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Bill Landon

Center Moriches sputtered against the swarming defense of Shoreham-Wading River during a non-league basketball game on Monday, Nov. 28.

The Wildcats took a 14-point lead by halftime. Seniors Sophie Costello topped the scoring chart for the Wildcats with 17 points, GraceAnn Leonard banked 13 and Colleen Ohrtman netted 8 in the 50-31 home victory. 

The Wildcats notched their second win in as many games with three more non-league contests to go. They’ll face Sachem East, Newfield and William Floyd before league play begins. 

The Wildcats open their league season on Tuesday, Dec. 13, when they host Hampton Bays at 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

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It was a low scoring ground and pound football game where the Patriots of Ward Melville (No. 4) came knocking on William Floyd’s door the No. 1 seed looking to upset the undefeated Colonials in the Suffolk Div I semi-final Nov. 12. Floyd struck first on a 53-yard pass play 3 minutes before the halftime break but the Patriots quarterback Andrew Belli punched in on a 14 yarder with 5:16 left in the 3rd quarter to even the score. With less than four minutes left in regulation Ward Melville senior running back Nick Gaffney answered the call scoring on a 13-yard run and with Brody Morgans foot, put the Patriots out front 14-7. 

Ward Melville capitalized on a Floyd miscue and took over on the 40-yard line. Protecting the ball and needing a first down the Patriots let the clock bleed out to advance to the final round. 

The win lifts the Patriots to 8-3 and will face Longwood the No. 3 seed, at Stony Brook University Saturday Nov. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for high noon. Tickets can be purchased at: NYSPHSAA – Section XI Events and Tickets by GoFan.

 Photos by Bill Landon

The Mattituck Tuckers hoped to avenge their first loss of the season in the Class C Suffolk County Championship at Hauppauge High School on Monday, Nov. 7.

Mattituck won the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-21. On track for a shutout win, the Lady Royals rallied and won the following two sets 25-17, forcing a final and decisive game five. 

Port Jeff broke out to an 11-7 lead in a game where 15 points would win. But Mattituck, the no. 1 seed, wouldn’t go quietly, fighting back with ferocity. 

Yet Port Jeff would go on to put the game away, 15-12, ending Mattituck’s season and advancing to the Long Island Championship round. 

Junior Olivia Sherman had 18 kills, a service ace, and 10 digs. Teammate Erin Henry killed 15, and dug out 24, along with three aces. 

The Lady Royals retake the court Thursday, Nov. 10, when they face Oyster Bay at Hauppauge High School. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

In the Div. IV quarterfinal round of the postseason, the 4-3 Miller Place Panthers came knocking on the door of the 4-3 Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 4.

Miller Place, the fifth seed, looked to avenge its season-opening 3-point defeat at the hands of the Wildcats back in early September. And avenge it they did.

Miller Place running back Joell Spagnuolo rose to the occasion with a four-touchdown, 248-yard performance that powered the Panthers to victory, 35-28, while on the road.

Shoreham-Wading River wide receiver Will Hart caught two touchdown passes — one for 45 and the other for 23 yards — from quarterback Dylan Zahn.

The victory sends the Panthers to the semifinal round, where the team will face undefeated Bayport-Blue Point in another road game on Friday, Nov. 11. Admission tickets can be purchased here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI.

The Cougars of Centereach had their hands full when they hosted Newfield, their cross-town rival, trailing 22-0 at the halftime break. 

Newfield’s JJ Deliat punched in from short yardage, as did Kenny Petit-Frere, then Payne Weinhauer picked off a pass for the interception and went 43 yards for the score. 

Centereach senior quarterback Riddick Drab broke the ice for the Cougars on the opening play of the third quarter, finding the endzone to remove the goose egg from the scoreboard. 

Newfield receiver Dylan Smith answered back, catching an 8-yard pass from quarterback Matt Evers followed by an 11-yarder to take a commanding lead.

In this Div. II matchup on Saturday, Oct. 29, Drab scored on a 31-yard run in the 4th quarter. But that was all the Cougars could muster, falling 35-12 to conclude both teams’ 2022 campaigns.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Looking to avenge their five-set loss to Babylon just two weeks earlier, the Lady Royals of Port Jefferson did just that in the Class C semifinals on Friday, Oct. 28.

The Royals swept the Panthers in three straight sets, 25-18, 25-15, 25-22.

The victory lifts the team’s record to 15-3 on the season. Port Jefferson, the No. 2 seed, advances to the final championship round when the team takes on the top-seeded Mattituck on Monday, Nov. 7, at Hauppauge High School.

The first service is set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

After a deadlocked score at halftime, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats rattled off three unanswered scores in the third quarter, surging ahead at home against the Mustangs of Mount Sinai on Friday, Oct. 21. 

Senior quarterback Dylan Zahn hit wide receiver Kieran Clifford on a 63-yard pass for the touchdown at the 8:27 mark. Zahn then connected with Liam Kershis for the 33-yard play that went the distance for the score six minutes later. 

With 0:17 left in the quarter, Kershis punched in on short yardage to put the Wildcats out front 38-17. Shoreham-Wading River kicker Sean Palmer was perfect on the night, splitting the uprights seven times, one of which was a 24-yard field goal attempt. 

Mount Sinai senior running back Jake Spallina answered back, finding the endzone on short yardage to cut the deficit to 38-23 with eight minutes left. Kershis, who rushed for 121 yards on 14 carries, broke free, covering 27 yards for the score to put his team ahead 45-23 with 3 minutes left in regulation. 

Mount Sinai senior quarterback Jaden Rotella threw deep to wide receiver Drew Feinstein for a 73-yard pass for the score. Feinstein then capped off the drive by running it in on the two-point conversion to trail 45-31, which was the final score. 

Zahn completed 22 of 30 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. 

The win lifts the Wildcats to 4-3 on the season, with postseason play kicking off Friday, Nov. 4.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Tuckers of Mattituck came knocking on Port Jeff’s door Monday, Oct. 17, sitting atop the League VIII leaderboard undefeated at 12-0. 

Looking to make it 13 in a row, the Tuckers met their match as the second-place Royals had other ideas of their own.

Port Jeff got out to a slow start, dropping the first set 25-17, but battled back in the second set to edge the Tuckers 25-22. The two juggernauts wowed the crowd, sustaining numerous extended volleys showcasing both teams’ talent. 

The Royals took the third set in convincing fashion, winning it 25-17. With their backs against the wall, Mattituck traded points with Port Jeff throughout the fourth set, then called timeout trailing 24-23. 

But the Royals closed out solidly, putting the game away 25-23 and handing Mattituck its first loss of the season with just two games remaining. 

Postseason play will begin Monday, Oct. 24.

— Photos by Bill Landon

For the Centereach Cougars, it was a low-scoring battle during a League II road game against Connetquot on Friday, Oct. 14

Connetquot struck first, coming out to a 1-0 lead just 23 minutes into the first half. But Centereach senior co-captain Lauren Hoppe’s foot evened the score with a solo shot in the closing minutes. Following the equalizer, time ran out, and the contest resulted in a draw.

Keeper Gabrielle Hirsch made six saves in net. At 6-2-2, the Cougars will have their hands full on Tuesday, Oct. 18, during their upcoming road game against undefeated Ward Melville. This matchup will be their regular season finale, one last test before postseason play begins. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Comsewogue Warriors battled for four quarters on Friday, Oct. 8, during a Div. III matchup against the visiting Deer Park Falcons.

Comsewogue quarterback Kaeden West put his team on the scoreboard, punching in a 2-yard run for the touchdown with four minutes left in the first half. Gavin Dandrea’s successful point-after attempt put the Warriors out front 7-6. Running back Daimler Valerio then stretched the lead late in the third quarter with a 9-yard TD run. 

The Warriors were up 14-6 when the Falcons began generating offense of their own. Deer Park answered back with a 30-yard touchdown pass. After an impressive goalline stand during the two-point conversion attempt, Comsewogue held a 14-12 lead. 

With nine minutes left in regulation, Deer Park’s Hunter Lovinsky broke two tackles and went the distance, clearing 75 yards for the score. Though the Falcons retook the lead 18-14, their two-point conversion attempt failed again. 

Comsewogue moved the chains in its final drive, but a Deer Park sack in the last minute derailed the late-game Warrior surge. The loss drops Comsewogue to 0-5.

The team will search for that elusive first win in its homecoming game against Eastport South Manor on Saturday, Oct. 15. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon