The Eastport South Manor girls basketball team had just five players on its roster boasting only a year of experience each at the varsity level entering this season. But that lack of manpower and overall experience has not mattered much—at least for the early part of the season.
The Lady Sharks picked up a pair victories in their first week of games, the first a 33-19 win at Mercy on Friday and the second a 49-37 victory at home over Southold/Greenport on Monday night. Both were non-league games.
While ESM head coach Steve Giacolone was happy with his team’s early success, he doesn’t want to get too excited just yet.
“Well, we’re not the New York Knicks,” he said. “We’re trying to feel our way through a lot of things right now. This is the first time a lot of these girls stepped on the court with a varsity uniform on. It’s a process.”
In their first game at Mercy on Friday, the Lady Sharks led the entire way. They had a 15-4 lead at the half that they extended to 27-7 by the end of the third quarter. Giacolone said Mercy only had six players at the game and that may have been a factor in the lopsided victory. Regardless, he was happy with the win, noting that all of his players saw time on the court and most chipped in.
“Eight out of our 12 players scored,” he said. “It was good to get their feet wet. Every time from this point forward they should feel more confident with each game. We’ve only had about 14, 15 practices so far, so we haven’t come close to putting everything in our scheme yet.”
Sophomore Nijay Brown led ESM in scoring with seven points while sophomore Samantha Giacolone had five points. In her first varsity game, freshman Diamond Rodriguez scored four points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two assists.
“She’s very energetic. She goes after the rebounds,” Giacolone said of Rodriguez. “She played well.”
Against Southold/Greenport, ESM trailed 7-6 after the first quarter but took the lead in the second frame and never looked back. The Lady Sharks led by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Brown scored a game-high 15 points and freshman Laura Kesnig scored nine of her 11 points in the second half.
Sharks Lose To Bonackers
Due to their collective inexperience, members of the ESM boys basketball team knew they would have some growing pains this year. Well, those started on Friday night, a 53-33 loss at East Hampton.
The Sharks had a solid first half and trailed the Bonackers by just four points at the break. ESM fell behind in the third quarter, however, when they were outscored 20-4.
ESM head coach Chris Carlson said his team became complacent on offense in the second half and didn’t do a good enough job of picking up defensive rebounds.
“It was a culmination of things, really,” he said.
Many of ESM’s players were playing in their first varsity game, and the numbers showed that. ESM shot 23 percent from the field and just 16 percent from the free throw line.
“East Hampton is a tough environment to play in, especially when it’s your first varsity game,” Carlson said. “Overall, I think the jitters got to them. When you don’t score you put a lot of pressure on your own defense to get stops and that was a major problem for us in the third quarter.”
Carlson did note that he thought his team played well at times, especially in the first half. He said his players moved the ball well and made the extra pass when needed.
“A lot of basketball has to do with pride,” he said. “Taking pride in your defending, boxing out. There were times we did well in all aspects and then there were times where we didn’t do anything well. We’ll be looking for consistency over the next couple of weeks.”
Senior Devon Cummings led ESM with nine points while junior Mat Annunziata had seven points and nine rebounds. Junior Dennis Sullivan scored eight points. But for his team to be successful, Carlson said he is going to need more production from Sullivan and senior Cody Kull.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Wednesday, 12/5, at Bay Shore, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 12/7, at Hampton Bays Tip-Off Tournament, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 12/8, at Hampton Bays Tip-Off Tournament, 1:15 p.m. Boys—Friday, 12/7, vs. Miller Place, 5:45 p.m.; Tuesday, 12/11, at Shoreham/Wading River, 4 p.m,; Friday, 12/14, vs. Rocky Point, 5:45 p.m.