07/23/14 12:00pm
07/23/2014 12:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Alex Kuhnle recently met soccer star Alex Morgan. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Alex Kuhnle recently met soccer star Alex Morgan. (Credit: Bill Landon)

In her travels across the country playing soccer, Alex Kuhnle had met big-time stars before. Mostly, though, the encounters were brief and in a group.

As a freshman at Shoreham-Wading River last year, Kuhnle made a big impact on varsity as a striker. A quick, skilled player, Kuhnle has already generated interest from Division I schools like UCLA and the University of Miami, Shoreham coach Adrian Gilmore said. (more…)

07/22/14 4:00pm
07/22/2014 4:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River guard Caitlin Mirabell goes up for a layup against Bayport-Blue Point Monday night. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River guard Caitlin Mirabell goes up for a layup against Bayport-Blue Point Monday night. (Credit: Bill Landon)

The summer league roster for Shoreham-Wading River is divided into two general camps: the softball girls and the lacrosse girls. Depending on which day of the week it is, the Shoreham girls basketball team playing in the Town of Brookhaven Basketball League can count on at least one group’s absence.  (more…)

07/15/14 4:00pm
07/15/2014 4:00 PM
Riverhead freshman Faith Johnson-DeSilvia goes up for a basket Monday against Central Islip. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Riverhead freshman Faith Johnson-DeSilvia goes up for a basket Monday against Central Islip. (Credit: Bill Landon)

It’s been only five months since the end of the high school basketball season, yet Riverhead coach Dave Spinella has already seen his team grow by leaps and bounds.

“We’re a thousand times better than we were last year,” he said.  (more…)

07/03/14 10:31pm
07/03/2014 10:31 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Jonah Caldwell blocks the shot of Mattituck's Josh Conklin Thursday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Jonah Caldwell blocks the shot of Mattituck’s Josh Conklin Thursday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Over the sound of a bouncing basketball, squeaking sneakers and the occasional claps from the dozen or so fans in attendance, one voice echoed throughout the gym at Shoreham-Wading River High School late Thursday night.  (more…)

08/07/13 8:21pm
08/07/2013 8:21 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Courtney Clasen scored a game-high 17 points Wednesday against Hampton Bays.

There was no joyous pileup at mid-cout when the buzzer sounded, but the result still was reason to celebrate.

Backed by a 17-point performance from Courtney Clasen, the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team clinched the Town of Brookhaven Small School Summer League title Wednesday night with a 39-30 victory over Hampton Bays at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.

The victory marked the end of the summer season for the Wildcats, who lost only once while picking up 11 victories. And more importantly, they gained some key cohesion and momentum to build off for the upcoming varsity season.

For now, most of the players will turn their attention to soccer, volleyball and field hockey.

But when they reconvene in November, the girls will have plenty of confidence that another run to the playoffs is within reach.

The Wildcats exorcised some demons of the summer league, where they’ve come up short of the title in recent years. Their usual nemesis’s like Southampton and Harborfields weren’t in the league this year, opening the door for Shoreham.

It looked early on as the Wildcats might come up short again. After Clasen scored a layup off the opening tip five seconds into the game, the Wildcats went the next 19 minutes without a field goal, falling behind 14-5.

But a switch to full-court press on defense ignited the offense as the Wildcats were able to do what they do best: force turnovers and get easy baskets.

Clasen scored off an offensive rebound with 8:30 left in the second half to cap a 19-point turnaround as the Wildcats went ahead 33-23.

Senior Taylor Whiffen scored 10 points for Shoreham and senior Shannon Rosati added 8. The trio combined for 35 of the Wildcats’ 39 points.

joew@timesreview.com

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The Wildcats won the 2013 Town of Brookhaven Small School Summer League championship.

07/23/13 9:58pm
07/23/2013 9:58 PM

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River freshman Alex Kuhnle takes a shot in the first half of Tuesday’s summer league game against Sayville.

The Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team was never overpowered last year, even in a rare down year that ended without a trip to the postseason. Only once did the Wildcats lose a game by more than one goal.

The problem, generally, tended to be scoring.

“I think they thought because they lost all those seniors, Kari [Quinn] and Shannon [McDonnell], I think they thought they weren’t going to be as good as they really were,” said Shoreham coach Adrian Gilmore.

A year older and wiser, and having lost only two regular contributors from last year’s team, the Wildcats are poised to take a step forward going into the fall season.

Judging by their performance in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League, the Wildcats believe they can create more offense this year.

One reason for optimism is the return of sophomore Meghan Kelly, who tallied 10 goals in the summer to tie for the league lead.

Another has been the emergence of freshman Alex Kuhnle, who has quickly made an impression on Gilmore.

Kuhnle easily stood out Tuesday against Sayville playing left halfback in a shortened game that was twice-delayed by weather. Sayville won 1-0 on a second-half penalty kick at Patchogue-Medford Youth Complex.

Gilmore said she had heard of Kuhnle and knew she was a talented player, but hadn’t seen her in action until the summer league. A skilled lefty, Kuhnle plays on a number of different soccer teams throughout the year.

“She’s very unselfish,” Gilmore said. “There have been times where I thought maybe she should have shot the ball and she passed it.”

Kelly and Kuhnle represent a young core for the Wildcats to build around for the next few seasons.

“I’m excited to see the combination of her and Meghan up front,” Gilmore said.

Kuhnle had the best scoring chance for Shoreham against Sayville when her shot off a rebound was stopped by a diving goalkeeper. It set up Shoreham’s lone corner kick.

The Wildcats (4-5) haven’t had as many players on the varsity summer team as in years past, which led to two of their losses being forfeits. As tends to be the case in summer league, each game is often a mishmash of different players.

Midfielder Courtney Clasen played in goal Tuesday in the absence of senior Kelly Wynkoop, who was away on a college function.

Clasen will be another key player in the midfield during the regular season, and one player who Gilmore hopes can provide a few more goals.

“She’s outstanding,” Gilmore said. “She’s started and played every game since she’s been in ninth grade. She shoots that ball and I think it will all come together very nicely.”

With most of last year’s team returning, Gilmore said she doesn’t plan on keeping a very large varsity roster in the fall, which will make for some intense competition in tryouts.

In the summer league, Shoreham’s junior varsity team has 29 players, Gilmore said. Most are going into either eighth or ninth grade, Gilmore said.

“It looks like we’re going to have a couple good years of some good athletes coming up,” Gilmore said.

joew@timesreview.com

07/08/13 9:12pm
07/08/2013 9:12 PM

 

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Joanna Messina shoots a jumper against Longwood Monday in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League.

As Riverhead coach David Spinella looked onto the court Monday night inside the sweltering gym at Sachem East High School, he saw three eighth graders and a pair of sophomores at one point.

And he also saw what could end up as Riverhead’s starting lineup come November and the start of the varsity season.

For a young team, summer is a valuable time to begin putting the pieces together and building toward the future. And the Blue Waves have shown a commitment to the game, including playing in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League, where they lost to Longwood Monday, 39-22.

“They’re really working hard together,” Spinella said. “Today they just didn’t have it. And that was frustrating to watch.”

With Shanice Allen’s graduation, the Blue Waves will rely on a young core moving forward.

The good news is, three of those players already have varsity experience.

Forwards Sam Dunn and Dezarae Brown both started games last year as freshmen. And Kim Ligon opened the season as the starting point guard while just a seventh grader before her role was scaled back.

It’s a busy summer for all three, who are all basketball-first athletes.

Dunn and Brown play on the same Amateur Athletic Union basketball team. And three other Riverhead players are also playing AAU ball this summer in addition to the Riverhead team.

“They’re honing their own personal skills and bringing that to the team now,” Spinella said. “We have a stronger post presence than we’ve had in a long time.”

Dunn played a big role on the varsity last year and will become an even more important player over the next few years with her rebounding and low-post scoring. While she’s still only going into her sophomore year, she’s already developed into one of the team’s leaders. Spinella said Joanna Messina, who was called up to varsity during the season last year as a sophomore, has become another leader on the team.

“As far as leading by example, they come every day, they always go 100 percent,” Spinella said. “As a whole, they really are feeding off each other. They really are a family.”

At the start of last season, Spinella talked about how he enjoyed getting back to teaching some of the basics that comes with a younger team. The year before that, the Blue Waves had a veteran team of seniors that advanced to the state semifinals.

Now, it’ll be even more of that teaching.

The lesson Monday was, no matter the game or circumstance, players need to go 100 percent when on the court. Spinella kept the group for a longer than usual talk following the game, just to make the message got across.

“Longwood’s better than us for sure,” he said. “They’re bigger, stronger, older. I had no problem with that — just the way we were hanging our heads and jogging. We were supposed to be pressing and we’re all back at halfcourt.”

Coming off a long weekend and playing inside on a hot day likely didn’t help their cause, but Spinella wasn’t looking for excuses, even if it’s just summer ball.

“You put the jersey on, you got to go as hard as you can,” he said. “But tomorrow’s another day and Wednesday’s another game.”

On Tuesday night’s during the summer the girls get together to work with a strength and conditioning coach. They also practice together and take time to work on their individual games, Spinella said.

“They all come and they all bust their butt,” he said.

The hard work now should pay off in the future. Most of the girls on the summer team are getting their first taste of varsity action. Some girls were only on the middle school team last winter.

“It’s all stuff that in the long run I think benefit,” Spinella said. “They’re committed and they bought in and that’s the most important thing.”

joew@timesreview.com

08/08/12 10:41pm
08/08/2012 10:41 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Shoreham-Wading River’s Sabrina Santiago, Southampton’s Cassidy Guida and Shoreham-Wading River’s Alex Fehnel keeping focus on the ball.

The summer of 2012 has given the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team a lot to feel good about, particularly the beginning and the middle. As for the end, well, that’s another story.

That end came on Wednesday evening, and it is one the Wildcats would rather forget.

A 24-point loss to Southampton was not exactly what the Wildcats had envisioned, even if it was in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools final. Southampton’s quickness and harassing defense gave Shoreham-Wading River fits, handing the Wildcats their first loss on the court this summer, 42-18, at St. Joseph’s College’s John A. Danzi Athletic Center.

“They definitely took advantage of every mistake that we made,” Shoreham-Wading River senior forward Alex Fehmel said. “Whenever we didn’t come to the ball they would take it from us. … They were very quick on their feet, and I don’t think we expected it to be like that.”

Shoreham-Wading River’s only other loss in the 12 games it played was by forfeit to Southampton. Those two teams, along with Islip, had finished the regular season with division-leading 8-1 records.

But the Wildcats weren’t helped by the fact that they were without two of their most experienced points guards for the small schools final: Cari Gostic and Courtney Clasen. Against a speedy, athletic backcourt like Southampton’s, that can be a problem.

As if the Wildcats didn’t have enough to worry about, contending with Paris Hodges and her sister, Noel Hodges, there was also the active Cassidy Guida and Kesi Goree, an inside force. It was too much for Shoreham-Wading River.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shannon Rosati of Shoreham-Wading River driving to the basket while Southampton’s Noel Hodges tries to draw a charging foul.

Southampton has several skilled ballhandlers, perhaps the best being Paris Hodges. Shoreham-Wading River coach Dennis Haughney was struck by how the senior handled double-team pressure. “This girl was not only controlling the ball,” he said, “she was splitting both of our girls and bringing it to the next level and kicking it out” to open teammates for a shot.

Indeed Paris Hodges’ quality came through. She would have been the clear choice for a player of the game honor. Her all-around performance included 8 points, 9 steals, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.

Southampton’s defense forced Shoreham-Wading River into making 27 turnovers (the Mariners, on the other hand, had only eight). The Mariners collected 23 steals, one more than their rebound total.

“I’ll be honest,” Shoreham-Wading River senior forward Meghan King said. “Southampton, they were playing a great game.”

Things started off well enough for Shoreham-Wading River when a basket by Taylor Whiffen brought the Wildcats the game’s first two points. It was all Southampton after that, though. Guida sank a pair of 3-point shots as Southampton went on a 13-0 surge.

By the time the first half was over, Shoreham-Wading River had only six points to show for itself — and a 15-point deficit. Almost as concerning for the Wildcats was that their top player, King, had no points next to her name.

Two more 3-pointers by Guida highlighted a 15-0 run that gave Southampton a comfortable 36-10 lead.

All 12 of Guida’s points came from threes. Goree ended up with 10 points.

Whiffen was Shoreham-Wading River’s leading scorer with 6 points. King and Shannon Rosati had 5 each. King, who said she is still not fully recovered from an ankle injury she sustained earlier this summer, also grabbed 8 rebounds.

With Clasen and Gostic missing, Sabrina Santiago, Rosati and Kerry Clark saw time at point guard.

How much did it hurt not having Clasen and Gostic?

“Both of the players that we were missing are very good,” Fehmel said, “so it was a little hard not having them on the court, but we do the best that we can with whoever we have and everyone who steps on the court gives 110 percent.”

Shoreham-Wading River looks in good shape for the upcoming school season. Clasen, King, Rosati and Whiffen are returning starters, and the Wildcats lost only one player from last season’s varsity playoff team. King was an all-conference player, Rosati and Whiffen were both all-league choices, and Clasen received the League VI rookie of the year award.

“We’ve got a bright future and I think the girls are going to be good for years, it’s just how good are we going to be?” Haughney said. “It’s nice to be good. We have been good, but we really want to try to get to that next level.”

As for this summer, it was a good one for the Wildcats. It’s just that the last game left a bad taste in their mouths.

“We had a lot of good moments over the summer, a real lot of good moments, but you never want it to end that way,” Haughney said. “It just makes you realize the things you have to work on and how it feels and how you don’t want to feel like that again.”

bliepa@timesreview.com