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Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville, having won their season opener with Central Islip, dropped to Half Hollow Hills then fell to Patchogue-Medford. The Patriots were anxious to get back to winning ways in a road game against Riverhead Friday afternoon, April 5. 

After three scoreless innings it was Sara Kropp who provided the spark for the Patriots with a leadoff home run to center field in the top of the 4th inning to break the ice. The lead would be short lived as the Blue Waves answered back in the bottom of the inning to tie the game and mustered the go-ahead run to begin the 5th. 

Ward Melville saw ample opportunity but stranded several runners on base to lose 2-1 in the League I matchup. 

The loss drops the Patriots to 1-3 in the early going as Riverhead remains undefeated..

— Photos by Bill Landon 

By Bill Landon

Having lost their first two games of the season, Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats looked to put a win up on the board in this early season and win they did, defeating Kings Park 14-7 in driving rain Tuesday afternoon, April 2, at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.

In the opening minutes of the second quarter, SWR freshman midfielder Madison Herr notched her hat trick on a penalty shot to put her team ahead 7-1. The Wildcats took the opportunity to rest some of their starters until the final buzzer sounded.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 1-2 in their division as the loss drops Kings Park to 0-3.

Both teams retake the field Friday, April 5, when Kings Park hosts Elwood-John Glenn at 5 p.m. and the Wildcats take on Westhampton in another home game at 4:45 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon 

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville girls lacrosse team opened their season at home against the Longwood Lions on Monday, March 25, under brilliant sunshine in a Division 1 matchup where both teams traded goals through two quarters of play. Longwood found the back of the cage in the final seconds to take a 5-4 lead into the halftime break.

The Patriots dispatched the offseason cobwebs in the second half as they dominated the time of possession, and with smart clock management rattled off six unanswered goals, shutting out the Lions in the second half to cruise to a 10-5 victory.

Senior attack Kate Spinks picked up where she left off last season topping the scoring charts for the Patriots with four goals and one assist. 

Junior midfielder Ava Simonton had two goals to go along with an assist, and teammate M.J. Timpanaro found the back of the cage twice.

The Patriots looked to build on Monday’s momentum when they traveled to Sachem East Wednesday, March 27, but the result was not available at press time.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After narrowly winning their first two nonleague season openers against Mattituck 6-5 and Rocky Point 5-4, Middle Country opened their league season opener at home against Half Hollow Hills Tuesday, March 26, looking to make it three in a row. Hills served notice early on this would be no walk in the park peppering the scoreboard with four unanswered goals by the halftime break. 

It was Tyler Diaz’s third-quarter score that breathed new life into the Mad Dogs to trail 4-1, but that’s all the Middle Country offense could muster the rest of the way. Hills lit up the scoreboard in the final two quarters to slam the door for the 14-1 victory in the Division I contest.

Middle Country goalie Logan Hoenig didn’t have a moment’s rest during the final 12 minutes of play, as the junior netted 12 saves on the day.

The Mad Dogs look to get back to their winning ways Saturday morning when they host Patchogue-Medford at 10 a.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Suffolk County Class AA championship final pitted Half Hollow Hills East (No. 2 seed) against top-seeded Smithtown West at Longwood High School March 2 for the right to advance to the Long Island championship round. It was a close game of give-and-take where one point separated the teams at the halftime break, with West leading 21-20. 

Hills East surged ahead in the third quarter to break out to an eight-point advantage at 36-28, but the Bulls battled back to tie the game at 39 all with just under three minutes left in regulation.

Hills East was able to stave off the late-game surge, thanks in part to hitting a 3-pointer in the final minute of the game, to earn a 43-40 victory over the Bulls.

Michael Cascione, a sophomore, topped the scoring chart for the Bulls with 13 points and senior Jack Melore netted nine.

Smithtown West concluded their 2023-24 campaign with an impressive 21-2 record.

Hills East advances to the Long Island championship round to face Elmont Saturday, March 9, at SUNY Farmingdale. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon 

By Bill Landon

It was a sloppily played game with turnovers, missed free throws and shots that just didn’t drop, but the Lady Kingsmen managed to keep the Bayport Mariners at bay when it mattered most in the Suffolk Class A final game March 3. Kings Park (No. 1) defeated Bayport-Blue Point (No. 6) 53-41 at Suffolk County Community College, Selden, and made history as they captured their very first Suffolk title in program history.

The win propels Kings Park to the Long Island championship.

Senior Ryan Currier, the backbone of the Kings Park offense, led the way scoring 22 points with Gianna Zawol adding 13.

The Lady Kingsmen retake the court Sunday, March 10, at SUNY Farmingdale where they’ll square off against Nassau champion Cold Spring Harbor. Tipoff is scheduled for noon.

Tickets can be purchased at: gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI?gender=girls. division. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

Smithtown East senior Ben Haug drives the lane in the Suffolk Class AA semi-finals. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Smithtown East was hoping three times would be the charm when they faced their crosstown rival Smithtown West in the Class AA semifinal round at Longwood High School Feb. 27. East fell to West by 14 points in January, then nine points Feb. 5, and was hoping to upset the No. 1 seed when the score was 14 all at the end of eight minutes of play. Smithtown West showed why they’re the top seed as they stretched their legs the rest of the way running away to win the game 74-47 and, with it, punched their ticket to the county final round.

Ben Rappa along with Michael Cascione topped the scoring chart for Smithtown West netting 16 points apiece, Jack Melore added 14 and Matt Bannell netted 12.

Craig O’Neill led Smithtown East in scoring with 11 points, Ben Haug netted nine and Tom Fanning added eight.

Smithtown West (No.1) returns to Longwood High School Saturday, March 2, where they will face Half Hollow Hills East (No. 2) in the county championship title round. Game time is slated for 2:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

It was Neelesh Raghurama’s long-range shooting prowess that powered the Patriots (No. 9) over the Wolverines (No. 8) with four triples and five field goals for a team high 22 points, leading Ward Melville in a 62-38 win over host Newfield in the opening round of Suffolk AAA playoff action Feb. 21. 

Newfield stayed within striking distance trailing by eight points to open the second half but struggled to gain traction against a potent Patriot offensive press in the final 16 minutes of play.

Rounding out the scoring for the Patriots were Devin Lynch with 14 points and Lorenzo Beaton netted 12.

Josh Hayes topped the scoring chart for the Wolverines with 12 points.

Newfield concludes its 2023-24 basketball campaign with a 10-6 league record, 12-8 overall.

Undefeated Bay Shore ended Ward Melville’s run with a 60-40 win in the quarterfinals Feb. 23. The Patriots took home a 9-7 league record, 12-10 overall.

By Bill Landon

It was the elite 11 cheerleading teams who made it to the Suffolk County finals at Sachem East High School Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Class A and coed competitions looking to punch their ticket to the state championship round next month.

Centereach High School team dazzled the fans in their 2 1/2 minute routine followed by Commack in front of a capacity crowd. Smithtown East took to the mat for their time in the spotlight in a spirited routine clearly happy with their performance.

Ward Melville stole the show in the coed division with an inspiring demonstration scoring 92.6 to capture the Section XI crown and with it will make the journey to the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for the state finals March 2. 

By Bill Landon

When the Ward Melville Patriots traveled to winless Central Islip, it was a different kind of basketball game. It was clear three minutes in that the Patriots would prevail, but head coach Alex Piccirillo pulled most of his starters and throttled the offensive pressure. Leading by 13 points at 17-4 after the first quarter, Ward Melville ran down the 35-second shot clock to single digits the rest of the way so as not to run up the score.

The Patriots easily closed out the game with a 46-26 victory in the Feb. 1 Division I matchup.

Neelesh Raghurama drained four triples and a field goal for 14 points and Devin Lynch added 10. Luke Kordic netted seven points, Logan Seta and Lorenzo Beaton banked four points apiece.

After beating visiting Longwood 54-51 Feb. 5, the Patriots (now 8-6 league) find themselves in fourth place with two games remaining before playoff season begins.  

— Photos by Bill Landon