For anyone who thought Jack Melore was impressive catching a football in the fall, they need to see him shoot a basketball this winter.
The Smithtown West junior is following up an autumn where he rolled up more than 1,200 receiving yards and a dozen touchdowns with what could be an even better basketball season. He has become the Mr. Outside to 6-8½ Patrick Burke’s Mr. Inside and together they have helped the Bulls emerge as the team to beat in Suffolk AA.
Melore had 19 points, including four three-pointers, and Burke had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Smithtown West turned the much-anticipated Suffolk I showdown at Bay Shore into a 57-32 rout on Saturday. The Bulls (12-0, 10-0) remain the last unbeaten boys basketball team on Long Island.
Melore’s shooting and Smithtown West’s quick-handed defense laid the foundation early. He had seven of his points as the Bulls scored eight off turnovers for an 18-6 lead after one quarter. His third three-pointer came from near halfcourt at the halftime buzzer and put Smithtown West up, 36-13.
Matt Bannell came off the bench to score all his seven points in a 10-0 second-quarter run that opened a 30-8 lead. Burke had 13 of his points after halftime. Michael Samuda had 14 points for the Marauders (9-3, 8-2).
“They are considerably better than us and it showed up in every aspect of the game,” coach Bay Shore coach Kenny Parham said. “They have one player [Burke] no one can stop and when you compensate, they have a bunch of pretty good players who can beat you, too.”
Bulls coach Mike Agostino said, “if you look at that first half, you can see it all started with our defense” and Melore added “defense wins games and scoring determines by how much.”
A shoulder injury cost Melore virtually all of last season, when the Bulls went 21-2 and reached a Suffolk AA semifinal. He was healthy enough to play summer ball with his teammates in July before switching to football in August and Agostino said “you could see he was going to be dynamite.” Though a dozen games he is averaging 18.3 points and has made 31 three-pointers.
“I was welcomed when I started playing and I love this winning culture,” Melore said. “There’s so much competitiveness in practices and you can see the results in the games.”
“His play has been super crucial,” Burke said. “I didn’t realize how good he was because he’d been hurt. But he has opened up the floor for the rest of. They have to respect that shot.”
The Bulls’ have another potential challenge Tuesday when they host Commack (11-2, 9-1), but they are brimming with confidence. As Burke put it “we feel we can beat any team we play.” Added Melore: “any team, anytime, anywhere — this team expects to win.”