WILDCATS 63, PHANTOMS 56
Danny Hughes is listed at 6-foot-5, the tallest player on the Shoreham-Wading River roster. By his height alone, it would seem Hughes would best be served under the rim.
But as Hughes showed Friday afternoon against Bayport-Blue Point in a pivotal League VI game, he can do a lot more than simply clog the middle. Even as the tallest player, Hughes plays more like a guard, a big-man who can dribble on the perimeter and slash to the basket. He can also hit from the outside.
Against the Phantoms, Hughes did a little of everything, pouring in a game-high 27 points in a 63-56 victory at Shoreham-Wading River High School. And since he is the big man, he grabbed 19 rebounds.
“Danny’s a mismatch for a lot of coaches,” Culhane said. “I play him like a guard and a lot of teams don’t have a guy that’s either big enough to stay with him or strong enough if I post him up inside.”
Coming off a disappointing loss to Miller Place Tuesday, the Wildcats (6-4) bounced back with a resounding victory in a game they nearly led wire-to-wire. Bayport briefly took its only lead of the game early in the third quarter at 28-27. But Shoreham answered with an 11-0 run to push the lead to double digits.
The Wildcats evened their league record at 3-3 at the midway point of the league season. If the Wildcats can at least match that record over the second half of the season, it would guarantee them a playoff spot.
The Wildcats welcomed back junior Jonah Caldwell to the lineup. A 6-foot-3 forward who adds a huge element to the Wildcats on both ends of the court, Caldwell tore a ligament in his right hand during a practice in early December. He returned to the lineup Friday and, while rusty at first, showed why he’s a huge part of Shoreham’s lineup.
Caldwell finished with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half.
Shoreham opened the game hot from the outside. The Wildcats drained four 3-pointers in the first quarter, which opened up the rest of their offense. They finished the game 19 of 43 from the field (44 percent). The Wildcats limited Bayport (8-3, 3-2 League VI) to 35 percent shooting (22 of 62).
Bayport’s Connor Panzner led the Phantoms with 26 points.