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Central Islip High School

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The Ward Melville Patriots boys basketball team dusted off the cobwebs in their season opener at home where they hosted Central Islip in a League I matchup Feb. 12. Trailing by three to open the second half, the Patriot offense sprang to life led in part by senior Ben Shank and Tommy Ribaudo, a junior, outscoring CI by 12 points giving up six in the fourth to win the game, 63-60.

Shank and Ribaudo topped the scoring chart with 18 points apiece, senior Jason Flynn banked seven, juniors Tommy Engel tacked on six, and Frank Carroll banked five. 

Ward Melville head coach Alex Piccirillo said the key to the game was patience.  

“We knew that if we could that if we could slow the pace down and take care of the basketball that we would win the game,” Piccirillo said. “We knew that if we could box out one more time (in the final minute), we would win on the rebound. We’d get on the free throw line and ice the game from there.”

Ice the game they did.

With a COVID-19 shortened season, Piccirillo was grateful that his team would see any playing time this season.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all of our administration at Section XI for allowing us the opportunity to get back on the court, with all of the safety measures in place and allow us to get this done for the kids it’s an amazing opportunity for them,” said the coach. 

With the abbreviated season, the Patriots will play their remaining six games in eleven days-time before playoff season begins Feb. 26.