By Bill Landon
The Northport boys’ basketball team stayed within striking distance, but couldn’t disrupt Lindenhurst’s rhythm in the last two minutes, falling 60-52 Jan. 15.
“I was proud of their effort,” Northport head coach Andrew D’Eloia said of his team. “We didn’t lose because of a lack of effort, we got beat by a team who hit some shots down the stretch.”
After a slow start, Northport found its first lead of the game when junior Justin Carrano muscled his way to the rim to bring the score to 12-11 with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
Northport’s Kevin Cryer-Hassett and teammate Vin DeCeglia both scored from three-point land. The senior guards helped close out the quarter with the Tigers out front, 18-13.
With 4:49 left in the half, the Bull Dogs drained a pair of their own from long distance, as Shane Webster and Tyler Manger trimmed the deficit to 24-21.
Ryan Magnuson let his three-pointer fly to put Northport ahead 27-21. Sophomore Ian Melamerson’s shot found the rim next, and Cryer-Hassett tacked on two free-throw points for a 31-28 lead at halftime.
Lindenhurst made it a new game a minute into the second half when Manger hit his second three-pointer of the game to make it even at 31-31. Both teams traded points and Northport was able to hold the lead for most of the quarter.
Scoring twice from the paint, DeCeglia was fouled on his second basket, sending him to the charity stripe for a bonus point. He swished his opportunity for the three-point play, Carrano added three more and senior Connor Widmaier found the rim for a three-point lead.
Lindenhurst answered with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to make it a new game, tied 41-41, heading into the final eight minutes of play.
With 2:49 left in regulation, DeCeglia drove the lane and scored to retake the lead for his team, 49-48, but Lindenhurst answered right back scoring two and went to the free-throw line, converting a three-point play.
“Their best player, [Arthur] Brzozkas, scored 27 points and he made plays down the stretch and that was [the game changer],” D’Eloia said. “The ball went in for them and it didn’t for us, and that was really the difference.”
Northport ran into some foul trouble, and Lindenhurst spent quality time at the charity stripe, banking five of six free throws to edge ahead 56-49 with 29 seconds left in regulation.
Cryer-Hassett drained a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to make it a four-point game, but the Tigers didn’t come any closer.
DeCeglia led his team in scoring with 13 points, Cryer-Hassett followed with 11, and Carrano and Magnuson added 10 points each. With the loss Northport drops to 3-3 in League II and 5-6 overall, and will travel to face Walt Whitman on Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m.
“Our guys left their heart out on the court,” D’Eloia said, “and that’s all you can ask for.”