Update: Ocracoke will play the Lake Mattamuskeet Lakers today (Tuesday, Feb. 19); 5 p.m. Ocracoke School gym. Game will be broadcast on WOVV, 90.1 FM and online at wovv.rocks.
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By Richard Taylor
SWAN QUARTER — For the second straight year, the conference leading Ocracoke Dolphins boys’ varsity basketball team is favored to win this week’s Atlantic 5 basketball tournament.
By virtue of their 11-1 conference record and a convincing 88-64 victory over the Mattamuskeet Lakers Thursday night in Swan Quarter, the Dolphins have earned a first-round bye and home-court advantage for a second-round game Tuesday (Feb. 19) in the Tank. Ocracoke is 14-7 overall.
On the long ferry ride from Silver Lake to Swan Quarter Thursday afternoon, some Dolphins worked on homework in the MV Carteret passenger lounge.
At the game, the Dolphins characteristic fast-paced run-and-gun offense, excellent passing and good overall ball handling, plus solid free-throw shooting, enabled Ocracoke to overcome a stellar performance by the Lakers’ co-captain Antonio Rodman from 3-point land.
The Dolphins could not stop the five foot-nine-inch Rodman from beyond the key, as the senior Laker guard swished numerous 3-pointers during the contest.
“That’s the best he’s ever shot against us,” Dolphins’ coach David Allewalt said afterwards. “He was awesome.”
Known for regularly rotating his lineup, Allewalt said, “I didn’t think we were moving our feet at first, and we got into a bit of foul trouble. But as we moved forward, we got some good production from our bench.”
“I thought Christian Trejo and Dylan Esham gave us some really good minutes,” Allewalt added. “I thought everybody chipped in adequately. Overall we did everything pretty well.”
The Dolphins led 46-31 at halftime and have won all three games against Mattamuskeet this season. Their 88-point total was the team’s highest this year.
There seemed to be almost as many islanders as Laker fans in the stands for Senior Night in the half-full Mattamuskeet Early College High School gym Thursday.
In other recent home wins, the Dolphins beat Columbia 79-41 on Jan. 29 and Mattamuskeet 81-47 on Feb. 1. After that game, senior Colby Austin was crowned Homecoming King. Taylor Fuller was named Homecoming Queen. Sam Evans was named prince and Mackenzie O’Neal the princess.
Guidance Counselor Mary McKnight said all the homecoming contestants volunteered for the nominations and the entire school voted for the court.
On Senior Night Feb. 6, the Dolphins honored Co-captains Colby Austin, Sam Evans and Kalai Samick before defeating second place Bear Grass Charter 55-41.
Ocracoke then avenged the team’s only conference loss (47-42 against Hatteras Jan. 22) by humbling the Hurricanes at home 57-45 on Feb. 8. Ocracoke is undefeated against Bear Grass Charter and Columbia this season.
Colby Austin, Reese Gaskins and Perry Austin lead the Dolphins in scoring with season averages of 14.5, 14.0 and 10.9 points-per-game respectively.
In this week’s Atlantic 5 tournament, fourth-place Mattamuskeet plays at home against fifth-place Columbia for Monday’s play-in game in Swan Quarter. The winner of that game plays at Ocracoke Tuesday.
Second place Bear Grass Charter plays at home against third place Hatteras Monday, to determine who will play for the championship Wednesday.
Our JV team has been playing well lately, despite a heart-stopping 63-60 home overtime loss to Bear Grass on Feb. 6. The JV team lost to Bear Grass Monday night, 50-43, in the Atlantic 5 tournament play-in game. The younger Dolphins ended their season 5-13 overall and 5-7 in the Atlantic 5 conference.
Would Allewalt rather play against Columbia or Mattamuskeet on Tuesday?
“I don’t care,” he said. “In order to win a conference championship, you have to be organized and be prepared to beat any team you may face. It doesn’t matter to me.
“We won the regular season, so if we play the way I know we can, we shouldn’t really have any problems competing with any team we might play.”
If Ocracoke wins Tuesday as expected, the Dolphins will play for the conference championship Wednesday in Columbia against the winner of Monday’s Bear Grass Charter vs. Hatteras game.
WOVV will broadcast the championship game live from Columbia on 90.1 FM and streaming on wovv.rocks. Athletic Director Adam Burleson will call the game.
The Dolphins are currently ranked 57th among state 1A teams and 431st among all North Carolina high school varsity teams by maxpreps.com
The Dolphins have earned a first-round state 1A playoff home game about Feb. 26, thanks to winning the regular season Atlantic 5 championship. WOVV will also broadcast that game.