crowd to its feet. Edwards then blocked two shots before finishing a layup. When the dust settled the Bears held a 52-39 lead and ended the third frame ahead, 53-41
The Bears opened the fourth with a 5-0 run to all but put the islanders away, but Edwards rewarded all those who stuck around for the final minutes of the game. After a steal in the half court, the sophomore raced up the court and threw down his first career dunk before closing the scoring by hitting a layup plus the foul as the Bears took the season opening win, 72-55. The win gave first-year head coach Joe Calabria his first victory with the Bears.
Scanlon and Sobel led the Brook with 17 points apiece. Edwards (15), Fajfer (11), and Wachter (10) also scored in double-figures while Brandon Gicquel chipped in 2 points. The Bears are back in action today in their PSAA opener vs. Avenues.
The difference in the game was a result of too many Indian turnovers, 27 over the course of 32 minutes. It is extremely difficult to beat a good team — and Stony Brook is traditionally a very good team — when a team commits that many turnovers. These are lost scoring opportunities and the Bears took advantage of the situation, scoring off transition for some easy baskets.
~ Shelter Island Reporter
Silent Night History
|Dec. 6, 2019||Shelter Island||W 72-55||Colin Scanlon 3-Pointer|
|Dec. 15, 2018||vs. Smithtown Christian||W 52-23||Seamus Scanlon FT|
|Dec. 2, 2017||vs. Shelter Island||W 68-46||Emil Vaughn 3-pointer|
|Dec. 9, 2016||vs. Ross School||W 50-26||Seamus Scanlon 3-pointer|
|Dec. 5, 2015||vs. Rocky Point||W 76-60||Luke O’Connor layup|