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.
It may be early July, the start of the varsity season still five months away, but Shoreham coach Kevin Culhane only knows one way.
From the opening tip to the final whistle, Culhane yelled out instructions, encouraged players after a miscue and complimented plays he liked during Shoreham’s game against Mattituck in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League.
“Fight the screen!” “Keep in front!” “Rebound!”
“I love coaching, I love being with the kids,” Culhane said after the Wildcats won, 41-24, in their second game of the summer. “The older I get, I really think I appreciate it more.”
At one point late in the second half, as a Mattituck player stood at the free-throw line, Culhane was a few feet onto the court demonstrating a box out technique.
The Tuckers, who were without several of their key players, were coached by a familiar face. Tom Sledjeski, a 2012 Mattituck grad who played on the Tuckers’ 2011 Long Island championship team, will be assisting with the summer team.
Sledjeski, who attends Villanova University, said he enjoys staying involved with the program.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a good way to stay with basketball, even when you can’t play anymore.”
The Wildcats led from start to finish in Thursday’s game to improve to 2-0 in the summer league. Jonah Caldwell, a key forward from last year’s team, had a strong game with 13 points for Shoreham. Ethan Wiederkehr, another low-post threat for Shoreham, added 11 points, 10 of which came in the second half. He was the recipient of a couple nice passes from Marc Ceruti.
Parker Tuthill led the Tuckers (0-2) in scoring with 14 points.