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Bill Landon

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Mount Sinai senior Leon Paul improved his record to 24-2 with a 7-0 decision over his Sayville competitor on Jan. 22. The Mustangs outscored the Golden Flashes 62-15 in the final meet of the regular season, to improve to 6-1 in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai senior Matt Eisenblaetter tries to escape a hold on his way to pinning his Sayville opponent at 170 pounds on Jan. 22. The Mustangs improved to 6-1 in League VI to end the season in a three-way tie for first place with their 62-15 win over the Golden Flashes. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior Matt Eisenblaetter tries to escape a hold on his way to pinning his Sayville opponent at 170 pounds on Jan. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai wrestling team is locked in a three-way tie at the top of League VI after taking down Sayville 62-15 on the road on Jan. 22. As the curtain drew to a close in the final meet of the regular season, Miller Place and Elwood-John Glenn also won their final games, knotting all three teams at 6-1 going into Wednesday’s opening round of playoffs.

Mount Sinai came out fast winning four of the first five matches with standout pinning performances from five grapplers, including senior Matthew Eisenblaetter, who laid out his opponent at the 3:39 mark at 170 pounds, and sophomore Jake Croston, who put an end to his match in the first period at 220. There were also two major decisions, highlighted by eighth-grader Mike O’Brien won his matchup 11-2 at 106 pounds.

Mount Sinai head coach Matt Armstrong said his team has been able to hold its own despite having three eighth-graders and 11 ninth-graders on the roster.

“The younger kids wrestle in a lot of tournaments and I have an eighth-grader Matt Campo who’s an absolute hammer,” he said.

Mount Sinai eighth-grader Matt Campo, who is controlling his opponent, improved his record to 24-1 after pinning his Sayville competitor at 99 pounds on Jan. 22. The Mustangs improved to 6-1 in League VI to end the season in a three-way tie for first place with their 62-15 win over the Golden Flashes. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai eighth-grader Matt Campo, who is controlling his opponent, improved his record to 24-1 after pinning his Sayville competitor at 99 pounds on Jan. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

At 99 pounds, Campo dropped that hammer on his opponent with a pin early in the second period. Campo was an All-League wrestler last year as a seventh-grader, and with his win, the underclassmen, whom his coach said is the future of Mount Sinai wrestling, improved his record to 24-1.

Co-captain Shane Walker, a senior at 195 pounds, also ended his match by pinning his rival a minute into the second period for his 14th pin of the season, improving his record to 19-1. Classmate Keith Williams pinned his opponent at the 1:37 mark in the 120-pound weight class.

Two-time All-League player and senior co-captain Daniel Henry defeated his foe in a major decision, 11-3, and at 160 pounds, fellow senior Leon Paul took victory with a 7-0 decision in the 145-pound weight class. Mike Zarif, a sophomore, edged his challenger 5-2 at 126 pounds.

Mount Sinai senior Daniel Henry lifts up his 160-pound competitor during his 11-3 major decision on Jan. 22. The Mustangs topped Sayville 62-15 to end the season in a three-way tie for first in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior Daniel Henry lifts up his 160-pound competitor during his 11-3 major decision on Jan. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

Paul, a two-time All-League wrestler who is now 24-2, said he was somewhat surprised in his matchup, because he expected more from his opponent.

“I was successful in my takedown,” said Paul, adding that he was happy with his overall performance.

Winning by forfeit was Leonel Paul, Leon’s twin brother, at 138 pounds, as did sophomore Robert Christ at 285.

“Sayville did well — they did better than I expected,” Leonel Paul said. “Our team did well, and our heads were in it tonight.”

Armstrong said that the Paul brothers are the hardest workers in the wrestling room, and have won three tournaments this year between them. Leonel Paul added that he’ll go running every day leading up to the start of the playoffs.

Mount Sinai eighth-grader Mike O'Brien maintains control of his opponent on his way to an 11-2 major decision at 106 pounds, against Sayville on Jan. 22. The Mustangs improved to 6-1 in League VI to end the season in a three-way tie for first place with their 62-15 win over the Golden Flashes. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai eighth-grader Mike O’Brien maintains control of his opponent on his way to an 11-2 major decision at 106 pounds, against Sayville on Jan. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

Also winning by forfeit was Luke Marino, a senior at 182pounds, who talked about what his team will do to prepare for Wednesday’s postseason opener.

“Were just going to be practicing like we’ve done all year” Marino said. “This is a hard working team and I think this is the year that we can do it. We showed that by placing in the top three, which hasn’t been done in 10 years at Mount Sinai.”

Comsewogue's Tyler Timpanero leaps up to the rim and scores. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Harborfields’ boys’ basketball team remains undefeated as the Tornadoes took down Comsewogue in a blowout victory, 69-35, in League V basketball action Tuesday night. The Warriors struggled to keep pace, and despite a third quarter rally, Harborfields was too much to handle.

“We caught them a little flat when we came out, but Comsewogue opened the second half and played like we’re used to seeing,” Harborfields head coach John Tampori said. “My guys, they come to play every day and tonight we shot the ball really well.”

Harborfields' Robert Pecorelli battles Comsewogue’s David Heller on the glass. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Robert Pecorelli battles Comsewogue’s David Heller on the glass. Photo by Bill Landon

Harborfields led by 10 after three minutes of play, with the Tornadoes finding its three-point rhythm. Harborfields senior guard Robert Pecorelli led the way with four three-pointers, followed by senior guard Malcolm Wynter, who drained three, all in the first quarter, to help the Tornadoes gain momentum and break out to a 34-9 advantage after eight minutes of play.

“We didn’t expect to win by this much,” Wynter said. “We’re in a tough league, but when we play our best we can score and we can stop a lot of teams.”

The Tornadoes’ defensive pressure was relentless from the opening tipoff, and the Warriors struggled to clear the ball. Harborfields junior forward Alex Merhige owned the boards as he led his team with 14 rebounds, highlighted by a two-hand jam on a putback.

From there, the Warriors dug their hole deeper, managing just five more points to the Tornadoes’ 15, for a 49-14 halftime score.

The Warriors opened the second half unlike the first, as their defense came to life, grabbing rebounds while mixing in several fast breaks. Comsewogue senior forward Dylan Cervini led the way, nailing a pair of three-pointers and a free throw for seven points, as teammate David Heller, a sophomore forward and center, banked four. Comsewogue outscored its opponent 16-7 in the third, to begin the final quarter down 56-30.

“We had to keep our intensity up in the second half,” Wynter said. “We obviously slacked off there in the third quarter, but we stayed together, we pushed hard.”

Merhige said his team had to adjust to Comsewogue’s defensive pressure in the third quarter, which proved to be difficult at first.

“They opened the second half guarding us down low, and they boxed out really well and they started grabbing rebounds,” he said. “They came out in the second half and started knocking down threes.”

Harborfields' Alex Merhige scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Alex Merhige scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

Comsewogue’s rally would be short lived, as the Tornadoes turned up the heat, denying the Warriors a field goal the rest of the way. Comsewogue earned its final five points at the free-throw line.

“We needed better communication on defense and we cleaned that up in the third quarter,” Comsewogue senior guard Travis Williams said. “But we always know what we’re getting from Harborfields. They’re very well coached, so respect to them.”

Joey Carillo, a Comsewogue junior guard, agreed with Williams that Harborfields is a tough competitor and more than his team could handle.

“Coach told us at the half that we needed to work harder, move the ball and trust each other,” Carillo said. “They’re a tough team — if we played like we did in the third quarter, we would’ve had a better game.”

Cervini lead the Warriors with 13 points, followed by Heller with six.

Pecorelli topped the leaderboard with 18 points, Merhige netted 15 and Wynter added 14.

With the win, Harborfields improves to 8-0 in league play, while Comsewogue dropped to 3-5 with four games remaining on its schedule.

Ward Melville's Peyton LaTourrette, on left, reaches for a touch during one of his bouts against a Huntington opponent, in the Patriots' 22-5 win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 15. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville’s prowess as fencers has helped the boys continue their undefeated streak as the Patriots made short work of Huntington Friday night on their way to a 22-5 victory, to improve to 11-0 on the season.

Ward Melville rattled off five quick victories for an early lead before Huntington answered back when Josh Yanuck blanked his opponent to put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard. The interruption would be brief though, as the Patriots won the next seven out of eight bouts to jump out to a 12-2 lead.

Ward Melville's Daniel Deto, on left, reaches for a touch during one of his bouts against a Huntington opponent, in the Patriots' 22-5 win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 15. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Daniel Deto, on left, reaches for a touch during one of his bouts against a Huntington opponent, in the Patriots’ 22-5 win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 15. Photo by Bill Landon

Ward Melville sophomore sabreist Daniel Solomon won all three of his bouts without allowing a single touch. Fellow sabreist Daniel Deto, a junior, notched three victories of his own, as the national championship qualifier bested his challengers 5-3, 5-2 and 5-0.

Ward Melville head coach Jeff Salmon said he was pleased with Deto’s comeback performance on the strip, which helped him shake off a recent slump.

“Danny Deto had a couple of bad outings in a row, so it’s nice to see him where he was four or five meets ago,” he said.

Ward Melville senior Stephen Jackson led the way in foil, winning all three of his matches 5-1, 5-0 and 5-2.

“I did exceptionally well today — I was actually very surprised that I was able to win all three of my bouts they way I did,” said Jackson, an All-County player and junior Olympic qualifier. “At our last meet against Commack I was a little off balance, but today I was able to keep my focus the whole time.”

Ward Melville junior Michael Jaklitsch, another junior Olympic qualifier, also swept his bouts, as the épéeist defeated both of his challengers, 5-1.

Ward Melville senior Peyton LaTourrette took victories in both of his appearances as well, winning 5-4 and 5-1 in foil, as did junior sabreist Jack Rohan, who won both of his bouts 5-2.

“Today wasn’t my best, I had a couple of equipment malfunctions,” said LaTourrette, an All-Long Island player and national champion qualifier. “But that happens in fencing and you’ve just got to work through it.”

Ward Melville's Stephen Jackson competes during a bout against a Huntington opponent in the Patriots' 22-5 win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 15. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Stephen Jackson competes during a bout against a Huntington opponent in the Patriots’ 22-5 win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 15. Photo by Bill Landon

The senior foilsit said the team’s consistency and winning ways are directly attributed to the team’s coaches, and Jackson agreed.

“We have a really great coaching staff, they’re supportive and they dedicate a lot of their time,” Jackson said. “They help us learn how to be the best fencers we can be and I’m really thankful that I have their support.”

Yanuck a foilist, won both of his matches for Huntington, 5-0 and 5-3. Rounding out the scoring for Huntington was Jack O’Heir with a 5-4 victory in épée, and Dillon Collier and Dawson Wallace, who both contributed 5-1 wins in foil. With the loss, Huntington fell to 3-6 on the season.

With the win, Ward Melville has won 225 individual bouts on the season, while dropping just 72.

“We start from the bottom up and we maintain from the bottom up, so by the time they’re my seniors or upperclassman, they’re already prepared, so I don’t have to coach them much,” Salmon said. “I do all my preparation in the gym and I work more with the younger ones so I don’t have to work so hard at the end, so it’s a pyramid strategy.”

Ward Melville, which is now on a 135-match win streak, will host Half Hollow Hills on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

By Bill Landon

Huntington led from the opening tipoff and never looked back, as the visiting Blue Devils held Newfield to just 13 points in a 59-13 victory in girls’ basketball action Tuesday night.

Huntington moved the ball effortlessly and controlled the tempo of the game for all 32 minutes, while the Wolverines had difficulty clearing the ball, and struggled to find a rhythm and the rim. The Blue Devils’ defense was overwhelming in the second half, where the team scored 24 unanswered points in the third quarter while holding the Wolverines scoreless.

“They’re a team that’s strong — they work very hard and their effort was nonstop,” said Newfield assistant coach Mike Weaver. “We warned our team at halftime that you have to be prepared, because [Huntington] is not going to give up, and that’s the reason the margin was what it was.”

Huntington head coach Michael Kaplan rested his starters for the final eight minutes of play as the Blue Devils coasted to victory and extended their winning streak to five games. Kaplan said the goal for his team in the game was for every player to get better and not turn the ball over.

“From a defensive standpoint, I thought we played great — we did a good job under the boards,” Kaplan said. “We’ll have to work on our rebounding and limit our offensive turnovers, but this game was a confidence builder.”

Topping the scoreboard for Huntington was sophomore guard Alex Heuwetter with 14 points, followed by junior guard Anna Gulizio with nine.

Gulizio said her team had good reads on the floor and good communication.

“Yes, we did well scoring-wise, but we played much better as a team in the second half,” Gulizio said.

Blue Devils sophomore guard Katie Seccafico, who tallied six points in the contest, agreed with Gulizio that her team was a little flat for the first 16 minutes.

“In that first and second quarter, we weren’t coming together on defense,” Seccafico said. “Coach told us we needed to work harder even though we were winning.”

Huntington junior guard Emma Petrizzi echoed her teammate’s assessment of the performance in the final two quarters.

“We played hard and we never let up,” she said. “We were able to hold the score so low.”

Huntington senior guard and forward Brooke Baade finished with eight points, senior guard Katie Reilly netted seven and Seccafico and senior guard and forward Taylor Moreno rounded out the score by banking six each.

Newfield senior guards Maria Daume and Muariana Milano, and senior forward Kelsey Larkin finished with four points apiece, while sophomore forward Emily Diaz completed the scoring with a free-throw point.

With the win, Huntington improves to 5-1 in League III and 7-2 overall, while Newfield falls to 1-5, and 2-7.

Both teams are back in action Friday as Huntington hosts Smithtown East at 5:45 p.m., while Newfield travels to North Babylon for a 4 p.m. game.

By Bill Landon

Cheerleading squads from all over Suffolk County converged on the mats of Rocky Point High School Sunday for the Suffolk County cheerleading sectionals, where Rocky Point and Comsewogue ran away with first-place finishes.

Cheerleading officially became a recognized sport in the 2015-16 school year, making this sectional event the first time that the competition is overseen and sanctioned by the New York State Public High School Athletics Association.

Rocky Point was the first of 31 teams to take to the mat first in Small School Division I “A,” and the squad wowed the crowd with a two-and-a-half minute routine, despite head coach Anna Spallina feeling less impressed with her Eagles, which are 12-time regional and three-time national champions.

“You have two and a half minutes to prove yourself out on the mat — if you don’t prove yourself in those two and a half minutes, you don’t get a second chance,” Spallina said. “You can’t go to the net again with a ball, or throw that pass one more time, so one little slip, an inch this way or an inch that way, and you can throw it away.”

Pleased or not Spallina’s squad earned first place in the division followed by Longwood and East Islip came in third.

With a squad of consisting of mainly eighth and ninth-graders, and only three seniors, Rocky Point senior Courtney Kelly said the Eagles’ only competition was themselves.

“We don’t worry about any other teams, we just worry about ourselves because the only routine we have to beat is ours,” she said.

Brittany Reh said there are some other challenges now that cheerleading is recognized as a sport, such as a different scoring sheet and new rules, but thought her team performed well despite the changes.

“We had a pretty good performance,” she said. “We stayed positive.”

Claire Johannesen said her team has had better execution on the mat, but will continue to work hard to remain at the team’s standards.

“Today was an okay performance, so we definitely have things we have to go to work on in practice,” she said. “But we did many things well that we’ll build on going forward.”

Northport hit the mat next looking to give Rocky Point a run for first place, and after a performance that impressed the judges, the Tigers’ head coach Danielle Milazzo talked about the adjustment her team has had to adjust to the scoring changes.

“The whole scoring rubric is completely different from last year, so we’re trying to get used to that,” Milazzo said. “We’ve reworked routines to align them with the scoring sheets to try to make sure we get the maximum number of points from New York State.”

Comsewogue hit the mat in the second session, as did Kings Park, competing in the Small School Division I “B.” The Warriors put on a flawless performance as the crowd exploded in applause with their finish, but head coach Stefanie Breitfeller was just relieved that the routine was behind her, as the team had yet another hurdle to jump prior to a competition.

“We had a major change this morning as I found out last night one of the girls came down with pink eye,” Breitfeller said. “We had to replace a starter, so we came into this thinking this could go badly or it could go very well.”

Comsewogue senior Samantha Donlon was thrilled with her team’s first-place finish.

“We did absolutely amazing — we have worked so hard for this day and I’m really proud,” she said. “I’m so happy and this will make us perform even harder next week.”

Comsewogue senior Rachel Steck said she thought her Warriors team also performed well, but thinks that like always, there is room for improvement.

“It could’ve been a little tighter, but I’m just so proud of my team,” she said.”We did our best today. We’ll practice our routine; we’ll make it harder and we’ll make it cleaner.”

For junior Brittany Dein, she thought her team performed beyond its expectations with the last-minute change.

“All week we’ve been running the routine a whole bunch of times and I can’t fault any part of our performance,” Dein said.

The teams will reconvene on Sunday Jan. 24 at Hauppauge High School for the second round of competition.

Huntington's Kenny Charles leaps up to the rim in the Blue Devils' 61-35 victory over Centereach on Jan. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Huntington turned up the heat in the second half to close the door on previously undefeated Centereach, 61-35, in League III boys’ basketball action Tuesday night.

Centereach's Jake Marzocca shoots in the Cougars' 61-35 loss to Huntington on Jan. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach’s Jake Marzocca shoots in the Cougars’ 61-35 loss to Huntington on Jan. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

Centereach was previously 3-0 in league play and 6-1 overall, while Huntington sat at 1-2 and 1-6 before the win. The game was close after eight minutes of play, as the Cougars were ahead, 10-9, to open the second quarter, despite both teams being sluggish from the opening tipoff. The Blue Devils found their rhythm and the rim in the second, to pull ahead with the victory.

Huntington came alive behind the hot hands of senior guard Kenny Charles, who notched 10 points in the quarter after hitting a pair of three-pointers, a field goal and two foul shots. Teammate Quincy Nelson matched Charles with a pair of treys of his own to help put his team out front, 33-16, by the halftime break.

“We trusted each other and we executed out on the court, and that’s how we got the ‘W,’” said Nelson, who is also a senior guard. “They’re a very good team and coach told us at halftime that we had to take better shots.”

Huntington was patient in the second half, choosing to wait for the open shot rather than drive the lane. The Blue Devils were content with letting their three-point proficiency dominate the third quarter, as Charles hit his fourth and junior guard and forward Kevin Lawrence hit his second, while Nelson was fouled attempting his third, sending him to the charity stripe shooting three. Nelson was perfect from the line, and Huntington surged ahead 43-24 to begin the final eight minutes in regulation.

Huntington's Quincy Nelson sets the play in the Blue Devils' Jan. 5 61-35 victory over Centereach. Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Quincy Nelson sets the play in the Blue Devils’ Jan. 5 61-35 victory over Centereach. Photo by Bill Landon

“We haven’t seen Huntington — we saw them once last year,” Centereach senior guard Kevin Callahan said. “We were told that they were going to shoot, and I guess we didn’t respect it, and they punished us for that.”

Charles said that knowing Centereach’s record, his team expected the worst, adding that all his team thought about was playing to win the game.

“We’re 1-2 in the league and our record doesn’t give our team justice,” he said. “In the second half, we knew we couldn’t let up. The game was far from over, but we came out with the win.”

Callahan hit his first three-pointer of the game and added a field goal in the fourth quarter, while fellow senior Jake Marzocca, a forward, found the net for two points, but the Cougars couldn’t keep the pace.

Centereach head coach Ed Miller, fresh off a recent scouting report, told his team that Huntington is a long-range scoring threat, but the Blue Devils were still hard to contain.

“We needed to do a better job at stepping out on them,” Marzocca said. “And when we did step out on them, it didn’t help. They were just hitting their shots — it was their game.”

Centereach's Kevin Callahan scores in the Blue Devils' Jan. 5 61-35 loss to Huntington. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach’s Kevin Callahan scores in the Blue Devils’ Jan. 5 61-35 loss to Huntington. Photo by Bill Landon

For Huntington, the fourth quarter was all senior guard Dan Mollitor, who hit his third trifecta of the game and nailed a pair of free throws, while Charles hit a pair of three-pointers to finish with six on the night, as Huntington slammed the door on Centereach.

“They’re very, very good — I’ve picked them second in the league, and they’re at a different level than us right now,” Miller said. “I didn’t expect it to be an almost 30-point loss, but I expected them to be very good, especially at their own home place.”

Charles led his team with 26 points, followed by Lawrence, who added 13.

On the top of the scoring list for Centereach was Marzocca with 12 points, while Callahan followed close behind with nine.

Huntington hits the road today, as the Blue Devils invade West Islip, with opening tipoff scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Centereach will host North Babylon today at 6:15 p.m.

This versions corrects the name of Jake Marzocca.

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Smithtown East's Ceili Williams drives the lane in the Bulls' 54-50 Jan. 2 nonleague win over Lindenhurst. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East's Haley Anderson fights for a rebound while Alexis Perdue reaches to block in the Bulls' 54-50 nonleague win over Lindenhurst. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s Haley Anderson fights for a rebound while Alexis Perdue reaches to block in the Bulls’ 54-50 nonleague win over Lindenhurst. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Smithtown East’s girls’ basketball team trailed from the opening tipoff, and fell behind by as much as 11 points, but the Bulls were able to rally back against Lindenhurst in a nonleague contest that was decided in the final seconds of the game, when Smithtown East junior guard Haley Anderson nailed two free throws to break a tie with 14 seconds left to play to give her team a 52-50 edge.

Junior guard Victoria Redmond added two free throws to help her team to a 54-50 win Saturday.

Smithtown East, trailing by 10 to open the second half, rattled off three unanswered field goals to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to four. Lindenhurst scored next to extend its lead to 40-34 with just over a minute left in the third quarter, and Smithtown East sophomore guard Ceili Williams hit her second three-pointer of the afternoon to again make it a four-point game, 41-37, to open the final quarter.

Having played the Bulldogs twice last season, Williams said her team spent a lot of time in practice preparing for the matchup.

“Our coaches prepared us — and our shots were on today,” Williams said, adding that that hasn’t been the case lately.

Smithtown East's Victoria Redmond scores in the Bulls' 54-50 nonleague victory over Lindenhurst on Jan. 2. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s Victoria Redmond scores in the Bulls’ 54-50 nonleague victory over Lindenhurst on Jan. 2. Photo by Bill Landon

Both teams traded points at the free-throw line and Anderson swished both of her attempts to make it a three-point game, as the Bulls trimmed the deficit to 44-41.

Jordan DeBernardo had just one basket in the game, but it was a big one, as the junior guard drained a long distance trey to tie the game 44-44 with five minutes left to play.

“I thought we were prepared for them, but they really pushed us,” DeBernardo said. “Haley [Anderson] wasn’t playing in the beginning, but when she did come in, we played with more energy.”

Sophomore point guard Abby Zeitsiff answered next when her shot found the rim to put the Bulls out front for the first time, 49-48.

In a foul-riddled final two minutes of play, both teams tried to best each other at the free-throw line.

Redmond split the difference in her appearance at the charity stripe, and the Bulls edged ahead 50-48 with less than a minute left in regulation.

“We knew who their better players were and we worked in practice at stopping them,” Redmond said. With 27 seconds left, Lindenhurst went to the free-throw line and sank both to retie the game a 50-50, before the Bulls put the last four points on the scoreboard.

Smithtown East Abby Zeitsiff scores a layup in the Bulls' 54-50 win over Lindenhurst in a nonleague matchup on Jan. 2. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East Abby Zeitsiff scores a layup in the Bulls’ 54-50 win over Lindenhurst in a nonleague matchup on Jan. 2. Photo by Bill Landon

Anderson said her team had to key on Lindenhurst’s Alexis Perdue, but couldn’t contain her, as the senior point guard led the game in scoring with 27 points.

“They have a really good player in No. 12, she’s hard to guard,” Anderson said. “But we picked it up there in the second half and played really well.”

Redmond led her team in scoring with 16 points, followed by Williams with 13, Zeitsiff with 10 and Anderson with eight.

“We made a few adjustments at halftime — we tried to do a better job of slipping those screens and switching and not give them a wide open look,” Smithtown East head coach Tom Vulin said. “We came out on them more in the second half.”

Smithtown East remains atop the League III leaderboard, tied with Riverhead, but that will change on Tuesday when the Bulls travel to take on the Blue Waves for the top spot. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Huntington's Katie Reilly maintains possession of the ball as she calls a play, as Jillian Unkenholz defends for Smithtown. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Despite the Smithtown West girls’ basketball team clawing back and taking its first lead of the game with just over five minutes left in regulation, Huntington closed the gap and edged ahead by a point, holding onto the lead in the final minute for a 44-43 League III victory Monday night.

The Bulls opened the third quarter with six unanswered points and trimmed their deficit to four to open the final quarter trailing 31-27.

Anna Gulizio scores for Huntington over the head of Smithtown's Sarah Harrington. Photo by Bill Landon
Anna Gulizio scores for Huntington over the head of Smithtown’s Sarah Harrington. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown West head coach Katie Combs said her team missed many opportunities early in the game.

“Predominantly layups and our free throws killed us today,’ she said. “Had we not done that, we should’ve won that game by 10. We’re a much better team than that, and in the second half, we had to step up and show it.”

With 5:45 remaining in the game, Smithtown West drew within one point when Rebecca Meyers went to the line shooting for two points. The senior forward missed the front end, but nailed the back to tie the game at 33-33. On their next offensive possession, the Bulls took their first lead of the game when junior forward Gabby Horman, on a rebound, banked two points to put her team out in front, 35-33.

“We started getting our steals with our press, which carried over on offense,” said Horman, who led her team in scoring with 12 points. “Coach told us at the halftime that we need to dominate in the second half and get the ball down low.”

Huntington edged ahead by a field goal and a free-throw appearance, but Horman retied the game when she went to the line shooting two and split the opportunity.

Both teams were plagued by penalties in the final two minutes of the game, and both teams traded points at the foul line. Leading by one, the Bulls found the rim to edge ahead 43-40 with 1:33 left in regulation.

“Our girls just worked really hard in that second half,” said Smithtown West freshman Jillian Unkenholz, who scored 10 points on the evening.

Huntington went to the free-throw line next, but came away empty as the score stalled with 55 seconds left on the clock.

Huntington sophomore Alex Heuwetter let a three-point attempt fly with 35 seconds left, and her shot hit its mark to tie the game again, this time, at 43-43.

Huntington's Taylor Moreno tries to force a turnover from Smithtown's Jillian Unkenholz. Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Taylor Moreno tries to force a turnover from Smithtown’s Jillian Unkenholz. Photo by Bill Landon

“We sat back on them a little bit — we got comfortable with where we were at and they took advantage of that,” Huntington senior Taylor Moreno said. “The second wave of our bench came in and that completely changed the whole demeanor of the game, which gave us confidence to make that last push and we were able to come out with the win.”

With less than six seconds remaining in regulation, Huntington senior guard Katie Reilly drove the lane and was fouled, sending her to the charity stripe. She scored on the first, but missed the second opportunity to put her team out front 44-43. Reilly and Heuwetter both topped the Huntington scoreboard with 14 points apiece.

Despite her strong performance in the final quarter, Reilly said the coach wasn’t pleased at the halftime break.

“Well, the subs went in to start the second half — all five of us came out because we were slacking a little bit,” Reilly said. “So coach sent in five new people and they carried us, so it was a real team effort.”

With 4.2 seconds left on the scoreboard, Smithtown West had one final possession, inbounded the ball and passed to the baseline only to have it picked off by the Blue Devils as the buzzer sounded.

“We let them hang around and I think that was our biggest problem — we were content where we were instead of separating ourselves,” Huntington head coach Michael Kaplan said. “The girls who came off the bench really stepped up and contributed to the win, because whoever’s playing the hardest is going to play, and our subs came in and gave us a spark and energy that rejuvenated the rest of the team.”

Centereach foilist Rebecca Koenig Vinicombe clashes with Ward Melville's Lara Obedin. Obedin won her bout 5-2 in the Patriots' 22-5 win over the Cougars on Dec 19. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

When you think of fencing, you think of Ward Melville High School.

The fencing dynasty has been the team to beat on Long Island for years, and Saturday was no different. The Patriots traveled to Centereach for a meet where, as expected, the team dominated the card despite dropping the first two bouts to defeat the Cougars 22-5.

First on the strip for Centereach was sophomore sabreist Gail Aphra Laurino, who prevailed over her challenger with a 5-4 victory. Classmate Naomi Newen followed with a 5-4 win of her own in sabre, to put her team out front 2-0.

“They’re a little intimidating, but it’s also a good experience,” Laurino said. “It makes you play harder, build up your endurance and get stronger.”

The Patriots hit their stride, and claimed the next three matches.

Centereach épéeist Abigail Cornelia fences against Ward Melville's Arianna Ferretti in the Patriots' 22-5 win over the Cougars on Dec. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach épéeist Abigail Cornelia fences against Ward Melville’s Arianna Ferretti in the Patriots’ 22-5 win over the Cougars on Dec. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

First, sophomore Emily Huang notched Ward Melville’s first victory in sabre, 5-1. Sole senior Gabrielle Petrie opened foil with a win, blanking her opponent 5-0. Fellow foilist Ivanna Zavala-Arbelaez, a freshman, scored the Patriots’ third bout, a defeating her challenger 5-1, to help her team lead the meet 3-2.

Centereach freshman foilist Rebecca Koenig Vinicombe answered back with a win as a second-year varsity fencer, shutting out her opponent 5-0 to tie the meet.

But from there, Ward Melville’s fencers showed why they are still the team to beat this season, despite dropping their second meet since 2000 earlier this season. The Patriots took 19 of the next 21 bouts to claim the meet.

“We fenced this team last week, so we had a pretty good feel as to where they’re at,” Ward Melville head coach Peter Freiss said. “We were sharp today. It was a great sharing of the load from top to bottom from eighth-graders to our senior.”

Undefeated in epée was Ward Melville junior Arianna Ferretti, who won her matches 5-2, 5-4 and 5-1.

“Arianna is our anchor in epée — she was very strong today,” Freiss said. “Lara Obedin came into the second round and won her two bouts, and she too fenced very, very well.”

Obedin, a junior foilist, took her matches 5-2 and 5-1.

“The last time we fenced them I only had one bout, but they’re all different,” Ferretti said. “I watched my two other teammates [in epée] and I was able to learn by watching them. I thought I fenced pretty well today, but I’ll work on staying focused and cheering on the team for our next meet.”

Petrie defeated all three of her opponents in foil without allowing a single touch.

Centereach foilist Rebecca Koenig Vinicombe tries to fight off Ward Melville's Gabrielle Petrie in her 5-0 loss on Dec. 19. The Patriots won the meet 22-5. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach foilist Rebecca Koenig Vinicombe tries to fight off Ward Melville’s Gabrielle Petrie in her 5-0 loss on Dec. 19. The Patriots won the meet 22-5. Photo by Bill Landon

“We’ve fenced them before, but each time you go out on the strip you have to be aware [because] they can change, they might do something different, or do something unexpected,” Petrie said. “I was pleased with my performance, but there are always things you want to analyze. I always look at my technique to be sure I’m executing. Regardless of whether I’m winning or losing I just concentrate on being the best fencer I can be.”

Freshman Lauren Cappello was also perfect on the day, winning both of her sabre bouts, 5-3 and 5-0, as did classmate Olivia Calise, who claimed wins in both of her sabre bouts, 5-2 and 5-4.

Centereach sophomore épéist Abigail Cornelia said Ward Melville is a powerful team that presents a huge learning experience for the Cougars.

“This year we have a lot of new fencers, so it’s really good to expose them to this level of play,” she said. “I think we did well under the circumstances.“

Other undefeated Patriots on the strip were sophomore épéeist Julia Duffy who edged out both of her challengers, and freshman épéeist Catherine Cao, who won her single appearance on the strip.

Centereach head coach Mike Olsen said Ward Melville works hard, and knew that it was going to be a tough match.

“We look to keep up with them and try take away one thing from each bout that we fence,” he said. “We may not win, but I told the girls to it’s a learning experience every time you go up against them.”

Ward Melville will host Walt Whitman on Monday, Jan. 4, while Centereach hosts Commack on Monday, Dec. 21, at 4 p.m.

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Mount Sinai senior Noah Wessels changes direction in a Dec. 18 nonleague loss to Rocky Point, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Rocky Point’s s

rry Lynch led his team to victory with 30 points in the Eagles’ come-from-behind win over host Mount Sinai, 46-41, in nonleague boys’ basketball action Friday night.

Rocky Point senior Harry Lynch shoots on his way to a team-high 30 points in a Dec. 18 nonleague win over Mount Sinai, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon
Rocky Point senior Harry Lynch shoots on his way to a team-high 30 points in a Dec. 18 nonleague win over Mount Sinai, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon

Lynch, a senior, went to work early in the opening quarter with three three-pointers and two field goals to help put his team out front 17-10 after the first eight minutes of play.

“We came out hot,” he said. “Everyone was setting screens and we were moving the ball. I was lucky I hit a couple of shots.”

On the other side of the court, Mount Sinai senior Nolan Kelly carried the load early for the Mustangs, banking a trifecta, a field goal and a pair of free throws for seven of his teams’ 19 points after two quarters of play.

“Harry Lynch is who we’ve keyed on for the last three seasons,” Kelly said. “We played fairly well, but we missed a lot of shots. Had we shot the way we’ve been shooting, we would’ve pulled this one out.”

Lynch remained unstoppable, as he hit his fourth trey and netted a pair of field goals to help his team to a 27-19 advantage by the halftime break.

“We’re lucky to have Harry [Lynch],” Rocky Point head coach James Jordan said. “He was on fire in that first half and he continued in the second half. He’s our general out there so where he goes, we go.”

The Mustangs were fired up coming out of the locker room, though, and because Rocky Point lost the battle of the boards in the first half, Jordan said it forced some adjustments. As a result, Mount Sinai opened the third quarter with an answer for Lynch, as the team closed within one point at the 5:33 mark, 30-29.

Mount Sinai senior Nolan Kelly attempts a jumper in a Dec. 18 nonleague loss to Rocky Point, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior Nolan Kelly attempts a jumper in a Dec. 18 nonleague loss to Rocky Point, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon

“We came out strong in the first half, but we came out a little flat in the second,” Rocky Point sophomore Alec Rinaldi said. “We’ve been known to do that, but we stuck with them — we weathered the storm; got right back in it.”

Behind senior Noah Wessels’ six points in the quarter, with four other players contributing, Mount Sinai scored a field goal to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game, 31-30.

The score flip-flopped, and by the fourth quarter it was Rocky Point that was clinging to a one-point advantage, 37-36.

The Eagles looked to finish off the Mustangs, and surged ahead 43-36 with just over three minutes to go, but Mount Sinai battled back and trimmed the deficit to 43-41 with just under two minutes left in the game.

“I didn’t think they were going to be that strong shooting out of the gate,” Mount Sinai senior Vinny Margulies said. “Defensively, we played well the whole game. It’s just that we were shaky shooting throughout the game.”

Rocky Point sophomore Alec Rinaldi drives the lane in a Dec. 18 nonleague win over Mount Sinai, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon
Rocky Point sophomore Alec Rinaldi drives the lane in a Dec. 18 nonleague win over Mount Sinai, 46-41. Photo by Bill Landon

Mount Sinai had the opportunity to tie the game with 46 seconds left on a 1-and-1 opportunity, but missed. As the clock wound down to 20 seconds, Lynch was fouled and confidently swished both to seal the deal. With 4.4 seconds on the clock, Rocky Point senior Colin Kotarski scored once off his appearance at the charity stripe, to give the game its final score.

“Harry Lynch is an outstanding player and he showed that again tonight,” Mount Sinai head coach Ryan McNeely said. “We played him man-to-man and he was getting real good looks and getting shots, so we changed to a zone where we trapped to keep the ball out of his hands to make someone else hurt us.”

Lynch scored six three-pointers on the evening. Rinaldi banked seven points and Kotarski tacked on six.

Topping the scoreboard for Mount Sinai was Kelly with 12, while Wessels and Margulies tacked on eight points apiece.

Rocky Point will have a week off before hosting Shoreham-Wading River next Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. Mount Sinai hits the road Tuesday for a 6 p.m. tipoff at East Hampton.

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