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Boys Basketball

Miller Place traveled to Warrior nation and outscored Comsewogue, 72-52, in a nonleague matchup Dec. 10.

Miller Place junior Thomas Cirrito led his team in scoring with eight field goals, eight free throws and two triples for 30 points; Thomas Nealis, the lone senior on the squad, banked 16 along with 14 rebounds; and junior Timothy Hirdt netted 12, rebounding 12.

Atop the scoring chart for Comsewogue were Mike McGuire and Liam Gray with 13 points apiece. Both teams opened league play Dec. 12 where the Panthers hosted Wyandanch and Comsewogue took on visiting Centereach, but results were not available by press time.

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By Bill Landon

The Comsewogue Warriors stretched their legs in a 48 to 36 victory over the visiting Port Jeff Royals in a nonleague contest Dec. 6. Danielle McGuire along with teammate Lindsay Hanson topped the leaderboard for the Warriors with 12 points apiece, while Julianna Watson added three triples for nine more. Eighth-grader Lola Idir led the Royals in scoring six field goals, a triple and a free throw for 16 points while Hailey Hearney netted 10. Both teams open league season play Dec. 12 with the Royals at home against Mattituck as the Warriors hit the road to take on Centereach. Game times are 4:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai opened its nonleague season opener at home easily dispatching the visiting Royals 91-47 Nov. 29. Topping the scoring charts for the Mustangs was Nick Hurowitz with 24, Alex Rudolph netted 19 and Andrew Korakis banked 16. Leading the scoring for Port Jefferson was Bryce Lewis who notched 15 followed by teammate John Bachman with 12. The Mustangs are back in action Dec. 11 where they take on Sayville at home for their first league game; tipoff is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. The Royals retake the court in another nonleague matchup Dec. 6 where they’ll take on Smithtown Christian. Action starts at 6:00 p.m.

Chris Crespo scores 16 points in victory

Denis Sullivan carries the ball toward the basket. Photo by Bill Landon

By Jim Ferchland

Senior guard Chris Crespo was the catalyst for Smithtown West in a 57-42 victory over Newfield Jan. 23. He had 16 points on the night, scoring seven of the Bulls’ 19 first-quarter points.

Chris Crepo squeezes between defenders for a bucket. Photo by Bill Landon

Newfield head coach Anthony Agostino said Crespo made solid plays for his team all game.

“He makes everybody else around him better,” Agostino said. “He sacrifices his own individual points to get the ball where it needs to be. That’s why he’s a scholarship player.”

Crespo said he loves getting everyone involved in the game.

“I’m pretty sure every single one of my points were a layup or a foul shot,” Crespo said. “We hit a lot of threes today. When everyone is involved like that, it makes things a lot easier. It definitely feels good to get the ball moving and everyone scoring.”

Three players scored in double figures for the Bulls. Matt Behrens and Michael Gannon each added 11 points and combined for five 3-pointers. The team made eight triples on the night.

With the win, Smithtown West improves to 8-1 in League III, just behind undefeated Half Hollow Hills East, which outscored the Bulls in the county finals last year.

“It’s really about playing good basketball and us being able to hit our stride toward the playoffs,” said Smithtown West head coach Mike Agostino, Anthony’s brother. “We played well. The core kids who got a lot of playing time played great.”

Xavier Martinez shoots. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior Paul VonVoight contributed for nearly half of Newfield’s points. He led all scorers with 20. He got rolling in the fourth quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers to help Newfield outscore the Bulls 16-6, but it wasn’t enough.

Newfield falls to 2-7 in League III play and 4-11 overall. The Wolverines have lost three of their last four games. Despite the loss, Tony Agostino took some positives from the game.

“My guys fought till the very end,” he said. “Our goal was to keep them under 59 points. They scored 57, so we achieved one of our goals.”

Crespo said Newfield sat in their zone defense, which Smithtown West is used to seeing, so his team exploited that.

“Teams tend to struggle when playing us man-to-man,” Crespo said. “We have a lot of weapons. When teams play zone, we like to shoot threes. That’s what I like about us. When you play us, we play defense as hard as we can. We play a team-oriented style of basketball. In Suffolk County, we are a dominant force. That’s why we’ve won back-to-back league titles.”

Newfield is scheduled to play at Huntington (2-7, 3-12) Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Smithtown West will host crosstown rival Smithtown East (3-6, 6-9) the same day at 5:45 p.m.

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Behind the relentless play of senior Patrick Billings and sophomore Jaden Martinez, the Comsewogue boys basketball team cruised to an 86-38 nonleague win over cross-town rival Port Jefferson Dec. 11. The Warriors duo shared a game-high 18 points and combined for 22 rebounds in the win.

“It took them a little bit of time to dig in, but once we got going we showed what we’re capable of,” Comsewogue head coach Joel Sutherland said. “We always try to dictate tempo — play at our pace — and I felt in the second quarter we gave up some dribble-drives and some kick-outs and started to fall short of what we wanted to do. We made some adjustments at halftime and came out and played our game.”

Billings scored 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter alone, as Comsewogue jumped out to a 26-13 advantage after eight minutes. Despite the slow second, the Warriors turned a 37-27 halftime lead into a 68-35 difference at the end of three quarters of play.

“We were passing the ball very well,” Billings said. “We came out of halftime ready to play ball. Defense is our top priority, and this is how we have to play every time. We talked each other up, brought up the energy and trusted each other.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Martinez, senior Dylan Morris Gray and eighth-grader Aaron Talbert disrupted the Royals’ offense, deflecting and stealing several passes. Upon gaining possession, the trio jump-started the Warriors’ fast break offense, knowing when to keep it, or who to dish it off to. Martinez, who finished with five assists and six steals, connected with Billings under the net for a few easy buckets.

“I feel comfortable out there,” said Martinez, who scored 11 points in the monster third quarter and had three 3-pointers in the win. “Our half-court traps, our defense helped us put it all together today.”

Senior Alan Dylan Smith scored 12 points, classmate Tom McGuire tacked on 11 and freshman Liam Gray caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the final three minutes of the game on two threes and a perfect 4-for-4 finish from the free-throw line. Talbert came off the bench to add eight points in the win. Port Jefferson junior Grant Calendrille finished with a team-high 10 points. Comsewogue ended nonleague play at 4-2 while Port Jefferson fell to 2-3.

With Comsewogue moving up a league this year, Sutherland said he doesn’t see it as a problem. He expects his team to compete.

“I know what we’re capable of — it’s a matter of putting it together for a full 32 minutes,” he said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but as soon as they understand that when they play together there aren’t many teams as talented, we’ll be a dangerous one.”

The Warriors are back in action Dec. 19 hosting Bellport in the first League IV game of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

The Harborfields boys’ basketball team gathers in a circle before its matchup against Elmont in the Class A Long Island Championship game on March 6 where the Tornadoes fell short, 39-32. Photo by Joe Galotti

By Joe Galotti

It has been without a doubt a memorable winter for the Harborfields boys’ basketball team. But on Sunday afternoon, the Tornadoes suffered a rather disappointing finish to their season, that they will hope to soon forget.

Harborfields senior Malcolm Wynter, who scored seven points, dribbles the basketball between his legs. Photo by Joe Galotti
Harborfields senior Malcolm Wynter, who scored seven points, dribbles the basketball between his legs. Photo by Joe Galotti

Harborfields fell to Elmont, 41-32, in the Long Island Class A Championship matchup at Long Island University, denying the team a chance to compete for a New York State title. The Tornadoes were ice cold from the field down the stretch, failing to register a point during the final 11 minutes of the contest.

“We couldn’t score, it’s as simple as that,” Harborfields head coach John Tampori said. “We tried everything, but the ball wouldn’t go down. Layups, jump shots, it just didn’t happen for us. It was a tough, hard-fought game, and we came up short.”

Senior Rob Pecorelli led the Tornadoes with 10 points in the game. Senior Malcolm Wynter added seven points, while junior Kyle Stolba registered two 3-pointers.

Harborfields’ lineup was without junior big man Alex Merhige, who sat out due to an arm injury. The club seemed to feel the impact of his absence on both sides of the court in the title matchup.

“Any time you’re missing your tallest guy it hurts,” Tampori said. “He means so much to us back there. He can score inside for us, and we missed him terribly.”

The Tornadoes and Spartans have both been dangerous offensive teams this season. But, in their meeting on Sunday, points seemed to be hard to come by for both squads.

Harborfields senior Alex Bloom holds the ball on offense. Photo by Joe Galotti
Harborfields senior Alex Bloom holds the ball on offense. Photo by Joe Galotti

From the start, the game proved to be a physical battle, with players unafraid to bang bodies down low in the paint. Elmont jumped out to an early eight-point lead, but Harborfields managed to battle back and trail only 22-21 at the halftime break.

Early on in the third quarter, Wynter scored back-to-back baskets, putting his team up by four. Elmont senior Jalen Burgess then responded with three consecutive buckets of his own, helping Elmont end the quarter on a 10-4 run, and take a two-point advantage into the final stanza.

Over the game’s final eight minutes, a packed bleacher full of Tornadoes fans kept on waiting for their team to get hot from the outside, and the team started draining shots like they had all season long. But Harborfields could not get anything to fall in the fourth, as the Spartans’ suffocating defense forced them into difficult shot after difficult shot.

Helping Elmont pitch a shutout in the game’s final quarter was the zone defense it deployed. On Jan. 16, the Spartans allowed 61 points to Harborfields in a loss. But that was before the team made the switch to its new defensive strategy.

Harborfields senior Robert Pecorelli, who scored a team-high 10 points, attempts to dribble past the Elmont defender in front of him while senior Danny Morgan sets a pick. Photo by Joe Galotti
Harborfields senior Robert Pecorelli, who scored a team-high 10 points, attempts to dribble past the Elmont defender in front of him while senior Danny Morgan sets a pick. Photo by Joe Galotti

“When we played them earlier in the year, we didn’t play any zone,” Elmont head coach George Holub said. “Midway through the year, we started playing zone, and it suits these guys.”

The Spartans, who earned their program’s first Long Island Championship, go on to play Byram Hills in the New York State semifinals on Saturday.

Despite the deflating ending to their season, Harborfields still finishes the year with an impressive 19-3 record and a Suffolk County small school title under its belt. The Tornadoes also had the rare experience of winning 19 consecutive games. After the loss to Elmont, Tampori was quick to praise his senior-heavy group.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never been more proud of any team I’ve been around,” he said. “They always gave me all they got.”

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Harborfields' Robert Pecorelli nails a 3-pointer in the Suffolk County Section XI championship game at Stony Brook University on Feb. 27. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

For the first time in 20 games, the Harborfields’ boys’ basketball team met its match.

Harborfields' Danny Morgan drives the baseline. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Danny Morgan drives the baseline. Photo by Bill Landon

With the Class A champion Harborfields ahead 56-55 with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, the Class AA champion Half Hollow Hills West, went to the free-throw line and swished both opportunities to capture the overall Suffolk County championship title, 57-56, at Stony Brook’ University’s Island Federal Credit Union Arena Friday night.

“It’s been all year that our guys don’t stop fighting and they have a way of just staying in the game, even against a team like Half Hollow Hills West,” Harborfields head coach John Tampori said. “We were able to stay right with them.”

It was a push-and-shove game from the opening tipoff, and neither team was able to break the game open. After Harborfields senior guard Robert Pecorelli launched a deep shot that hit the basket at the buzzer, the game was tied 18-18 at the end of the first eight minutes.

Harborfields senior guard Malcolm Wynter swished his second 3-pointer to open the second quarter, which retied the game at 21-21.

Hills West turned up the heat and edged ahead with a buzzer-beater of its own to end the half up 32-24.

Harborfields' Malcolm Wynter stares down the Half Hollow Hills West defense. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Malcolm Wynter stares down the Half Hollow Hills West defense. Photo by Bill Landon

Harborfields’ 3-point game caught fire in the third period when Pecorelli banked his fourth trifecta of the game, Wynter drained his third and senior guard Danny Morgan netted his second, as the momentum began to shift.

On Hills West’s next possession, Morgan snatched the inbounds pass, and bolted through the paint for a layup that again tied the game, this time, at 41-41 with less than two minutes left in the period.

Trailing by a point in the fourth, Harborfields senior forward Nick Mitchell got the call off an inside pass, did a spin move in the paint and found the rim to put his team back in front, 50-49, with 5:19 left in regulation. Hills West countered though, to retake a one-point lead.

Wynter’s lightning-fast defensive play matched his high-scoring offense, as the senior sensed where the Hills West’s no-look passes were going. On a seemingly simple inbounds pass, Wynter flashed in front for the steal and went to the rim for the score to retake the lead for his team.

Harborfields' Nick Mitchell scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Nick Mitchell scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

Hills West retaliated with two consecutive scores to take a 55-52 lead with just over a minute left, but Mitchell went to the stripe shooting two and split his appearance to make it a two-point game. Wynter struck again with a monster 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to retake the lead by one with 58 seconds left in regulation.

Trailing by one with 5.2 seconds left, Hills West senior Richard Altenord went to the charity stripe shooting two. The senior calmly sank both for a one-point advantage as Harborfields called time out.

“Hills West — they’re real good,” Tampori said. “Anyone who beats Brentwood and Northport is really good.”

With time for one final offensive possession, Harborfields did what it has done all season, and put the ball in Wynter’s hands. The senior raced to the top of the key in a desperate attempt to find the net, but the buzzer sounded before the point guard could get the shot off.

Harborfields' Alex Bloom scores a layup. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Alex Bloom scores a layup. Photo by Bill Landon

“We got a little unlucky,” Tampori said. “They had the last possession and they got a foul called and that was the difference in the game.”

Wynter lead his team in scoring with 20 points, Pecorelli put up 12 and Morgan added 10.

Harborfields sets its sights higher when the Tornadoes travel to Long Island University Post for the Long Island Championship on March 6, where they’ll face Elmont for a second time this season. The Tornadoes defeated the Nassau champions 61-60 on Jan. 16 in a nonleague matchup. Tipoff for the championship game on Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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“There’s no reason we can’t win this game,” Smithtown West senior Matt English told his team during warm-ups. “What do we have to lose? Nothing.”

So with that, the No. 4 Smithtown West boys’ basketball team battled on the boards and hung in there with a tough No. 1-seeded Brentwood team during the Suffolk County Class AA semifinals at Stony Brook University Sunday night. The team’s efforts may not have been enough, as the Bulls fell 61-49 to the Indians, but in head coach Mike Agostino’s eyes, the team did everything it needed to.

“We did everything that we usually do — we played our butts off, we executed on offense, we moved the ball, set screens, we did all of the things necessary to win the game,” he said. “In terms of what we can control and what we did, they did everything I wanted them to.”

Senior Nick Grande started the game off strong for the Bulls, stealing a pass and converting the opportunity for points with a breakaway layup just 13 seconds into the game.

Brentwood countered with two field goals of its own before senior Doug Levy tied it up with a layup of his own, and tied it up again with an offensive rebound on the Bulls’ next possession, to bring the score to 6-6.

Levy tapped in another offensive rebound and sophomore Chris Crespo added a put-in and two free-throw points, but at the end of the eight minutes, the Bulls found themselves down 20-12.

The two teams continued to trade points in the second stanza, but the Bulls’ deficit grew to 10 points, with a 29-19 halftime score.

Crespo started off the third like Grande did the first, stealing the ball and converting a layup at the 7:12 mark, and added a field goal and a 3-point play to go alone with junior Greg Giordano’s field goal early on to help Smithtown West close the gap to 35-28, but that was as close as the team would come.

English finished with a team-high 14 points, Giordano netted 11, Crespo tacked on seven and Levy and junior Kyle LaGuardia added seven points apiece.

The Bulls may have lost, but the boys kept up with the No. 1-ranked team in the county, and never stopped hustling.

“It’s nothing new; it doesn’t’ surprise me,” Agostino said of the team’s commitment to never quitting. “That’s the expectation. It doesn’t surprise me, but it fills me with a lot of pride each time I see them put forth that effort. I never felt choked up after losing a game, but I did with them. The emotion comes from how hard they tried and how much effort they put in, and that’s what makes me really happy.”

Some of the teammates took to Twitter after the game to express their gratitude and feelings on being a part of the program.

“Thanks to everyone who came out to support,” Giordano wrote. “I wouldn’t have wanted to go to battle with any other group of guys these past four years. I love all of you.”

Despite also playing baseball, and choosing to play it in college, Grande wrote about how glad he was to have had the opportunity to play for his hoops team.

“Loved this game since I first picked up a basketball,” he said. “Gonna miss it like hell, but I couldn’t have asked for a better last ride.”

The Tigers’ tallest player was short on time, and it wasn’t enough to dig his team out of the hole that knocked them out of the playoffs.

The No. 3-seeded Half Hollow Hills West boys’ basketball team took advantage of No. 2 Northport’s early foul trouble, which left star senior center Lukas Jarrett benched for most of the first half with two personal fouls. By the time he returned to the Stony Brook University court for the second half of the Suffolk County Class AA semifinal matchup, the Tigers’ 31-20 deficit only continued to grow.

Northport had finished the season undefeated in League II, at 14-0, and only suffered one loss this season, a 70-48 defeat at Baldwin. The Tigers’ 72-47 loss on Sunday evening proved to be a similar-looking one, with the Colts coming up with big blocks and an array of 3-pointers to stifle Northport. The difference this time, though, was that the 6-foot, 7-inch Jarrett was not around to counter with many blocks of his own, and although the Tigers scored six 3-pointers, the Colts’ Matt Asenjo had six alone, followed by Kian Dalyrimple with five. The two combined for 41 points — almost as much as Northport’s entire team.

When Jarrett returned, he came through with a block to go along with a field goal and two free-throw points. Northport senior guard Sean O’Shea, who had been strong on offense the entire season, took over in Jarrett’s absence, scoring six points in each half for a team-high 12 points. Jarrett finished with nine points. Guards Brennan Whelan, a senior; Kevin Cryer-Hassett and Ryan Magnuson, both juniors; and Justin Carrano, a sophomore, tacked on five points apiece.

Northport was able to close the gap back to 11 points with O’Shea’s field goal at the 6:27 mark of the third, but by the end of those eight minutes the Tigers were down 49-30. Half Hollow Hills West led by as much as 30 points, after a trifecta put the team up 70-40 with 2:35 left in regulation, but O’Shea’s free-throw point, Cryer-Hassett’s 3-point play and junior guard Brett Vansteenbergen’s 3-pointer helped narrow that lead to give the game its final score.

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The Harborfields boys' basketball team celebrates its 45-42 victory over East Hampton for the Suffolk County Class A title. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The No. 1-seeded Harborfields boys’ basketball team led by 10 points before the No. 2 East Hampton Bonackers rallied back and, with a big 3-pointer, tied the game at 42-42 with a minute left in regulation at Suffolk County Community College’s Selden campus Friday night. Despite the scare, the Tornadoes were able to pull ahead for a close 45-42 victory, for the Suffolk County Class A title.

Alex Merhige battles his way to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Alex Merhige battles his way to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

“I thought, ‘Why did I sign up for this job?’ because it’s getting me gray and bald, but I have a lot of confidence in my guys, because they’ve been in games like this before,” Harborfields head coach John Tampori said of the game being tied in the final minute. “We pushed up, we pressed to speed up the tempo of the game so we could get some easy shots, but these guys with their effort were amazing. Even when they couldn’t shoot the ball they still found a way to score enough points.”

Harborfields struggled to find the rim in the first period, but down by two points with time expiring, Harborfields junior forward Alex Merhige swished a buzzer-beating field goal to tie the game at 11-11.

Both teams traded points until deadlocked at 17-17, but by the time the teams made their way to the locker room, East Hampton pulled ahead 23-19.

The scoreboard remained frozen for most of the third quarter, as both teams struggled to find the net. Harborfields held its opponent to just three points, a trifecta by Kyle McKee, who would make his presence known in the final quarter.

Harborfields senior guard Robert Pecorelli sparked a rally late in the period, netting eight points to put his team out front 29-26.

Malcolm Wynter plows his way through traffic to the hoop. Photo by Bill Landon
Malcolm Wynter plows his way through traffic to the hoop. Photo by Bill Landon

In a miscue, East Hampton in-bounded the ball to a teammate who was standing out of bounds, which turned the ball over to the Tornadoes with just over four minutes remaining. With his team leading by one point, Harborfields senior guard Malcolm Wynter hit a big 3-pointer, his second of the night, to help his team edge ahead 37-33. Pecorelli followed with a trey of his own that pushed his team’s advantage to 40-36.

Wynter said he wasn’t surprised by East Hampton’s range and shooting prowess.

“We had them all scouted because it’s such a big game and we knew they had shooters, and shooters make shots, that’s what they do, but we can shoot, too,” he said.

East Hampton’s McKee struck with another trey to make it a one-point game, but Merhige answered with a field goal that helped his team stay out front 42-39 with just over a minute left. McKee, finding his rhythm outside, nailed his fourth triple of the game that tied it at 42-42,

“They hit that big shot, but we rallied together, tightened up on defense, got out on their shooters and had good possessions,” Harborfields senior guard Danny Morgan said.

Pecorelli said his teammates were able to keep their head in the game because they’ve been in pressure situations before.

“We’re all seniors and we stayed calm, we’ve been in that position before and we had a hard non-league schedule, especially when we played Elmont,” he said. “So we stayed relaxed ran the offense that our coach puts in and knew we’d be fine. Hard work pays off our defense played really well tonight.”

With the clock winding down to seven seconds, Harborfields senior guard Alex Bloom, off a feed from Wynter, swished a three-point shot for the lead that held up at the buzzer.

Harborfields advances to take on No. 1-ranked Southampton, the Class B champion, Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus, in the Small School championship game.

“We’ll scout them, and we’ll have a couple of good practices and then,” Morgan said, “we’ll do what we do.”

The Harbofields boys' basketball team poses for a group photo with their championship plaque. Photo by Bill Landon
The Harbofields boys’ basketball team poses for a group photo with their championship plaque. Photo by Bill Landon

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