Sports

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By Bill Landon

The Miller Place Panthers boys basketball team scored first and never looked back, out-distancing visiting Sayville 59-52 Feb. 1. Senior forward Thomas Nealis led the way for the Panthers, topping the scoring chart with eight field goals and a pair of free throws for a total 18 points along with 16 rebounds and five assists. Junior Thomas Cirrito followed with three from the line and six 2-pointers for a total of 15 while junior Timothy Hirdt came up from behind banking 12.

With the win Miller Place improves to 12-2 in League V and 15-3 overall with one games remaining before postseason play begins. The Panthers retook the court Feb. 4 against Westhampton, which they won 71-50. The team is back home Feb. 7 where they’ll host Mount Sinai for their Senior Recognition Game. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m.

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The Centereach Cougars boys basketball team capped off their senior night with a 77-43 victory over West Islip at home Feb. 4.

Scoring was spread among 11 different Centereach players where senior forward Jay Idzinski led the way with two triples, five field goals and a free throw for 17 points. Senior Ryan DeCoursey banked seven field goals for 14, followed by senior Justin Fanesi who netted 10. Also in the scoring mix were seniors Zach Cogliati with seven, Stephen Cartolano notching five, Ryan Mahnke netting four and Jonah George banking two.

The League III win put Centereach at 6-9, 7-12 overall. The team played Huntington High School Feb. 5. Results were not available by press time.

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By Bill Landon

Centereach girls fencing faced Sayville/Bayport/Connetquot at the old Sayville junior high school Jan. 26 with two matches remaining in the regular season.

According to Centereach Coach Cristina Piraino, her squad wasn’t at full strength with missing a few starters who were competing in the Science Olympiads event.

Despite the spotty roster the Cougars managed to win 10 of 27 bouts where Kayley Otero won all three of her matches in foil, as did eighth-grader Gianna DiCanio.

The Cougars rallied back later in the day to beat Brentwood/Bay Shore 15-12 to remain in second place at 5-2 in League II. Centereach is back out on the strip at home Jan 31. First bout is at 5 p.m.

By Bill Landon

The Comsewogue Warriors girls basketball team came out strong for the first three quarters Jan. 31, but visiting Smithtown East Bulls put their foot on the gas in the final 8 minutes of play outscoring Comsewogue, 19 to 13, to snatch a 40-33 victory.

Smithtown East junior Brianna Durland led the Bulls in scoring with 12 points. She was followed by junior Katie Bigliani and sophomore Katie Illari who banked seven each.

On the Comsewogue side, sophomores Samantha Andresen, Annalise Russo and eighth-grader Danielle McGuire all notched seven points apiece.

With the win, Smithtown East improves to 6-7 in league with three games remaining before the postseason. The Bulls are set to take on the undefeated North Babylon Feb. 5 at 5:45 p.m.

The loss drops Comsewogue to 3-10 in league with three games remaining in the regular season, the last game of which is on the road against Huntington Feb. 7. Tipoff is at 5:45 p.m.

By Bill Landon

The Northport Tigers stood alone atop the League II leaderboard at 9-2 when they hit the road against Half Hollow Hills East, 8-2, who looked to displace the Tigers for the top spot. Displace them they did when the Thunderbirds defeated Northport,  64-50, Jan. 25 on their own home court.

Northport’s defense struggled to contain Hills East’s Shamar Moore-Hough who led the Thunderbirds in scoring with 19 points.

Northport sophomore guard Pat Healy led the Tigers in scoring with 15 points, senior forward Ian Melamerson followed adding 13 and junior guard Sean Walsh banked 11.

The loss bumps Northport from their perch to second place in league with four games remaining before the postseason begins. The Tigers will retake the court Jan. 31 hosting Lindenhurst at 6 p.m.

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Mount Sinai junior Adham Shata in the final match of the championship. Photo from video by Mount Sinai School District

Several days after Mount Sinai’s wrestling team won the state championship, coach Matt Armstrong was still basking in the glow of the victory.

“It was really something coming back to school,” Armstrong said. “It was one of those things being a state champ really means
something.”

More than 800 spectators came out to watch their schools compete at the New York State Wrestling Dual Meet Championship at the SRC Arena and Events Center at Onondaga Community College Jan. 26 where 12 of the best Division 2 teams squared off. 

Mount Sinai’s wrestling team crowds onto the mat. Photo from video by Mount Sinai School District

Mount Sinai, victors in the 2018 state championship, was No. 5 seed and received a bye for the first match. Mount Sinai started off seemingly unstoppable, first competing against Cold Spring Harbor, beating them, 47-27, then against Pleasantville which the Mustangs took to the mat, 57-27, to advance to the semi-finals. 

“I knew we could beat the first two, but the semi-finals were pretty interesting,” the wrestling coach said. “We had seen them last year and we knew how competitive they were.

That’s where they met the No. 1 seed Tioga. Mount Sinai had a balanced line-up and were able to deliver a 34-27 win, advancing then to the finals against Central Valley Academy from Ilion, the No. 2 seed. 

Out the gate things took a turn for the worse for Mount Sinai and after falling behind ,31-12, it appeared they were headed for defeat. Suddenly it all came around, and Mount Sinai went on a scoring run. Junior Brendan “Goody” Goodrich started it off with a win and was then followed by wins by brothers Mike and Joe O’Brien. Then it was victory after victory with fellow teammates Ryan Shanian and Matt Campo. 

Campo, wrestling at 152 pounds, won a  crucial match with Hunter Shaut, the former New York State Champion from Central Valley Academy in overtime 4-2. This was followed by a win by Joe Goodrich, at 160 pounds, who brought Mount Sinai even with Central Valley, 31-31. Central Valley won the next match taking the score to 34-31 with one match remaining. 

The final match fell on the shoulders of junior Adham Shata at 182 pounds. With the whole team cheering him on, Shata pinned his opponent and the entire arena erupted in wails and shouts of victory, as Shata brought his team up to 37-34 and won a 2nd consecutive championship. The entire team rushed onto the mat and piled onto Shata, cheering their victory.

You could say something great about every single kid.”

— Matt Armstrong

Armstrong couldn’t pick one person out amongst the team. He was adamant that every student played their part in the win.

“I think I could go up and down the entire lineup,” the coach said. “You could say something great about every single kid. Some were just outmatched, and even though they were they wouldn’t get pinned.”

Several students gained standout wins during the tournament, with the O’Brien brothers, Shanian, Campo and Goodrich each going up to 30 season wins. Senior Mike Sabella at 195 pounds, won all his matches by pinning his opponents.

“There might have been some people who though the first time was a fluke,” Armstrong said. “To do it back to back is pretty incredible.”

The season is not yet over for the Mount Sinai wrestling team with the team gearing up to compete in the individual county and state tournaments. The individual county tournament takes place Feb. 2, and those who win in that or get a wild card will have the opportunity to head back upstate and compete in the State Wrestling Championship at Times Union Center in Albany Feb. 22 and 23. 

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Ward Melville fell to Central Islip 70-53 in a League I matchup Jan 29 at home.

It was a two-point game at the half when Ward Melville tied in the opening minute of the third quarter, but the Patriots couldn’t contain Central Islip’s Ty-Shon Pannell who exploded hitting eight 3-pointers, seven field goals along with four at the line, topping the scoring chart for the Musketeers with 42 points.

Ward Melville senior Ray Grabowski and junior Jack Holland led the way with 10 points each with Giancarlo Serratore netting seven.

The loss dropped Ward Melville to 6-7 in their division with three games left, forcing the Patriots to win two out of three to make the postseason.

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By Bill Landon

The Port Jefferson boys basketball team had their hands full when Southampton came knocking Jan. 28. The Royals were able to stay within striking distance for the first 16 minutes, but the Mariners poured it on in the second half outscoring the Royals by 30 points to put the game away 99-56. 

Atop the leaderboard for the Royals was eighth-grader Mano Idir with 15 points. Seniors Grant Calendrille and Jonathan Bachman netted 12 and 11, respectively, and eighth-grader Drew Feinstein banked eight. The Royals retake the court Jan. 31 on the road against John Glenn searching for that elusive league victory with three games remaining. Game time is 6:00 p.m.

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By Bill Landon

A Northport junior raced to the head of his class in the League II boys track and field finals, and he never looked back.

Thomas Fodor was the first to cross the line in both the 600 and 1,000-meter events Jan. 19 at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus. Fodor’s winning times were 1 minute 26.51 seconds, and 2:37.57, respectively.

Finishing behind Fodor for a one-two finish in the 600 race was senior Kiernan Weaver, who clocked in at 1:28.09.

Northport senior Sean Ryan tripped the clock at 2:38.48 for second place in the 1,000 race. He also rose to the top of the field at the 1,600 distance with a time of 4:28.89.

In the grueling 3,200 distance, Northport Tigers claimed two top spots on the podium. Senior Jason Gibbons placed second, clocking in at 10:13.41. A bright spot in the freshman-sophomore class (Section 2) was Northport ninth-grader Wyeth Semo who won 1,600 race with a time of 4:54.65.

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Freshman Michael Perrino competes in the long jump event covering a distance of 15-6; Weaver races second place in the 600; Ryan leads the way winning the 1,600 race followed by teammate Aidar Matthews in bib no. 4641 who finished in fifth; junior Luke Cacic finished first in the League 2 shot put eclipsing his personal best by 3 feet throwing 44-5; and Semo took first in the 1,600 for Section 2 (freshman-sophomore division).

The Tigers will be back at the Brentwood campus Feb. 11 for the state qualifiers.

By Bill Landon

On paper,  Kings Park’s boys basketball team — while sitting at 10-1 in league — should’ve had an easy time against Rocky Point at 2-8 in league, but the Eagles had other ideas Jan. 24. Rocky Point led by 10 points after eight minutes in then took an 11-point lead into the locker room. The Kingsmen sit atop the League IV leaderboard for a reason, and they came out firing in the 3rd quarter outscoring the Eagles 16-7 tying the game twice in the final quarter.

Trailing by two, Kings Park co-captain Andrew Bianco went to the charity stripe then swished both to tie the game at 46 all. Rocky Point forward Gavin DaVanzo was then fouled, sending the junior to the line with 4.6 seconds left in regulation. DaVanzo made one shot but missed the other, and Kings Park inbounded the ball for the final play launching a desperate shot that missed its mark. The Eagles erupted in celebration clinching a 47-46 victory at home.

Rocky Point freshman Ryan Smith led his team in scoring with four field goals and a pair of triples for a team high 14 points. Junior Kyle Callahan followed with 12 while DaVanzo netted a total of 10.

Bianco sat atop the scoring chart for the Kingsmen hitting four field goals and banking nine from the line for a total of 17 points.

With five games left in the regular season, the Eagles retake the court Jan. 26 against West Babylon before playing at home Jan. 30 against Eastport-South Manor. Kings Park has landed solidly in the playoff picture and is also back in action Jan. 30 where they’ll host West Babylon. Both Jan. 30 games tip off at 5:45pm.

*This post was changed to amend Bianco and shots.

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