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Boys Basketball

Having lost the first three nonleague season games and a league loss two days earlier, Kings Park looked to get back to their winning ways with a road game against the Panthers of Miller Place Thursday afternoon.

Despite trailing after the first eight minutes of play, the Kingsmen sparked to life in the second quarter to take a 17-point lead into the halftime break. Thomas Matonti caught fire with his three-point shooting prowess, draining five triples in the League 5 matchup.

The Panthers struggled in the second half with Kings Park’s swarming defense and unrelenting press, falling 63-32 in the Dec. 14 contest.

The Kings Park senior co-captains peppered the scoreboard with Matonti at the top of the chart with 21 points, John Flynn banking 13 and Joe Romano netting 10.

Nick Frusco carried the flag for the Panthers with five field goals and five from the free throw line, and Matthew Cirrito notched six.

The win lifted Kings Park to 1-1 in division play as they handed the Panthers their first loss of this early season.

Both teams retook the court Tuesday night, with the Kingsmen besting Sayville 47-35. Miller Place fell again against Harborfields, losing the contest 52-49.

— Photos by Bill Landon 

Rocky Point forward Max Wignall shoots in a non-league matchup against Shoreham-Wading River. Photo by Bill Landon

With an injury-riddled starting lineup, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats had their hands full in a road game against Rocky Point where the Eagles defense was able to hold the Wildcats at bay. The Eagles offense pressed for all 32 minutes to win the nonleague matchup 55-40, Monday night Dec. 11.

Rocky Point guard Casmere Morrow topped the scoring chart for the Eagles with 17 points and forward Max Wignall added 13.

Shoreham-Wading River senior Gordon Votruba led the way for the Wildcats netting 11 points.

The win lifts the Eagles to 2-0.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-4. They will desperately need their bench to get healthy and will have to be at full song to make a postseason bid.

Shoreham-Wading River senior Alex Makarewicz battles his way to the rim in a road game against Centereach. Photo by Bill Landon

The Cougars of Centereach opened their season when they hosted the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats (0-2) where both teams looked to put a “W” in the win column in a nonleague matchup Tuesday night Dec. 5.

Shoreham-Wading River had lost to Smithtown Christian and Hampton Bays to begin their season. Although the Wildcats had a 10-point advantage in the final minute of play, the Cougars closed the gap in the timeout-riddled final 20 seconds, where Shoreham escaped with a 42-38 victory.

Centereach retakes the court Dec. 9 when they host their crosstown rival Newfield before league play begins Dec. 12.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 1-2 with two more nonleague matchups before they hit the road to take on Port Jefferson to begin league play Dec. 21.

— Photos by Bill Landon

All photos by Steven Zaitz

Sometimes the third time is not the charm.

The Commack boys basketball team, bidding for its first Suffolk County AA Championship in school history, lost to the Brentwood Indians on Saturday night, 68-46. The game was played in front of about 1,500 fans at Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Arena.

Despite having beaten Brentwood twice in the regular season, Commack could not close the deal and found themselves down by 10 points just five minutes into the game. They never fully recovered.

The Indians clogged up passing lanes and caused myriad turnovers that led to easy baskets, as sophomore guard Jeremiah Webb and junior forward Marquese Dennis led Brentwood with 14 points each. Junior guard Tyrell Davender had 13.

Commack, who came into the final game having beaten top-seeded Smithtown West in the semifinals, cut the lead from 12 to 6 in the final two minutes of the first half. But they could not seize upon that momentum coming out of the tunnel to start the third period.

The Cougars mustered only a single point in the first five minutes of the second half until Cougar guard Mike Gitz hit a three-pointer from the wing. But during this stretch, Brentwood had built a 38-22 lead. And when 5-foot-10 guard Josh Ramos from Brentwood rattled in a long ball from the right corner with four and a half left in the game, the Commack stands began to empty. The score was 51-29 in favor of the Indians.

Gitz led the Cougars with 16 but most of those came when the game was out of reach for Commack. Star guard Nick Waga was held to two field goals and just six points on the evening.

It was the fourth Suffolk AA crown for head coach Anthony Jimenez and Brentwood since 2014. Usually a highly seeded team, the seventh-ranked Indians had to knock off No. 2 Bayshore and No. 3 Bellport to reach the final. They finished with an overall record of 17-7. Commack finishes at 20-4.

Pictured clockwise from above, Cougars’ Nick Waga drives to hole but is called for an offensive foul; Commack’s Mike Gitz; and Cougars’ Chris McHugh (34) goes in for a contested layup as Freddy Diogene defends.

The Commack Cougars boys basketball team continued their march to the Suffolk County AA championship by beating the top-seeded Smithtown West Bulls in the semi-final round on Tuesday night at neutral site Longwood High School. The final score was 48-43.

Commack senior center Ethan Meisel led the Cougars with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and he tied the score with a layup with two minutes left in the game after Smithtown West had been up by as many as 10.

But Commack, the fourth seed, outscored West 22-7 over the final 13 minutes of the game, and key free throws down the stretch by senior guard Mike Gitz after a gigantic offensive rebound by senior power forward Chris McHugh, with 10 seconds remaining in the game, sealed the win for Commack. Junior guard Nick Waga, who appeared to be seriously injured with 2 minutes and 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, reentered the game to help close out the contest. Waga scored 10 points and handled the crunch-time pressure that West applied in their desperate attempts to create late-game turnovers.

The Bulls were again without superstar center Patrick Burke who dislocated his knee against Northport earlier this month and this gave Meisel, McHugh and forward Matt Rosenoff to freely operate in and around both their offensive and defensive baskets.

West senior guard Jack Melore scored 15 for the Bulls but missed on all four of his three-point shots in the second half. Brothers Lorenzo and Ben Rappa combined for 20 points in the losing effort.

Commack will attempt to win the county crown in the program’s history when they take on seventh-seeded Brentwood, who knocked off third-seeded Bellport, 63-59, earlier in the day. The AA Championship game will be held at Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. The winner will take on the Small School Champion, who is yet to be determined.

The Pierson Whalers seemed to have the measure of Port Jefferson in the Suffolk County Class C championship round, yet the Royals made some defensive takeaways late in the third quarter, closing the gap to just one point.

Conor Daily’s long-distance shooting kept the Royals in the game, and the junior scored a team high of 23 points, which included seven three-pointers. Teammate Luke Dickhuth drove the lane all game, battling down low for 15 points. Jack Keegan also banked 10, but Pierson was able to weather the late-game surge and hold on for the 58-52 victory at St. Joseph’s Danzi Athletic Center on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Andrew Miller scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Northport Tigers boys basketball team defeated the Centereach Cougars 58-45 on Tuesday night in their opening round Suffolk County playoff game.

The Tigers played a stifling brand of defense and had too much size for the visiting Cougars, who were limited to six points in the second quarter and nine points in the third. Northport dominated the glass, outrebounding Centereach 44-29 for the game.

The Cougars had no answer for Miller, and they tried to guard him with a rotation of different players, each having little luck against the 6’4” bruising senior. Miller dominated the painted area, slicing and dicing his way to easy layups. Northport senior guard Brendan Carr had 14 points, including six big ones in the fourth quarter. 

The Tigers enjoyed a double-digit lead for most of the game, but when Cougar guard Christopher Buzaid hit a three pointer midway through the fourth quarter, Centereach cut the Northport lead to eight. It would be the closest the Cougars would get — as baskets by Miller, Carr and sophomore Owen Boylan gave the Tigers a 54-37 lead with two minutes to go in the contest.

Senior guard Evan Grant led Centereach with 11 points and Buzaid had 10.

In a Battle of the Ports, Northport will battle the Bellport Clippers on Friday, Feb. 17, in the Suffolk County quarterfinal round at Bellport. 

The Cougar season ends with a mark of 13-8 overall and 10-6 in league play.

The Hauppauge Eagles peppered the scoreboard in the opening round of the Suffolk A championship round in a road game against Comsewogue, nailing five three-pointers before the Warriors could answer. Comsewogue limped into the second half trailing by 17 points — a deficit from which they could not recover. Hauppauge cruised to victory to win the post season opener, 71-53, Feb. 13.  

Sophomore Cole Wood was the spark for the Eagles offense, draining five three-pointers, five field goals and four from the charity stripe for 29 points. Mark Petre, a senior, followed with 20 points. and Matt Neglia netted eight. 

Comsewogue senior Hayden Morris-Gray topped the scoring chart for the Warriors with 21 points. Teammates Colin Strohm banked 13, and Austin Nesbitt and Chris Beverly netted eight points apiece. 

Comsewogue concludes their 22-23 campaign with a 12-4 league record, 15-6 overall. 

The Eagles (No. 11 seed) live to fight another day where they play another road game against Mount Sinai (No. 3 seed) Feb. 16. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. 

The Ward Melville Patriots looked for a much-needed win against Centereach in a League II matchup at home, but the Cougars were able to keep the Patriots at bay, snatching a 57-53 victory Friday, Jan. 27.

Ward Melville, trailing by nine points to open the second half, were able to trim the deficit by one point late in the game, but the Cougar defense was able to thwart the threat. 

Senior Derek Zhang topped the scoring charts for the Cougars with 14 points, and senior Christopher Buzaid netted 13. 

Lorenzo Beaton scored 17 points for the Patriots, and Devin Lynch banked 13. 

The win lifts the Cougars to 8-5 in the division, securing a playoff berth. The loss drops the Patriots to 5-7 with four games remaining before postseason play begins. 

The Cougars retake the court Feb. 4 with a road game against crosstown rival Newfield at 11:15 a.m. Ward Melville will take on Longwood during a road game on Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.

The Bulls of Smithtown East (7-4) needed a win to secure a postseason appearance when they hosted Centereach (7-4) but they fell behind by seven points at the halftime break.

Smithtown East senior Benjiman Haug, however, provided the necessary spark in the third quarter, putting his team out front. The Bulls never looked back, winning the contest, 58-48, in this Division II matchup Monday, Jan. 23. 

Haug finished with 22 points, and teammates James Burton and Dominic Galati netted 12 and 11, respectively.  

Centereach senior Tim McCarthy topped the scoring chart for the Cougars with 10 field goals, a three-pointer and four free throws for 27 points. 

The win lifts Smithtown East to 8-4 in league, 11-4 overall. The loss drops the Cougars to 7-5 with four games remaining before postseason play begins.