Boys basketball looks for winning formula

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Elana Galassi

Junior Al Ashmawy takes the jump to start the game against Manhasset. The Vikings won the game by a score of 51-46.

Seth Barshay, Staff Writer

In order to inspire the boys basketball team, Head Coach Mr.  Sean Dooley gave his players an article to read at the beginning of this season.

“Tough players come to work every day to get better and keep their horizons short.  They meet victory and defeat the same way.  They get up the next day and go to work to be better than they were the day before,” said ESPN analyst Jay Bilas in his college basketball article “Toughness.”

It appears that the players took the article’s lessons to heart.

On Dec. 7, the team participated in the 54th annual Fritz Mueller and Arnie Simms Invitational Holiday Tournament.  Led by captains seniors Joey Alagna and Josh Gordon and junior Matt Siegel, they won their first game in the tournament against Manhasset.

With the game tied and 57 seconds left, Gordon scored the final two of his seven points on a layup to give Port the lead and eventually a 51-46 victory.

“The way the team pulled out the win on Friday was by playing tough,” said Siegel.  “Giving it our all to come back from the 15 point deficit.  We went full speed with no slowing down and worked together as a team.  Not a single person hogged it or took unnecessary shots.”

Siegel finished the game with 10 points, while junior Ryan Kriftcher led the team with 19.

The win against Manhasset advanced Port to the final round of the tournament, where they faced Hempstead.   The team started strong, going up 25-19 at the end of the first half, but ultimately lost by a score of 48-39.

For the second game in a row, Kriftcher led the team in scoring, this time putting up 14 points.  The next leading scorers were Gordon and Alagna, contributing nine and seven points, respectively.

“We played hard and we played good defense, but we couldn’t really score in the fourth quarter, and our players getting into foul trouble hurt us,” said sophomore Noah Linder.

One important event to look forward to is the upcoming Coaches vs.  Cancer Fundraiser on Feb. 1.

Created by Coach Dooley two years ago, the event raises money for cancer research.  Last year the teams raised well over $1,000, which was all donated to the American Cancer Society to help fight the disease.

This year’s event will feature a game against conference rival East Meadow High School.

Certainly the team faces challenges, most notably the fact that many of last year’s team members graduated and there are only five returning players on the 2012-13 team roster.  But the early returns look promising, with the returnees stepping up and new players playing important roles as well.

“We hope to make the playoffs this year and have a better record than last year,” said Gordon.  “We have to play as a team and play good defense.  And hopefully Joey takes ten threes a game.”