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Bill Landon

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Lukas Jarrett leaps up to the rim and scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Northport opened its season with a win over Connetquot on their home court Tuesday, defeating the Thunderbirds 62-51 in League II boys’ basketball action.

Brennan Whelan scores on a layup. Photo by Bill Landon
Brennan Whelan scores on a layup. Photo by Bill Landon

Connetquot broke out to an early 8-2 lead halfway through the first quarter, which shrunk to a three-point lead with just under two minutes left. The Tigers rallied and took their first lead of the game, edging ahead 11-10 in the last minute of the quarter, but Connetquot, on their final possession, let the clock wind down to two seconds, and hit a jumper at the buzzer to take a one-point lead into the second.

But it would be the last time the Thunderbirds would lead in the contest.

After a sluggish first quarter, Northport senior Lukas Jarrett found his rhythm and the rim, as he helped the Tigers surge ahead 19-12 with just over five minutes left in the half.

Connetquot controlled the inside game early, as they were strong down low and Northport struggled to handle the pressure.

The Tigers opened the second half clinging to an eight-point lead that shrank to five with just under four minutes left in the third. Northport senior Joe Stockman swished a three-pointer from the corner to give his team a six-point advantage, and the Tigers took a 42-36 lead at the 2:28 mark of the third.

Connetquot clawed its way back to open the final quarter trailing just 45-41, but Jarrett rocked the room with a three-pointer to aid the Tigers. Again the Thunderbirds muscled their way to the rim to cut the deficit, 48-43.

Lukas Jarrett leaps up to the rim and scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon
Lukas Jarrett leaps up to the rim and scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

Northport head coach Andrew D’Eloia said that Connetquot is a tough, resilient team, adding that the matchups between the two teams are always competitive.

“We knew what to expect and we had to be ready and play all 32 minutes, and we did that,” D’Eloia said. “I thought Brennan Whelan, Sean [O’Shea], Lukas [Jarrett], Rory [Schynder], and Joe Stockman really stepped it up, so it was a real team victory.”

O’Shea, a senior, made his presence known with a long three-pointer from the corner to break out to a 51-45 advantage with just under four minutes left in regulation.

“We knew that they’re a team that likes to pound it inside and they have good shooters, so we prepared for that,” O’Shea said. “I like how we finished at the end. It was a close game. We didn’t get overwhelmed by the moment.”

Jarrett struck again from long distance, as the senior drained his second trey of the game, to put his team out front by 11 with just over three minutes left.

Play was stopped for an injury timeout as Jarrett took an elbow to the nose. The 6-foot, 7-inch forward, with cotton stuffed up his nostrils, sat on the bench for the rest of the game.

Rory Schynder drives the baseline. Photo by Bill Landon
Rory Schynder drives the baseline. Photo by Bill Landon

“They’re a physical team,” Jarrett said. “They were good at getting to the loose balls, so we had to match their intensity. Our bench is deep — it’s always been that way, so it’s awesome that when someone gets hurt, our bench can always pick us up.”

In the foul-plagued final minutes, both teams traded points at the free-throw line. Whelan nailed two, and the senior put his team ahead, 60-46.

“We knew they were going to be tough inside and they’re tough players,” Whelan said. “We let them get too many points inside, but we started to play well on defense and we pulled it out there at the end.”

Trailing by 14 points with time running out, Connetquot was forced to foul to arrest the clock, but learned that that was a losing battle with Northport at the charity stripe.

Whelan led his team in scoring with 18 points; Jarrett was close behind with 17 and O’Shea finished with 13.

The Tigers will try to carry the winning momentum into Friday’s road contest at Half Hollow Hills East. Tipoff is at 4:30 p.m.

Port Jefferson junior Courtney Lewis scores a game-high 23 points in the Royals' 61-55 win

Miller Place's Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers' 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis drives the baseline in the Royals' 61-55 nonleague win over Miller Place on Dec. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Courtney Lewis drives the baseline in the Royals’ 61-55 nonleague win over Miller Place on Dec. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Behind junior Courtney Lewis’ game-high 23 points, Port Jefferson led most of the way, until late in the third quarter when Miller Place rallied back to take a three-point lead, but the Royals bounced back midway through the fourth, defeating their nonleague challenger on the road Saturday morning, 61-55.

With a roster void of seniors, the Royals played beyond their years as they controlled the tempo of the game, leading 19-10 after the first quarter, and took a 31-25 advantage into the halftime break.

The Panthers closed the gap with two minutes left in the third quarter, when sophomore Ally Tarantino scored a put-back off a rebound to tie the game at 37-37, and senior Milan Hatcher answered next, driving the lane and muscling her way to the rim for the score to put her team out front for the first time in the game, 39-37. Hatcher had a hot hand in the third, scoring 11 of her total 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. At the end of the stanza, Miller Place held a 40-39 lead.

“I told my players to keep running plays; keep calm, and we had to play good defense because [Port Jefferson has] good shooters,” Hatcher said. “They like to drive and kick out. They’re a good team.”

With 4:09 left in the game, the Panthers clung to a three-point lead, out in front 49-46.

Miller Place's Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers' 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers’ 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon

The free-throw performance was bleak, as both teams left points on the table. With her team leading 50-49, Hatcher went to the stripe shooting two, and missed both.

With just over two minutes left in the contest, still trailing by one, Port Jefferson junior Siobhan Petracca went to the line shooting two, and she too came away empty.

“It was a disappointing loss,” Miller Place senior Jessica Powers said. “We knew exactly what they had. We came up short, which hurt us, and we didn’t play as a team.”

Port Jefferson junior Gillian Kenah, who scored 16 points in the game behind Lewis’ 23, said she was impressed with the Panthers’ offensive effort.

“We played a really solid game — we came out pressing immediately and I think that worked really well for us,” Kenah said. “But they came back at us even after our press, so I applaud them for that.”

Both teams traded baskets, and Lewis went to the line shooting two, hitting the front end but missing the back, to help her team edge ahead 53-51.

Miller Place's Danielle Bamnola goes to the rim in a Dec. 12 nonleague home loss to Port Jefferson, 61-55. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Danielle Bamnola goes to the rim in a Dec. 12 nonleague home loss to Port Jefferson, 61-55. Photo by Bill Landon

“We knew they had some good players, so we had to adjust our defense, but we did well rebounding, which is something we don’t usually do,” Lewis said. “They had two players guarding our best players in a triangle, so we had to adjust to it, to try and break that up.”

At the 1:36 mark, Tarantino, with a dominant performance on the boards, scored on another put-back to tie the game again.

“We expected them to come out strong and they did,” Tarantino said. “We came out a little flat in the first half. Coach told us after the game to keep going up strong [to the rim] and don’t fade away.”

From the 53-53 tie, the game was decided at the foul line, as both teams lost players due to foul trouble.

Port Jefferson freshman Jocelyn Lebron was fouled as she drove the lane with just over a minute left, and scored on her first free-throw attempt. Although she missed the second, Lewis grabbed the rebound for the score to give her team a 56-53 advantage.

“I thought we did very well in handling the pressure from their defense,” Lebron said. “They were what we expected, but we did well on our rebounding and our defensive pressure.”

Lewis tacked on another field goal to help push her team further ahead, 58-53. The junior scored 12 points in the final quarter.

“We missed a lot of foul shots today — we’re much better at the foul line,” Port Jefferson head coach Ed Duddy said.

Port Jefferson's Jocelyn Lebron drives to the basket and scores in the Royals' Dec. 12 61-55 victory over Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Jocelyn Lebron drives to the basket and scores in the Royals’ Dec. 12 61-55 victory over Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon

Miller Place senior Danielle Bamnola cut the Panthers’ deficit to four with her foul-line appearance with 28 seconds left, but Port Jefferson’s soccer sensation, junior Jillian Colucci, went to the line shooting two and nailed both to maintain the six-point lead, 60-54.

Bamnola and Petracca traded points at the foul line next, to bring the final score to 61-55.

“They’re very talented with a good fast break, and that group has been together since the eighth grade,” Miller Place head coach Joe Read said. “We’ve held our opponent to 30 points a game this season and today we gave up 50, and that goes to the team aspect of it. We’re playing like individuals, especially defensively.”

Read added that despite the loss, he was happy with his team’s skill level against his opponent.

“I’m not upset with how my girls played today, other than they didn’t play as a team, and that to me was the difference,” he said. “If they can play together, they’re capable of great things.”

Miller Place will host League VI challenger Hampton Bays on Tuesday at 4 p.m., while Port Jefferson will host Mount Sinai on Thursday, in a nonleague game scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

This version corrects the class level of Siobhan Petracca, the total point count of Gillian Kenah, and the date of Port Jefferson’s next game.

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Hanae Wada clashes with her foil opponent. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Brentwood fencing team was too much for the Huntington Blue Devils to handle, as the boys fell 15-12, and the girls lost 18-9, Monday night.

On the boys’ side, Brentwood dominated Huntington in epée, winning seven of nine bouts, which set the tone for the rest of the match. Notching victory for the Blue Devils in epée was Finn Tucker, who managed to take two out of three, defeating his opponents 5-3 and 5-4 before dropping his third by a single point.

On the girls’ strip, Huntington struggled to fill the card, and forfeited three matches as a result of fencers being ineligible due to practice issues, which, according to Huntington head coach Jillian Melnick, is not uncommon this early in the season.

“We were fencing their best of their best, but unfortunately, not all of our fencers were eligible,” Melnick said, adding that each fencer needs a certain number of practices to qualify for the first meet.

Senior Elisa Medina-Jaudes took two out of three in epée, defeating her opponents 5-3 and 5-4 before she too dropped her third match by a single point.

Jack O’Heir, right, battles his epée opponent. Photo by Bill Landon
Jack O’Heir, right, battles his epée opponent. Photo by Bill Landon

“Brentwood has always been an equal match for us,” Medina-Jaudes said. “We were missing some of our best players, but I think we did well overall. We were able to hold our own, but we struggled without those players.”

Melnick said she is always pleased with her senior’s performance.

“Elisa performed well, as she stayed cool under pressure,” she said. “She’s a leader out there on the strip, where she kept her entire team rooting for one another.”

The boys took foil with a dominant performance by Dylan Collier, who won all three of his bouts 5-2, 5-0 and 5-3. Huntington took the foil card 5-4.

The girls struggled in foil, and managed only three wins to Brentwood’s six. Leading the card for Huntington was Hanae Wada, with two victories, defeating her opponents 5-2 and 5-4, while Sabrina Floro won her match 5-1.

“We did really well considering we didn’t have all of our varsity starters, so we saw new people step up,” Wada said. “We’ve got to work on being more aggressive, but we got a lot of touches today.”

Huntington’s Zach McGinniss won two out of three in sabre, besting his opponents 5-1 and 5-3, dropping his third match 3-5. Brentwood took the boys’ sabre card 5-4.

“Brentwood’s a good team; they’re consistent every year — they have good fencers, and I expected them to bring what they did today,” Huntington senior epéeist Jack O’Heir said. “We didn’t have our full varsity team, but I think each of us performed to our potential.”

Kelly Tenbus won two of her sabre matches, 5-1 and 5-3, and Adina Kirkland won her bout 5-2. But again, Brentwood bested the card, taking sabre 6-3.

“[Brentwood] showed superior technique today,” Melnick said. “We’ll practice in specific bouts where they’ll have to be aggressive in order to get the touch. Some of the kids were nervous and fell back on defense instead of pushing their own offense.”

Senior epéeist Stefano Ornato echoed O’Heir’s sentiment.

“They’re a solid team,” he said of Brentwood. “But missing as many players as we did, I thought we did pretty well with what we had.”

The Blue Devils hit the road for their next match, where they will take on Newfield on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.

Comsewogue sophomore Victoria Blaney shoots while Rocky Point's Madison Hrysko defends. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue sophomore Nora Gabel makes a play. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue sophomore Nora Gabel makes a play. Photo by Bill Landon

Behind Nora Gabel’s 23 points and eight steals, the Comsewogue girls’ basketball team led coast to coast in Tuesday’s League V opener on the road at Rocky Point, turning a 9-4 lead after one quarter to a 43-22 victory.

Comsewogue controlled the tempo from tipoff, dominated the time of possession and hit the scoreboard over and over.

By halftime, the Warriors battled their way up to a 20-8 lead, but Comsewogue head coach Joe Caltagirone said he knew Rocky Point would be athletic, despite not knowing how they’d be offensively.

“They put a little ball pressure on us and they contested all of our shots,” Caltagirone said of Rocky Point, adding he was pleased with how his team played defensive. “Offensively, I think we have a little ways to go to get to where I want to be this season.”

Despite several turnovers in the first half, the Warriors got their rhythm in the second as the team found the rim. Gabel, a sophomore guard, lit up the scoreboard for Comsewogue with 11 points, which included a pair of three-pointers. Rocky Point senior forward Julia Jauhiainen scored all of her five points in the third quarter, as her team trailed 33-13.

With 5:52 left in the game, Comsewogue worked to unwind the clock, and the teams traded points as time expired.

Gabel, who nailed three treys on the evening, said that she was surprised by the margin of victory.

Comsewogue freshman Julianna Watson goes up for a layup. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue freshman Julianna Watson goes up for a layup. Photo by Bill Landon

“In the huddle before the game, I said we have to be hungrier than they were,” Gabel said. “So we went out there and played our hardest and we left it all out on the court.”

Following Gabel for the Warriors was junior guard Megan Turner with seven points, and forwards Sam Collins, a junior, and Victoria Blaney, a sophomore, chipped in four points apiece.

“They’re a strong team, but I don’t think we played up to our standards,” Turner said. “Defensively we’re strong, but our offense needs a little work.”

Rocky Point senior guard Michaela Peacock and junior center Allyson Greenstein matched Jauhiainen with five points each.

Rocky Point head coach Scott Lindsay said Comsewogue is always a tough team to play because they’re physical and have two strong guards.

“They play a strong defense up top, which caused a little problem when they started pressing,” Lindsay said. “With our second group, I was really impressed with how they were moving the ball. We’re improving from game to game — they played hard the whole way and I think we’re building on something here.”

Comsewogue will host Harborfields in its first home game of the season on Thursday. A 5:45 p.m. tipoff is scheduled.

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Centereach senior co-captain Lauren Meigel reaches for the ball in a game last season. File photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The 2015-16 season holds promise for the Centereach girl’s basketball team as most of last years starters return to vie for a playoff appearance in League III action with a distinct advantage — having lost just one senior to graduation from last years’ squad.

Unlike last years’ team, which went 4-11, the Cougars lineup features six seniors, three juniors and three sophomores, with 10 returning players.

Head coach James Steigele Jr. said there is no one player who has emerged as a dominant leader this year, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Center each junior Cassidy Treanor shoots the ball in a game last season. File photo by Bill Landon
Center each junior Cassidy Treanor shoots the ball in a game last season. File photo by Bill Landon

“With so many returning players they have all stepped up into a leadership role, especially at their position,” he said, adding that he’ll still rely on seasoned senior co-captains Lauren Meigel, Nicole Fellone, Katrina Gangji, Erica Medina and Alyssa Sokolowski.

To make the post season, the coach told his team that the keys to success are communication, offensive ball control and holding their opponents to as few points as possible.

“Communication might sound vague, but it touches on multiple facets of success,” Steigele said. “We’ll have to move the ball offensively and play a tough, hard-nose defense.”

The Cougars opened their season defeating League I challenger Patchogue-Medford, 48-41, in the coaches for cancer game, and then fell to Elwood-John Glenn and Mount Sinai — all nonleague challengers.

The head coach said he feels positive just three games into the season.

“We were leading Glenn 19-3 after the first quarter,” he said. “They’re very competitive, well-coached and they are a consistent postseason team.”

After the final game of last season, the lone departing senior, Alicia Indence, who plays women’s basketball at Mount Saint Mary’s College, predicted good things for this years’ team.

“With the talent this team has I know they’ll do very well next season,” Indence said.

Centereach will open regular season play on December 15 on the road against Smithtown East with tipoff slated for 4 p.m. According to the coach, Riverhead will be one of the team’s toughest opponents this year. He said he believes that the Blue Waves’ starting five is one of the best in the county.

“You can’t take any team lightly in this league, “ Steigele said. “We need to get past every team in order to clinch a playoff berth.”

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North Shore residents burned off calories to make some room for turkey early on Thanksgiving morning, running the 1-mile and 5-mile paths at Shoreham’s 35th annual Turkey Trot.

Three Shoreham and Wading River residents earned top finishes, including 2014 Shoreham-Wading River graduate Ryan Udvadia, who earned first place in the 5K for men with a time of 17 minutes, .01 seconds.

A portion of the proceeds from the charity event will fund community programs.

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By Bill Landon

It wasn’t like the Newfield football team to trail in a game, but like the first and only other time they found themselves behind this season, it didn’t last.

Both times were against the Colts of Half Hollow Hills West. The first time was when the two teams faced off in September, when the Wolverines went on to outscore their opponent, 41-13. But this time, the teams were on a bigger stage — the Suffolk County Division II championship. Continuing its quest for a perfect season, Newfield propelled past a 20-18 deficit late in the second quarter to help the team claim its second county title since 2011, with a 58-34 victory at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium Friday night.

“From the beginning of the season you work as hard as you can to get here,” Newfield senior Austin Gubelman said. “It’s a surreal feeling, it really is.”

Gubelman, a tight end, scored first on a short run, and after a failed two-point conversion attempt, Hills West cut the Wolverines’ lead in half with a field goal. Newfield senior Elijah Riley, a wide receiver who has been a one-man wrecking machine this postseason with eight touchdowns in the last three games, scored his first of four touchdowns off a handoff he took more than 50 yards for the 12-3 advantage, after another failed two-point conversion attempt, to end the scoring in the first.

The two teams totaled 952 yards, with 516 coming from Newfield. Riley alone finished the game with 146 yards on 11 carries.

With junior Justin Ottenwalder catching a pass up the middle and carrying it 71 yards for a touchdown run, the halfback, who caught three passes for 154 yards and gained 62 yards on eight carries, helped the Wolverines remain in front. But the Colts responded with another field goal and an interception on a screen pass that was returned for a touchdown. With the extra-point attempt successful, Newfield’s opponent took a 20-18 lead with 1:51 left in the half.

Just like in that September matchup, the Wolverines wouldn’t stay behind for long.

With 20 seconds on the clock, Riley took matters into his own hands. He took a handoff up the middle and found nothing. Bouncing off the wall of defenders, the senior looked for an open hole on his first, second and third attempts before cutting to the outside and finding the corner of the end zone from four yards out to put his team out in front, 24-10. From there, the Wolverines never looked back.

Hills West was on the move to start the second half, but a deep throw to a wide receiver was snatched by Newfield senior safety Denzel Williams. From the 18-yard line, Williams returned the interception up field to the 31-yard line. He finished with 108 yards on nine carries.

Newfield senior Ryan Klemm, the team’s quarterback, dumped a screen pass off to Ottenwalder, who jetted down the left sideline, covering 69 yards for the score. With the extra-point attempt by senior kicker Jacob VanEssendelft successful, the Wolverines extended their lead to 31-20 with 7:22 left in the third.

Klemm said he knew his team had the ability to bounce back, and the Wolverines refocused their efforts after a losing record at the end of last year.

“We knew we had a really talented team and we worked very hard in the offseason,” the quarterback said. “It’s surreal right now. It’s an awesome feeling, and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

The Colts fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, and Newfield junior Jesse McKeever scooped it up and took off for the end zone. The cornerback was stopped just shy of the goal line, and the Wolverines offensive unit went back to work. Gubelman got the call and plowed his way up the middle for his second touchdown in the game. With a missed point-after attempt, the tight end put his team out front, 37-20.

With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Half Hollow Hills West quarterback Anthony Lucarelli found the end zone on a keeper and, with the point after, the Colts closed the gap a bit.

On the ensuing play from scrimmage, Newfield called on Williams, the Middle Country sprinter, who dashed 64 yards across the field, leading blockers all the way to the end zone. With the kick from VanEssendelft good, Newfield jumped out to a 44-27 advantage.

And after a Hills West three-and-out, Newfield struck again.

With just over a minute left in the third quarter, Riley eluded three tacklers and covered 46 yards for six points. VanEssendelft’s kick split the uprights to blow the game open, 51-27.

Hills West went to the air the rest of the way, and tried to force long passes to make up for lost time. Lucarelli went deep to his wide receiver, who appeared to make the catch but bobbled the ball. Just as deadly defensively at cornerback as he is on offense as a wide receiver, Riley snatched the ball out of the Colts player’s hands for the interception with just over three minutes left in the contest.

The dominant and forceful senior finished the turnover he created with a short plunge into the end zone for his final touchdown of the game. Along with VanEssendelft’s kick, Riley’s score increased his team’s lead to 58-27.

Newfield head coach Joe Piccininni rested his starters on both sides of the ball the rest of the way, and Hills West made the most of the change by scoring one final touchdown.

“Our mistakes were hurting us and we faced a lot of adversity, but we were able to come back tonight,” Piccininni said. “We faced a great football team tonight — they didn’t fall back and they didn’t falter.”

With that, the team was crowned Suffolk County champions, and Newfield will take its undefeated season to the gridiron of Hofstra University on Friday, for a 4:30 p.m. kick off against MacArthur in the Long Island championship game. Although this year looked uncertain after the Wolverines’ 3-6 season last year, Gubelman said he thought his team could do it all along.

“I’ve known my teammates my whole life — we’ve been playing together since we were 5 years old,” he said. “We practice hard the same way we always do, come out with one vision: [to win the] Long Island Championship.”

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The Shoreham-Wading River football team poses for a group photo in celebration of it's second consecutive Suffolk County championship with a 24-14 win over Elwood-John Glenn on Nov. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Since November 2013, all the Shoreham-Wading River football team has known is how to win football games, and although the Wildcats had their hands full with No. 2 Elwood-John Glenn, the team was able to grind out a win, 24-14, for the Suffolk County Division IV title Thursday night at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium.

“When you work hard this is what you get — a county championship,” Shoreham-Wading River junior quarterback Kevin Cutinella said. “It’s been a battle throughout the season. We’ll watch film and practice late to prepare for the Long Island championship the same way we did for this game.”

Shoreham-Wading River junior quarterback Kevin Cutinella scrambles out of the pocket in the Wildcats' 24-14 victory over Elwood-John Glenn for the Suffolk County Division IV title on Nov. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River junior quarterback Kevin Cutinella scrambles out of the pocket in the Wildcats’ 24-14 victory over Elwood-John Glenn for the Suffolk County Division IV title on Nov. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Amid rain and harsh winds, Elwood-John Glenn lined up in punt formation after a three-and-out, and snapped the ball to the punt protector, who was unable to handle the wet ball, and the Wildcats pounced on it, recovering the fumble at the nine-yard line. Two plays later, Cutinella punched in for the touchdown, and with the extra point good, helped put his team out front 7-0 at the 8:42 mark of the first quarter.

With the Knights unable to answer, the Wildcats were on the move again. On the first play from scrimmage, senior running back Chris Rosati drove the ball down to the nine-yard line with just over four minutes remaining in the stanza. Two plays later, Rosati pounded his way into the end zone for the score, and with senior kicker Daniel Mahoney’s extra-point attempt successful, the Wildcats edged ahead 14-0.

On Elwood-John Glenn’s ensuing possession, Chris Forsberg almost went the distance as he broke free of tacklers and covered 81 yards. Shihan Rudyk finished it as he punched it in from three yards out to put the Knights on the scoreboard. With the point-after attempt good, Elwood-John Glenn trailed 14-7 with 7:37 left in the half.

The Knights struck again soon after, when quarterback Wayne White found Kyle Tiernan for a 25-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14-14 heading into the break.

The rain intensified and the wind picked up in the second half, leaving both teams struggling for traction in the third quarter.

After an injury timeout, Shoreham-Wading River senior Jason Curran took over under center, but it was Mahoney who helped his team score next, as he attempted a 33-yard field goal attempt in the fourth. The senior made it look easy, as he split the uprights to put his team out front, 17-14. According to the kicker, it wasn’t as easy at it looked.

Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati breaks outside for a long gain in Shoreham-Wading River's 24-14 victory over Elwood-John Glenn for the Suffolk County Division IV title on Nov. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River senior running back Chris Rosati breaks outside for a long gain in Shoreham-Wading River’s 24-14 victory over Elwood-John Glenn for the Suffolk County Division IV title on Nov. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

“It was like kicking a rock,” he said, adding that he was exhilarated to see the ball go between the posts. “It felt like my leg was 10 pounds heavier and the ball was 10 pounds heavier.”

With five minutes left on the clock, the Wildcats added insurance points when Curran handed off to Rosati, who did what he’s done all season, grinding up the middle for the touchdown. With Mahoney perfect on the evening, Shoreham-Wading River put the game away 24-14.

“We put in the right kids in the right spots,” Shoreham-Wading River assistant coach Hans Wiederkehr said. “We were able to make plays at the right time.”

The Wildcats advance to the Long Island Championship, where the team will take on Locust Valley on Friday at Hofstra University. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.

“We’ve got a lot of homework to do because we’ve never seen them before,” Wiederkehr said. “But we’re going to get right back to what got us here — practicing hard watching film.”

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Ward Melville's Victoria Tilley and Alex Stein grab a block at the net in the Patriots' 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

It was a battle of the undefeated teams, but Ward Melville fell short. The Patriots girls’ volleyball team was able to power past Smithtown East but had trouble doing it again, and fell to No. 1-ranked Connetquot, 27-25, 25-18, and 25-20, Thursday in the Suffolk County Class AA finals.

Ward Melville senior Alex Stein scores a kill shot in the Patriots' 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior Alex Stein scores a kill shot in the Patriots’ 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

The Thunderbirds broke out to an early 10-4 lead, but the Patriots made it a one-point game later in the set to trail 19-18, forcing a Connetquot time out. Ward Melville scored next to tie the game at 19-19, but Connetquot rattled off five more points to surge ahead 24-21.

It was advantage Ward Melville when the Patriots scored the next four points to take a 25-24 lead, but the Thunderbirds were the No.1 seed for a reason, and dug out two more points to retake the lead, 26-25, and aced the final point to put the set away, 27-25.

“I felt like we got robbed in game one — I thought we had it but got a bad call there,” Ward Melville head coach Charles Fernandes said. “But I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think we played like we normally play. We didn’t pass very well and when we don’t pass well we don’t get into our offensive system.”

In a repeat of the first set, Connetquot broke out to a 10-4 lead and edged ahead 12-5 in the second set, before the team jumped out to a 20-8 lead. Ward Melville battled back to trail 22-14, and both teams traded points as Connetquot took the set to the brink, leading 24-14 before Ward Melville rattled off four unanswered points to trail 24-18. The Thunderbirds scored next though, to claim another set, 25-18.

Ward Melville junior Cierra Low sets the ball in the team's 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior Cierra Low sets the ball in the team’s 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

Fernandes spoke to his team following the second-set loss about what it took to battle back, being down two games to none.

“This has happened before — teams pull this out,” he told his team. “You’ve got to get the first one and that’s the hard one.”

With their backs against the wall, the Patriots broke out to an 8-2 advantage in the third set as the team tried to avoid elimination, but after a Connetquot time out, Ward Melville struggled to maintain the margin, and the Thunderbirds bounced back to tie the game 10-10.

Connetquot scored next to take its first lead, but the set was retied at 16-16 courtesy of a kill shot by Ward Melville senior outside hitter Alex Stein. The Thunderbirds edged ahead 20-17, then 22-19 and again brought the match to the brink leading 24-20.

Stein said that her team’s performance was not up to par with the level her team usually plays at.

“I don’t know if we were nervous, anxious or just all over the place mentally, but we did not click as a team,” she said. “Our defense was all over the place and it’s just not how we play.”

The Thunderbirds scored next to sweep the Patriots and advance to the Long Island Championship round against Massapequa, where the team beat the Nassau County champs for the Long Island championship title.

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Elijah Riley scores three touchdowns on 10 carries for 210 yards

Newfield wide receiver Elijah Riley rushes with the ball behind blocker Justin Ottenwalder in the Wolverines' 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Elijah Riley stole the show Saturday.

The Newfield football team continued its winning ways when the Wolverines defeated North Babylon, 32-6, in the semifinal round of the Division II playoffs Saturday.

Newfield wide receiver Elijah Riley lunges for extra yards in the Wolverines' 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield wide receiver Elijah Riley lunges for extra yards in the Wolverines’ 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon

And the Wolverines wasted no time hitting the scoreboard.

Riley, a senior wide receiver, scored his first of three touchdowns on the afternoon on a hand-off, where he broke to the right sideline and took off for the end zone, covering 60 yards along the way. Through swirling wind, senior kicker Jacob VanEssendelft split the uprights and Newfield took an early 7-0 lead.

North Babylon was unable to answer, and the team’s defense couldn’t stop senior quarterback Ryan Klemm next, who went to the air, finding senior tight end Austin Gubelman over the middle. On a second effort, Gubelman found the end zone for the score, and with the extra-point attempt wide left, helped put his team out in front 13-0 with 6:20 left in the opening quarter.

“We expected a very tough opponent — our defensive line started off with a big push on every play, it’s all on the defensive line,” Gubelman said. “[But] we didn’t play up to our best ability. Wer’e going to have to step it up with a good week of practice and we’re going to have to focus to get ready for Friday.”

The scoreboard went quiet until the opening play from scrimmage in the second half, where Riley struck again when he took off down the left sideline, outrunning any defender as he covered 63 yards for the score. With a failed two-point conversion attempt, the Wolverines settled for a 19-0 advantage.

New field quarterback Ryan Klemm throws the ball deep for a touchdown in the Wolverines' 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon
New field quarterback Ryan Klemm throws the ball deep for a touchdown in the Wolverines’ 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon

Riley said North Babylon was a more potent opponent this week than they were when the Wolverines faced the Bulldogs earlier in the regular season, because the team had fewer injured players.

“They were a better team this week with their three returning starters — we had to prepare like we did last time, but just harder,” said Riley, who finished the game with 210 yards on 10 carries. “Our defense and our offense finished it out and our special teams did a great job.”

On their ensuing possession, North Babylon mounted its first sustained offensive drive. On a third-and-8 from Newfield’s 40-yard line, North Babylon’s ball carrier, Nick Grassa, took a hit from Gubelman that knocked the ball loose. Newfield junior Justin Ottenwalder recovered it at the 33-yard line with 8:38 left in the third quarter, arresting the scoring threat.

“We knew it was going to be a hard game and we prepared for them,” said Ottenwalder, who rushed for 49 yards on two carries. “But I knew it was going to be a tough game because they’re a good team.”

Newfield wasted no time cashing in on the Bulldogs’ mistake, and Klemm, despite the gusty wind, went to the air again. The quarterback found Riley in stride on a post-pattern play, and the wide receiver rushed across the field 39 yards for his final touchdown of the game. The stirring wind pushed the extra-point attempt wide left, and Newfield surged ahead 25-0 in the closing minutes of the third quarter.

The Wolverines weren’t done yet though, and on the second play from scrimmage to open the final stanza, Ottenwalder got the call. On a hand-off up the middle, the junior made something out of nothing when he broke to the outside, eluding two would-be tacklers for a 36-yard touchdown run. With VanEssendelft’s kick, the two helped the team to a 32-0 lead.

New field's Jelani Greene plunges up the middle for extra yards in the Wolverines' 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon
New field’s Jelani Greene plunges up the middle for extra yards in the Wolverines’ 32-6 win over North Babylon in the Division II semifinals on Nov. 14. Photo by Bill Landon

The Bulldogs would not go down without a fight, and with just over four minutes remaining Jajuan Winters, on a handoff from quarterback Jared Ziegler, punched his way into the end zone from eight yards out to put North Babylon on the scoreboard. The point-after attempt failed.

Newfield senior Steven Hoynacky took over under center the rest of the way as head coach Joe Piccininni flushed his bench — ensuring everyone saw playoff action.

“North Babylon’s a great football team — they’re a ground and pound attack and they come at you and if you make a mistake against them, they’ll make you pay for it,” Piccininni said. “I’m so proud of our kids stepping up today. They maintained their composure and they just got it done.”

With the win, Newfield advances to the Suffolk County championship at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, where the Wolverines will take on Half Hollow Hills West Friday at 7 p.m.

“We’ll take it one day at a time — prepare each day,” Piccininni said. “But our preparation will be the same.”

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