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Brentwood

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Ward Melville deflated following a Brentwood score that unbalanced a 0-0 stalemate, and with the 2-0 loss on the boys’ soccer team’s home turf Sept. 19, the Patriots slipped under .500, falling to 2-3 in League I.

“I think that we let down a little bit once we were scored on, and that’s something we’re looking to change,” Ward Melville head coach Jon Stecker said. “Having a young team — we want them to grow in those areas. I don’t think they were out of the game, and I think we could’ve come back at 1-0, but at 2-0 I think we gave up a bit.”

He also doesn’t believe his team capitalized on its opportunities.

Anthony Cassano stops a pass a midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Anthony Cassano stops a pass a midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities in soccer — it’s one of the sports unlike basketball or football,” Stecker said. “[Brentwood] had it a couple of times and they were able to finish, which is pretty indicative of how they play. We definitely need to take advantage more of those opportunities if we’re going to win games.”

Ward Melville sophomore goalkeeper Caleb Rosenthal made three big stops to preserve the clean sheet in the first half, but his team’s offense struggled to take shots.

“It was a rough game,” he said. “We played pretty well, but there was a 10-minute lapse and they put two in on us and that was it.”

He admitted he was nervous coming into the game, but helped hold it down on the defensive side of the ball to maintain the 0-0 score heading into the second half.

“Brentwood is a good team, very competitive — but you have to keep your head straight and stay motivated,” he said. “It’s wet, so you really have to control the through balls, but I think we needed more through balls on the ground to be able to run into them, and more combination play.”

Conor Long sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Conor Long sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Rosenthal made a leaping save when he tipped the ball away with less than 25 minutes left to play, but five minutes later, as he came out of the box to make a save, the ball was passed up top to a forward who shot the ball into an empty net.

“I saw the ball go through and I was a little slow to react to it, so I tried to make up the space, but he was able to play it through and he was onside,” Rosenthal said. “So he got lucky there.”

At the 14:54 mark, Brentwood beat out Ward Melville’s defense up top, as the boys backed up, and the opposition beat out Rosenthal with a shot to the left corner for a 2-0 edge.

“It hurts a lot,” said junior forward and outside midfielder Harry Radke, who played outside back for much of the game. “It takes a lot out of you after you’ve put in all that work, but we just have to rebound after that, and we didn’t do that today. We slacked at some points and that hurt us.”

Like Rosenthal, Radke said the team needs to improve its combinations while switching the ball more and communicating as a unit to help the team grow this season.

Senior forward Jared Lee said he agreed that his team collapsed once the first goal went in, but added that the time spent in the Patriots’ zone didn’t help.

“We spent too much energy playing defense,” he said, “and we didn’t have enough energy to get back up the field.”

Being one of the lone senior starters, Lee has his plate full leading his team on the field during gameplay, and standing as an example to show his teammates where the rest of them should strive to be.

Jared Lee avoids a trip as he regains possession of the ball at midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jared Lee avoids a trip as he regains possession of the ball at midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“He is the best player that I’ve ever had in the last 20 years that I’ve been here,” Stecker said of Lee. “He just conducts himself with 100 percent class all the time, he gives 100 percent, he doesn’t open his mouth; he’s the epitome of a class player. I’d like to do better for him. He just gives us everything he has, and he’s phenomenal.”

Lee battled up top all afternoon, and had several close looks, but Brentwood’s defense double and triple-teamed him to kept him away from the box for most of the game.

“We need to keep the same mentality through the whole game,” Lee said. “And not get let down if we let up a goal.”

The Patriots have made the playoffs nearly every year over the last 20 years, according to Stecker, who hopes to put the team on a new trajectory to get them the postseason experience it so desperately needs.

“We do think [the Patriots are] going to be a much better team in October,” Stecker said. “Due to the fact that we really only have one or two seniors starting — there is a maturity aspect there — but again, everyone steps on the field, everyone has a heart, so they should be giving 100 percent, there’s no excuses.”

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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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Taylor Tripptree races ahead of the pack and drives the lane for the layup in the Patriots' 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With 10 players contributing to the score and more than half the points coming from three-pointers alone, the Ward Melville girls’ basketball team had no problem cruising to a 56-18 win over William Floyd Tuesday.

“We worked well together,” junior guard Hannah Lorenzen said. “We really stepped up our defense, and we have a lot of shooting guards that can make threes; we did that pretty well today.”

Kira Sells nails one of her four three-pointers on the evening in the Patriots' 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kira Sells nails one of her four three-pointers on the evening in the Patriots’ 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Patriots started the game off by scoring eight straight points, with senior forward Heidi Scarth scoring half of them. The team was stealing passes and forcing William Floyd turnovers, but the Colonials bounced back to score five straight points.

Ward Melville re-extended its lead by the end of the first quarter, with senior guard Kira Sells and junior guard and forward Taylor Tripptree knocking down a three-pointer apiece to give their team a commanding 14-5 lead.

“It’s definitely one of our strongest points to our game,” Sells said of scoring three-pointers. “I know I could do better. So I’m just working on getting better every game.”

Sells did do one better, though.

After Shannon Berry banked three field goals to swing the tempo of the game, Sells swished two more treys to help her team further its lead to 30-10 by halftime.

Lorenzen said her teammates did a good job of passing outside if they couldn’t enter the paint.

“It does help a lot, because if we can’t penetrate through the paint, we can kick it and depend on our shooting guards to make the threes, which helps us get ahead,” she said.

But Ward Melville head coach Bruce Haller said a team that wants to go up against the best-of-the-best in Suffolk County, like Brentwood, Longwood, Sachem East and the county-best Commack, would need to play with a more balanced attack.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “The three is a great weapon, but if you fall too much in love with it and your three isn’t going in that particular game, now what? It’s all or nothing. That’s why we’re focusing on getting the ball inside a little more and getting some second shots. When those threes get missed, someone needs to be hitting the board from the weak side to get some putbacks.”

Hannah Lorenzen remains in control as she sets up a play in the Patriots' 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Hannah Lorenzen remains in control as she sets up a play in the Patriots’ 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

What did work for the team, though, was getting enough ahead that more bench players were able to see minutes.

“The kids work really hard in practice all the time and it’s nice to get them out on the court, get them some playing time and have them make some shots,” he said. “We have a very talented, deep group.”

Six of the 10 players that scored on that deep roster banked trifectas, and 31 of the team’s total points came from the five bench players that scored.

Bre Cohn and Maggie Zanone came off the bench in the fourth to score six points and three points, respectively, while stealing passes and dishing assists to close out the scoring for the game.

“We’re all close on and off the court,” Lorenzen said. “We have classes together, eat lunch together — so we’re all friends.”

Haller said his team has come a long way, making the decision to come together and step up to replace the injured freshman leading scorer from last year’s team: Lauren Hansen.

“They could have felt sorry for themselves,” he said. “Instead, a number of players are stepping up and taking over responsibilities or a bit of a different role that we didn’t anticipate them having in the preseason, and they’ve done a good job of it. Instead, they decided that they’re going to make a run for this thing.”

Huntington's co-captains Carlos Rivera, Wilber Parada and Olvin Palma set up a play during the Blue Devils' 1-0 Class AA quarterfinal loss to Brentwood on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington's Jayvin Coto leaps up to head the ball in the No. 4-ranked Blue Devils' 1-0 loss to No. 1 Brentwood in the quarterfinal round of the Class AA playoffs on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington’s Jayvin Coto leaps up to head the ball in the No. 4-ranked Blue Devils’ 1-0 loss to No. 1 Brentwood in the quarterfinal round of the Class AA playoffs on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Huntington had several strategies to score a goal, but none of them paid off on Monday. The Blue Devils had difficulty getting shots early and often enough, and the No. 4-seeded boys’ soccer team fell to No. 1 Brentwood, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs.

“They played hard,” Huntington head coach John Pagano said of his team. “They played with the No. 2 team in the state and the difference was one shot.”

Blue Devils sophomore goalkeeper Nat Amato made most of his seven saves in the first half to keep the teams in a stalemate heading into halftime, but Brentwood only needed to make two stops on their end to record the Indians’ 14th shutout of the season.

With 16 minutes remaining in the game, Brentwood scored off a through ball. With the Indians forward in the corner, Amato came to the right side of the box and a Huntington defender dove but missed redirecting the ball. The Brentwood player then crossed it between Amato and another Huntington defender, who was guarding the opposite corner of the net, to break the draw.

Huntington's Marlon Licona regains possession of the ball in the Blue Devils' zone during the team's 1-0 Class AA semifinal loss to Brentwood on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington’s Marlon Licona regains possession of the ball in the Blue Devils’ zone during the team’s 1-0 Class AA semifinal loss to Brentwood on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan

In the last 10 minutes, the Blue Devils continued to pressure and push into the Indians’ zone, leaving it all out on the field, but they couldn’t get a good attempt at a goal.

With 5:20 remaining, senior midfielder and co-captain Wilber Parada rushed the ball from the corner to the box, but no one could knock it in — it floated across the front of the net.

“There was no quit,” Pagano said. “They played until the last whistle. We had several scoring chances at the end and the game could’ve easily gone either way. I’m very proud of them.”

Huntington ended the season with a 15-2-2 overall record and a 10-2-2 mark in League III. The Blue Devils will graduate 18 seniors from the roster at the end of this school year, including co-captains Carlos Rivera, a forward, and Olvin Palma, a midfielder.

“It’s been gratifying,” Pagano said of coaching his departing leaders. “It was a pleasure coaching these boys, but it’s going to be sad to see them leave.”

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Ward Melville
Ward Melville junior midfielder Madison Hobbes is chased for the ball in the Patriots' 6-0 shut out of Brentowod on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior midfielder Madison Hobbes is chased for the ball in the Patriots’ 6-0 shut out of Brentowod on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After a slow start, and leading 2-0 at the end of 40 minutes, the Ward Melville girls’ soccer team leaned on its bench in the second half to overpower Brentwood and put the game away, 6-0.

“I was happy with our play in the first five to 10 minutes when we scored quick, but we fell into a lull — thinking we were going to have an easy game,” Ward Melville head coach John Diehl said. “I didn’t like our performance for most of the first half, but we picked it up midway through the second.”

Ward Melville sophomore forward Kerri Liucci opened the scoring four minutes in when she broke free of defenders and shot from the left side, beating the keeper to the right corner for the score.

Junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery struck next off a corner kick, to help the Patriots edge ahead, 2-0.

Ward Melville senior forward and co-captain Ciara Guglielmo stops the ball to gain possession at midfield in the Patriots' 6-0 blanking of Brentwood on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior forward and co-captain Ciara Guglielmo stops the ball to gain possession at midfield in the Patriots’ 6-0 blanking of Brentwood on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

“We had good possession today — we really stepped it up even though we had a considerable lead,” Raftery said. “But it was a much better effort in that second half.”

Diehl said he decided to start some players in the second half who don’t normally start and don’t receive as much playing time.

“They came in and did a great job,” he said. “They did what we wanted, because we needed a change in the second half.”

Raftery opened the second half with her second goal of the game, after leaping in the air and heading a corner kick past the keeper with authority, for a three-goal advantage.

“I’m designated to go to the net for every corner [kick],” Raftery said. “It was a cross from Ciara Guglielmo and I was able to head it in. It’s a set play for us and we practice it all the time.”

On a crossing pass three minutes later, sophomore midfielder Arianna Barbieri passed to junior midfielder Hannah Hobbes, who buried her shot.

Ward Melville junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery, who had two goals in the Patriots' 6-0 win at Brentwood on Oct. 5, heads the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery, who had two goals in the Patriots’ 6-0 win at Brentwood on Oct. 5, heads the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

“I got a great cross and I just tapped it in,” Hobbes said. “We had a better second half with better possession and good passing.”

With just over 20 minutes left to play, it was Guglielmo, a senior forward and co-captain’s turn, as she drove a teammate’s rebound off a save from the Brentwood goalkeeper back at the net, and this time, in, for the 5-0 lead.

“I thought we had great possession on a grass field, because we usually don’t play on grass,” Guglielmo said. “It’s bumpy and a different way of play, so in the second half we got used to the [field] and played to our feet.”

Rounding out the scoring for Ward Melville was junior forward Erin O’Connor, who found the net at the 18:13 mark, to put the game away, 6-0.

With the win, the Patriots improve to 7-1-2 in League I, and will travel to Sachem North Wednesday for a 4:15 p.m. game.

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Photo by Elana Glowatz

A Miller Place official will change his rally colors to purple and white this summer.

The Port Jefferson school board hired Robert Neidig as the district’s new middle school principal on July 28, a couple of months after three-year principal Antonio Santana announced he would not return to the position for the 2015-16 school year.

Neidig, an assistant principal at North Country Road Middle School for the past eight years, will start at Port Jefferson on Aug. 17, a letter to the community from Superintendent Ken Bossert said.

A recent press release from the Port Jefferson school district said Neidig has two master’s degrees from Stony Brook University and a doctorate in educational administration from Dowling College, and started his career as a social studies teacher in Babylon before becoming an administrator.

At Miller Place, he “fostered a positive relationship between the school and community, initiated character education programs to improve the school climate, facilitated the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and served as chairperson for four academic departments,” the press release said.

Until Neidig officially makes the move to Royals country, the middle school has an interim principal, Leonard Bozza, who was once the Longwood High School principal and has previously served in interim roles in Port Jefferson: once as an assistant principal and once as the high school principal.

In addition to appointing the new Port Jefferson Middle School leader, the school board also added Brentwood’s head of speech and hearing, Jodi Cahill, as the new director of special education and Claudia Smith, currently a Middle Country school district staffer, as the elementary and middle school assistant principal.

Cahill has a master’s in speech language pathology from LIU Post and served on Brentwood’s special education committee, the press release said. Smith has been an elementary teacher for 18 years and has a master’s from Dowling College.

“Each was selected based upon outstanding vision, strong content knowledge, and the ability to collaborate with all stakeholders in an effective manner,” Bossert said of the three new staffers.

The district is still looking for an assistant principal for Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, and Bossert said the goal is to have one appointed before school starts.

Neidig, Cahill and Smith are part of a new lineup throughout Port Jefferson schools. In addition to replacing Santana, the district had to find a replacement for Matthew Murphy, the former high school principal, who announced his departure a few months before Santana. Officials recently promoted Christine Austen to the position from her role as the assistant principal for grades pre-k through 12.

Smith is absorbing Austen’s former elementary and middle school duties and the educator who is hired as the high school’s assistant principal will complete that transition.

“This is an exciting time in the Port Jefferson school district,” Bossert said in the press release. “[It is] a time filled with opportunities for growth and development as new leaders join the team.”

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Parents Glenda Corvera and Jose Granados welcome baby Christopher Granados to the world as Patrick Vecchio, supervisor of Smithtown, offers them honorary residence. Photo from Karla Mason

Smithtown’s St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center welcomed a newborn baby only a day after the town marked the beginning of its sesquarcentennial.

Baby Christopher Granados met his parents Glenda Corvera and Jose Granados when he was born March 4 at 8:49 a.m., weighing 8 pounds, 3.4 ounces at birth.

Members of the Smithtown 350 Foundation officially welcomed the infant as the first to be born since the town celebrated its 350th year. Although Christopher was born at a medical facility in Smithtown, the couple who had him are actually residents of Brentwood.

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio (R) awarded the family with honorary lifetime residence in the town of Smithtown during a reception in St. Catherine of Siena’s own St. Luke’s Medical Library.

“Christopher is a star already,” said father Granados.

To further congratulate the family, the couple received a gift basket with baby essentials and $350 for their new son’s savings.

“We are proud of the staff at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center and are happy to be part of the 350th birthday celebration of Smithtown,” said Paul Rowland, St. Catherine’s executive vice president and CAO. “We are all pleased to have the first sesquarcentennial baby here at the hospital and look forward to participating in future events.”