Port boys basketball looks to return to finals

New members make early contributions to continue their success

Caroline Williams, Staff Writer

“Successful programs consist of people working hard, working together, while never worrying about who gets the credit.”  

This quote by Don Meyer, former basketball coach of Northern State University, encapsulates the Port Washington Boys Viking Basketball Team.  With hard work, determination, and selflessness, the boys are ready to have a great season and be the best they possibly can be.  

Last year the boys had a very impressive run.  They started their season with a win against a tough Massapequa team by a score of 50-36.  Massapequa came back, and by the end of the second half, Port was only up by three.  The Vikings added to their lead in the third and fourth as now graduated Marc Daly hit four straight free throws to put the Chiefs away.  The boys then continued to win, moving their season to 4-0 as they beat Great Neck South, Roslyn and Archbishop Molloy.  The boys then moved on to the Mueller-Sims Tournament against Manhasset High School where they lost 78-76 dropping them 4-1 on the season.  

During conference play, the boys lost their first game against a tough competitor, Baldwin, by a score of 68-62. However, they redeemed themselves with wins in their next nine games.  They beat West Hempstead 57-36, Long Beach by a score of 63-42, and then Plainview JFK 65-48.  In their next game against Westbury, the Vikings trailed 36-23 at halftime, but surged their way back to lead 46-45 at the end of the third, and eventually to the win.  The boys finished their regular season with a tenth straight win against a solid East Meadow squad, clinching a home playoff game.  

The playoffs began against Freeport, in which the Vikings played a great team game and won 82-66.  The boys then moved onto defeat Baldwin, who was the number four ranked team on Long Island, and advanced onto the Nassau AA finals at Farmingdale State College.  The team nearly captured its first county championship in 72 years, but unfortunately lost to Uniondale 51-48.  Down 10 points heading into the fourth and final quarter, Port roared back, but ran out of time before it could complete the comeback.  The team fell to Uniondale 51-48, who went on to lose a hard-fought game to Brentwood in the Long Island championship. 

This year, the boys are eager to repeat those successes and have a great season.  They started off their season with a home game on Wednesday Dec. 4 against Roslyn.  Their starting lineup included, No. 21 Jalen Griffin (guard), No. 4 Brandon Caslow (guard), No. 11 Volkan Levent (guard), No. 34 Dylan Trenaman (forward), and No. 22 Matt Scmitz (forward).  The final score was 48-39 Port.  They won 55-48 against Southside, and had impressive performances from Jalen Griffin, who put a double double, meaning he accumulated a double-digit number total in two of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in one game.  The most common double-double combination is points and rebounds, followed by points and assists.  

Overall, Griffin scored fifteen points and grabbed fourteen rebounds, while his teammate Matt Schmitz scored thirteen points.  The boys then played four games during one week, in which they lost by 14 to Massapequa 59-45 and by two points to Bethpage, but won their games against Great Neck South 55-37 and Oceanside 59-41.  

The boys also competed in the Manhasset Tournament, where senior Chris Bradberry was named to the All-Tournament Team.  The boys finished their 2019 year with a win against Calhoun 62-53, in which Bradberry and Griffin displayed notable defensive performances and the entire team executed terrific three point shooting.  

            The boys also competed in the Malverne Holiday Tournament over the break.  They had a strong opening round, beating Oceanside 61-44, and advanced onto the final round against Malverne, who they beat 68-61.  Griffin took home the Tournament MVP award, while Brandon Caslow and Christian Schwirzbin took home All-Tournament Honors.  

The boys are ready to start the new year and continue to build momentum this season.  

“My team goals are to become better every single day in order to be the best we can possibly be.  Obviously a county championship is what I think most people on the team want including me, but overall being the best we can be is my number one goal,” said junior Christian Schwirzbin.

         Some shooting drill record holders for the team include juniors Dylan Trenaman and Max Mallah, who hold the record for 3 minute Fatigue Shooting at 29.  

“It is an honor to hold the record, but now everyone wants to beat it so I have to continue to work hard to raise it.  Fatigue shooting is where you have a rebounder and you put up shots for three minutes straight and count your makes.  The rule is that you have to move three steps around the arc every time you shoot,” said Mallah. 

Along with these records, Chris Capariello holds the record for Beal Shooting at 20 and Andrew Robinson holds the record for 5 Spot Shooting at 38.  

With these goals and a reputation to uphold, it is not surprising that the boys have very intense practices.  They usually start with a warmup that develops their passing, dribbling, and shooting skills, in order to get fundamentals and basics down.  Then they usually go into shell drill which is a defensive drill where they practice their positioning when the ball is at different spots on the court.  They also work on a drill known as “Perfection,” which includes full court layups, passing, and shots in a certain allotted time.  

However, the boys never forget why they love basketball and their team in the midst of the tough work they do every single day.  

“I love the fact that we all have bonded and gotten so close as a team.  We all play for each other and want our teammates to get the winning shot,” said Mallah. 

They have established a sense of brotherhood, give each other advice, and constantly push each other to be the best they can be.