By Keith Klang
"We are ready to win this division; we have a team that is very talented in many areas." This quote from guard Brian Moran typifies the type of enthusiasm that surrounds the entire Boys Varsity Basketball team. With an early crushing defeat to the defending state champs, Walt Whitman, the team looked frustrated, searching for an identity. However, it didn't take long as they put together two convincing wins over Plainview JFK and Island Trees. The squad has proved itself more than ready to make a run for a division title and possibly make some noise in the playoffs.
The season opened with a tournament in Uniondale against the defending state champs. Although it presented itself as a huge challenge, it was really a measuring stick where the boys could assess what type of team they truly were. Taking a commanding 17-point lead, the Vikings allowed the Walt Whitman team to climb back into it. Before Port even blinked an eye the score was tied and eventually was won on two late free throws by the Walt Whitman team. Even with the loss, the team could hold their heads high as they now had the mental and physical stamina to stay with the best of the teams.
The next two games were more optimistic as the team won both meetings with quality opponents. In these two games the Vikings were able to beat the other team in the paint and on the boards. In the second game of the season against Plainview JFK the squad put on an amazing offensive showcase with Ira James, Andrew Levy and Mike Cetta leading the way. This game was important because not only was it the first win of the season but it also illustrated that they were not a team that takes defeat lightly. The last win was against Island Trees and was the first home game of the season. Many Port Faithful showed up to support their talented basketball team. Port went up early in the first quarter 20-9 and the offensive assault continued throughout the second quarter as they took a 44-33 lead at the break. The squad led by Ira James (16 points, seven blocks and seven rebounds) defeated the Island Tree Bulldogs handily with a rousing 84-71 victory. James put up some flashy moves with terrific dunks and swooping hooks. Starting center Mike Ryder put up 10 points of his own and was hustling all the way, drawing pivotal charging fouls and providing tough defense. Andrew Levy and Ray Ross crashed the boards and led the Vikings strong defense. Clutch three pointers by Brian Moran and the consistent play of Quentin Dumpson and Fred Dumpson all paved the way for a great victory.
The team starts its league games on Jan. 4 and will have many home games throughout the season. In Division 1, reaching the playoffs will be no easy task. With tough opponents like Carey, Elmont, MacArthur, Dix Hills and Herricks the Port Vikings have their work cut out for them. However, if they continue to play like the strong team they have shown of late, the sky is the limit for the boys. Coached by Phil Coppola and assisted by Robert Wilson, the team is both well coached and has a wealth of raw talent. Come on down to Schreiber High School and support the boys who have already shown great dedication to their sport for the town of Port Washington.