The J. Taylor Finley Middle seventh grade boys’ basketball team endured some struggles this winter, although the roster did include several sharp shooters.
Coached by Alex Nelson, Finley scored above 40 points in half of its games and came without a point of reaching that number in two other contests.
“You never would have thought we went 1-9 this season,” Nelson said. “The boys never got down on themselves, no matter what the score was. It is what I admired most about my team.”
Finley was led by guard Jack Uvena, who averaged 12 points per game and shooting guard Hunter Borenstein, who consistently scored between six and eight games per contest. Joseph Algieri was still another solid contributor on both ends of the court.
“Jack Uvena could do it all on the court,” Nelson said. “He has great size, a fantastic handle on the ball and great vision. He also has great basketball IQ.”
Borenstein also sparkled for the Falcons. “Hunter was easily our best shooter on the team,” Nelson said. “He had great technical skills in shooting and dribbling. He also has great size.”
Despite losing some games, Finley players enjoyed a good all-around experience. The seventh graders sharpened their individual skills and learned how to play as a team.
In addition to the top players, the roster also included Agostino Abbatiello, Matthew Armstrong, Brett Bender, Peter Breingan, Ryan Centeno, Michael Kline, Jack Koopman, Shane Luckow, Michael Mungo, Michael Queen, James Rosselli, Joshua Stephen, Joseph Toscano, Logan Toth and James Viola.
“The best team accomplishment was winning our first game,” Nelson said. “Everyone, including my bench, played hard and got minutes. It was a satisfying team effort.” The game saw Finley topple West Hollow, 55-39.
Nelson has been a Huntington physical education teacher since September 2017. A graduate of Smithtown High School East, he obtained an undergraduate degree at Adelphi University, where he dual majored in physical education and accounting. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in health education.
Licensed by Eastern New York Youth Soccer as a professional soccer trainer working for Long Island Professional Soccer, Mr. Nelson has coached middle school and JV soccer and middle school basketball. He trains travel soccer teams for the Long Island Junior Soccer League.