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Amityville

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Landslide victories help Eagles to seventh straight league crown

Rocky Point's Corey Connolly takes down his Amityville opponent. Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

These Eagles are flying high.

Like the opportunistic foragers they represent, Rocky Point’s wrestlers saw how close they were to another undefeated league season, and grabbed it by easily outscoring Amityville and Westhampton Beach to finish the season 6-0.

Rocky Point’s Ryan Callahan claims a victory. Photo by Jim Ferchland

“Our team has been grinding throughout the year,” senior captain Ryan Callahan said. “We’ve had a lot of tough matches; we’ve had some tough teams we’ve battled, but every team will get their bumps and bruises.”

Amityville had to bow out of six matches — weight classes 99 to 132 — giving Rocky Point a 36-point lead right out of the gate on the way to a 74-9 victory Jan. 10. Sal Aprile pinned Amityville’s Nestor Rivera in the 182-pound weight class to give Rocky Point 67 consecutive points.

“It’s a rarity, but not so much with Amityville,” Rocky Point head coach Darren Goldstein said of the multiple forfeits.

Callahan (22-4 at 138 pounds) and Don Hammarth (16-1 at 145 pounds) won by technical falls, outscoring their opponents by 15 points for automatic wins.

Callahan said Goldstein has taught him everything he knows about wrestling.

“I’ve been around him since I was 5 years old,” Callahan said. “He taught me everything about the sport; everything about competing. He taught me great sportsmanship and to enjoy sports.”

Rob Pliska gave the Eagles four points with a major decision over Amityville’s Angel Zavala, 8-0, at 152 pounds, and Corey Connolly won 5-0 at 160 pounds.

Rocky Point’s Don Hammarth controls his Amityville challenger. Photo by Jim Ferchland

The Eagles only continued their winning ways at Westhampton Jan. 11 with another dominant win.

Mickey Gold, Justin Amendola, Anthony Sciotto and Darren Ketcham each pinned their challengers, which alone would have handed Rocky Point sole possession of the League VI title. Rocky Point won the dual meet 67-12.

Callahan and Connolly teched their opponents, and Hammarth pulled out an 11-3 major decision.

“We’ve had a share of the league title for the last seven years straight,” Goldstein said. “We are proud, but we set big goals in the beginning. We work year round.”

Rocky Point finishes the regular season 11-1 overall, with the sole loss being to League V’s Eastport-South Manor the first meet of the season. Goldstein is proud to see how his grapplers bounced back, giving it their all at each meet after. He’s looking forward to seeing what his Eagles can do in the Suffolk County brackets.

“We didn’t wrestle our best to Eastport-South Manor, but we’ve been rolling ever since,” Goldstein said. “When the county dual comes, you can’t run away.”

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Tyler Ammirato races toward the rim on a steal. Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

Miller Place started off hot with a 24-18 lead over Amityville at the end of the first quarter, but it went downhill for the Panthers, which fell to Amityville 98-58 Jan. 8.

In the blink of an eye, the Warriors pushed the tempo and went on a 22-0 run to start the second quarter. Amityville was ahead of the Panthers 32-12 over the eight-minute span, and could not come back from being outscored 80-34 in the final three stanzas. Amityville improves to 9-1 on the season and 6-0 in League VI while the Panthers drop to 4-7 on the year and 3-4 in conference play.

Miller Place head coach Brian Sztabnick was content with how his team played in the first quarter, saying he thought there were three things his Panthers did well.

Daniel Berrios moves the ball around a defender. Photo by Jim Ferchland

“No. 1 we switched defenses a lot so we can get them off guard, giving them different looks,” Sztabnick said about the positives in the first quarter. “No. 2, we hit shots, so that’s always going to help. No. 3, we took care of the basketball. We didn’t have many turnovers; we did everything in our game plan that we wanted to do.”

Senior Alex Herbst led Miller Place with 11 points, and sophomores Daniel Berrios and Thomas Cirrito added 10 each. Herbst was not pleased with the loss, mainly because he believes Amityville can be taken down.

“I’m frustrated because I feel like [Amityville] can be a beatable team,” Herbst said. “We showed that we can play with them in the first quarter, and then everything just dropped off.”

Four players scored in double-figures for the Warriors. Senior Joshua Serrano led Amityville with 24 points, and behind him was sophomore Divaahd Lucas with 20, senior Jayson Robinson with 18 and freshman Julius Goddard with 13.

Berrios was expecting a hostile environment playing in Amityville. He said he was amped up to compete.

“I was excited,” Berrios said about playing against Amityville. “I was expecting it to be crazy; I wanted that. I couldn’t wait to play in that atmosphere. I couldn’t wait to take it all in and play against them and against adversity.”

Despite the 40-point win, Amityville’s Gordon Thomas said he’s learned to always keep his foot on the gas pedal against any team. He added his team used the first quarter as motivation to bounce back.

Matthew Hirdt moves the ball into Amityville’s zone. Photo by Jim Ferchland

“Never underestimate your opponent,” Thomas said. “In the first quarter, they were beating us. I said to my guys that you can’t put the switch on and off at any time. When you go out there, you have to be ready to play.”

Sztabnick understood Amityville was undefeated in League VI coming into this game, and for him, it wasn’t about winning, it was about testing to see if his Miller Place team can play with an undefeated one like Amityville.

“I wanted to see if we can maintain poise,” Sztabick said. “With a team like this that’s as talented as they are, highly-ranked as they are, you know they’ll be ready to go on a run especially on their home court.”

In the second quarter, Amityville was reckless with points off turnovers. Sztabnick said his team’s transition defense struggled to respond.

“With the way we started, we proved we can play with them,” he said. “One of the things we have to work on is maintaining that over a period of time. It’s one thing to do it for eight minutes in a quarter. After they went on a 22-0 run, we cut it to seven at one point, so we still fought back, but eventually their speed, size and athleticism was overpowering us.”

Miller Place looks to bounce back today, Jan. 11, against Hampton Bays. Tipoff is currently scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

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File photo

By Desirée Keegan

Suffolk County police arrested an Amityville woman, who is an employee of United Cerebral Palsy, for falsely reporting an incident about a sexual offense between an employee and a resident at the group home Sept. 13.

An anonymous caller made an allegation to the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs that a male employee of a United Cerebral Palsy residence, on Indian Head Road in Commack, inappropriately touched a female resident of the home. An investigation 4th Squad detectives determined the anonymous caller was another employee, Judy Campbell. Campbell, who had previously dated the male employee, admitted she lied about the allegation. A further investigation concluded no abuse occurred.

Campbell, 53, was arrested and charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident. Campbell will be arraigned today at First District Court in Central Islip.

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Mason Cline attempts a basket in Rocky Point's last minute 73-68 loss to Amityville on Feb. 4. Photo by Bill Landon.

By Bill Landon

Rocky Point led most of the way, but the boys’ basketball team let the lead slip away when it mattered most, losing its League V matchup against Amityville in the final minute Thursday night, 73-68.

Harry Lynch makes his way through traffic in Rocky Point's last minute 73-68 loss to Amityville on Feb. 4. Photo by Bill Landon
Harry Lynch makes his way through traffic. Photo by Bill Landon

Harry Lynch sparked the Eagles’ offense, helping to keep his team out in front 11-8 at the 3:40 mark of the first quarter. The senior guard drove the lane with reckless abandon, as he fought his way to the rim and helped stretch his team’s lead to 21-17 by the end of the first eight minutes.

Amityville picked away at the deficit, drawing within three points in the second quarter, but Lynch scored his fourteenth point as time ran out, and the Eagles took a 29-25 advantage into the halftime break.

The matchup grew physical, which led to multiple penalties, but Rocky Point failed to convert most opportunities at the free-throw line. The Warriors battled back to take their first lead of the game, 37-35, at the 3:47 mark of the third quarter.

Lynch went to the charity stripe shooting two and split the appearance to help his team close within one point, and Rocky Point senior Colin Kotarski went to the line shooting two next, and nailed both, as the Eagles retook the lead.

After a Warriors field goal that flipped the score, Rocky Point senior Ben Collesidis, with a defensive pick, took the ball down the stretch and converted his opportunity into points to again turn the tables for both teams, giving the Eagles a 40-39 edge.

Ben Collesidis goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Ben Collesidis goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

With the teams knotted at 43-43 late in the third quarter, Lynch nailed a clutch 3-pointer, and teammate Mason Cline, also a senior, did the same. At the end of the quarter, Rocky Point led 49-43.

With both teams finding their 3-point rhythm, Amityville answered the Eagles with a Joshua Serrano trifecta to make it a three-point game. Cline had his own answer for his opponent though, as he swished his fourth trey of the game.

The clock wound down, and both teams traded points at the charity stripe. Kotarski was fouled while shooting and tacked on two points for a 60-55 Eagles lead with just over three minutes left in regulation, but Amityville hit a 3-pointer with 1:02 left to play, for a 67-65 lead. Another free throw point made it a 3-point game, again.

Lynch went to the line shooting a 1-and-1 opportunity, and sank both to help his team draw within one point, but with less than 30 seconds left, Serrano made two more appearances at the stripe, and cashed in on all four attempts, to put the game out of reach.

Lynch topped the scoresheet with 27 points, while Cline banked 19 and Kotarski added 14.

Colin Kotarski scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon
Colin Kotarski scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

The Eagles hit 65 percent of their free throws on the night, while Amityville neared 80 percent.

“We were winning the whole way,” Rocky Point head coach James Jordan said. “We missed a lot of foul shots and that cost us the game. We play Islip on Monday. We’ve got to do a better job at rebounding and that’s a team we have to beat.”

With one game remaining, Jordan said that his team needs one more win to have a better chance at a run in the postseason. Currently, the team sits at 6-5, so the head coach is hoping for a higher seed with one more victory.

Rocky Point was supposed to travel to Islip on Monday, Feb. 8, but on account of the snow, the game has been postponed with no makeup date currently scheduled.

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