Two high school boys basketball teams, Elwood/John Glenn and Shoreham-Wading River, walked into the gym with identical 1-3 league records for a proverbial swing game. As Shoreham’s coach, Kevin Culhane, noted beforehand, 2-3 sounds a lot better than 1-4.
Then, in the final seconds of the first half, came the potential swing play of the swing game. Shoreham, which had trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, was closing the gap. After Shoreham’s Jon Constant set up a basket by Ken DeGolyer, Constant intercepted Glenn’s inbounds pass and banked in a close-range shot right before the halftime buzzer. That capped a 13-3 run by the Wildcats (8 of those points coming from Constant) and trimmed Glenn’s lead to only 2 points at 23-21.
Could that heads-up play by Constant have been the turning point of the Suffolk County League VI game?
It could have been, but it wasn’t.
As disappointed as Glenn may have been at halftime to be holding such a slim lead for all the work it had done, its response was immediate and decisive. The Knights opened the third quarter by reeling off 12 straight points before completing a 53-43 victory at Shoreham-Wading River High School on Thursday.
In the end, things swung Glenn’s way in a big way, and some big men helped the Knights.
Glenn (5-6, 2-3) has both height and quickness. Both qualities came in handy against the Wildcats (4-5, 1-4).
Two of those big men, seniors Zach Coppola and Timmy Greschner, were thorns in Shoreham’s side. The 6-foot-3 Coppola poured in 20 points and the 6-6 Greschner had 15 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Glenn gave the Wildcats a hard time on the boards, outrebounding them by 30-17.
Jason Curran led the Wildcats with 15 points, and Constant had 14. Two of Constant’s points came on a nifty twirling move for a basket in the final minute of the first quarter.
Glenn led by as many as 18 points when successive baskets by Greschner, Greschner again and Coppola were followed by a pair of Greschner free throws for a 43-25 lead with 11.8 seconds left in the third quarter.
But the plucky Wildcats were not finished. Curran scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Wildcats mount a 10-2 charge to close the gap to 8 points late in the game.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s Doug DeMaio rising for a shot over Elwood/John Glenn’s Zach Coppola. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)