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Miller Place High School

Miller Place senior Zoe Weissman battles at the draw. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Royals of Port Jefferson had their hands full when they hosted the Panthers of Miller Place Friday afternoon, April 26, in a home game in a girls lacrosse matchup. The Royals hoped to use the home field — which is grass, not turf — to their advantage. But the game didn’t play out that way in the Division II matchup.

Port Jeff junior Anna Matvya split the pipes midway through the second quarter to break the ice for her team, but it was little consolation as the Royals trailed 11-1 at the half. Miller Place peppered the scoreboard with seven more goals in the second half with Matvya finding the back of the net thrice more for an impressive four goals as the Royals fell to the Panthers 18-4.

Miller Place attack Mirabella Altebrando had three goals and eight assists with teammate Lyla Coffey netting three times. 

Sophia Ingenito and Casey Gilbert both had two goals and an assist for the Panthers and Angie Efstathiou and Hayden Young had two goals apiece.

Port Jeff goalie Emma Batter had 11 saves.

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 

Loose ball. Bill Landon photo

Being one of the smallest schools in Suffolk County, when the Lady Royals of Port Jeff play an early season nonleague game, they always face a team from a larger school district. This was the case Friday afternoon with a home game against Miller Place. 

Having lost perennial scoring threats to graduation, Port Jeff’s roster features only one senior as the Lady Royals had their hands full, falling to the Panthers 47-22 in the Dec. 8 matchup.

Returning starter Ava Zicchinelli for Miller Place was the offensive spark for the Panthers, leading her team with 14 points followed by Brooke Callaghan, who banked nine. Sophia Ingenito netted seven.

Rose Meliker-Hammock scored three from the floor and three from the free throw line for nine points for the Royals.

Port Jeff (0-2) retakes the court with another nonleague matchup Saturday, Dec. 16, with a road game against West Islip. Game time is scheduled for 10 a.m.

The Panthers (2-4) face one more nonleague matchup at home to Pierson/Bridgehampton Dec. 20 before league play begins with a home game against Harborfields Thursday, Jan. 4, with tipoff at 5:30 p.m.

After edging by Miller Place in the first set having to win by two, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats lost the second set to make it a new match in the League VI matchup.

Squeezing by the Panthers 25-23 in the third set and rallying in the fourth set, the Wildcats were lucky to escape with the 3-1 victory, 28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, on the road Sept. 22.

Senior Giorgia Balza led the way for the Wildcats with 13 kills, a pair of aces and 4 blocks, and teammate Caroline Lange had a block with 4 kills.

Setting the pace for the Panthers was Payton Horan with 13 kills, a service ace and 2 digs along with Olivia Honkanen’s 6 kills 3 service aces and 4 digs.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 2-2, leaving the Panthers searching for that elusive first win.

Both teams are back in action Sept. 28 when the Wildcats host Bayport-Blue Point at 4 p.m. and the Panthers have a road game against nearby Mount Sinai. First service is set for 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

For the second straight year, Kings Park High School hosted the National Football Foundation’s Long Island Quarterback Challenge skills competition. 

The star-studded event, held Sunday, July 23, had no shortage of signal callers from the North Shore. And unlike last year when it was a boys-only event, the girls were also part of the fun.

Commack’s Jeremy Weiss, the reigning champion coming into this year’s competition, finished third this time. He was just behind Smithtown West’s Brayden Stahl, who finished in second place.

The 2023 overall winner was Mustafa Mozawalla of Syosset, who prospered in the classroom as well as the gridiron, completing each throwing drill with panache.

Players from Nassau and Suffolk, including from the Catholic leagues, were eligible to participate. Jake Fields from Smithtown East, Shane Kiernan of Miller Place and Kaeden West from Comsewogue were all part of the field of 16, who were put through their paces on the field as well as the film room.

In addition to second overall, Stahl won the award for accuracy and West had the longest throw of the day, launching a majestic rainbow that rang against the crossbar in the back of the south end zone. It measured 64 yards.

Former NFL quarterback Matt Simms judged the boys as they ran drills in anticipation, arm strength, touch, mobility and football IQ. One of the highlights of the day was when Mozawalla scrambled to his left and, while sprinting to the sideline, threw a 40-yard dart in perfect stride to his receiver who tapped his toes in the back corner of the end zone.

“That was a magnificent throw,” Simms said. “Probably one of the best in the two years since we’ve done this.”

Kiernan and Fields also looked very good in the mobility drills as well as quarterback progressions.

As the sport of flag football has exploded on Long Island, organizers smartly added a contest for the girls — seven out of the 10 contestants were from Suffolk, including Grace Gilmartin and Pixie Ryan, both from Northport, and Taylor Mileti of Hauppauge.

However, it was Jennifer Canarutto of Plainview-Old Bethpage in Nassau who took first prize. Canarutto, who led her team to an undefeated season as well as the New York State championship just two short months ago, beat Alexandra DaEira-Loccisano of Eastport-South Manor and Delaney Israel of Longwood, who finished in second and third place, respectively. 

Many familiar faces came down as receivers for the quarterbacks as Hauppauge Lady Eagles Stephanie Braun, Emma Condos, Meghan Goutink and Melissa O’Connor all caught passes for not only Mileti, but a few of the other contestants who were in need of targets.

Four Northport Lady Tiger pass catchers — Caitlyn Muzyka, Dana Restivo, Caitlyn Ryan and Jamie Weissman — braved the 90-degree heat to support Gilmartin and Ryan. Hauppauge’s head coach Steve Mileti watched his daughter Taylor from the press box as he served as color commentator on the live stream with Newsday’s high school sports editor, Gregg Sarra. Northport head coach Pat Campbell cheered on his sextet of athletes from the sidelines.

Muzyka was awarded “best receiver” on the girls side.

In total, eight quarterbacks and 18 receivers from TBR’s readership area competed on a long, hot, competitive and ultimately successful day.

It was all Miller Place on a rainy Saturday afternoon, April 29, when the Panthers hosted the Smithtown West Bulls in a Div. II matchup.

Miller Place had secured a 7-2 lead by the halftime break. Smithtown West’s struggles continued in the second half, with Miller Place controlling the pace the rest of the way. The Panthers put the game away 15-4.

Mirabella Altebrando led the way for the Panthers with six assists. Olivia Coffey netted four goals while teammates Isabella Luisa and Hayden Young each scored three goals apiece. Natalia Altebrando had eight saves on the day.

Smithtown West’s Jolie Schiavo scored twice for the Bulls, and Ashley Mennella and teammate Laura Luikart both scored.

The win lifts Miller Place to 6-5 in their division, while the Bulls dropped to 5-6 with three games remaining before postseason play begins.

Both teams are back in action Wednesday, May 3, when Miller Place hosts Eastport-South Manor, and Smithtown West hits the road for an away game against Greenport-Southold-Mattituck. Both games begin at 4:00 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Renee Stocken’s bat set the tone early when the senior ripped a grand slam to put the Panthers out front 4-0 in a road game against Riverhead on Saturday, April 8. 

Miller Place, undefeated in the first four games of the season, continued to tack on the runs, putting the game away 11-2 in this non-league matchup. Sophomore Ava Zicchinelli pitched a complete game, striking out 12 batters to help her team improve to 5-0 in League VII. 

The Panthers retake the field Wednesday with a road game against Sayville. Gametime is slated for 5:00 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Student business Sand N’ Shade sold over $170,000 in customized sunglasses, snow goggles, watches and hats at the Long Island Regional Trade Show. Photo courtesy MPSD

Thirty-nine students in Thomas Frank’s Virtual Enterprise class at Miller Place High School excelled at the Long Island Regional Trade Show and Business Plan Competition. 

Students were tasked with either setting up a business to sell their products at a trade show or pitching a business idea to angel investors.

“Our Virtual Enterprise students did an amazing job and were part of a very successful field trip,” Superintendent of Schools Seth Lipshie said. “Everyone who participated represented Miller Place with pride and enthusiasm and exceptional skill.” 

He added, “Congratulations to all of the students who participated at the trade show for the professionalism and passion they demonstrated while promoting their ideas to investors.”

The Deja VR business, set up by student CEO Gianna Benavides, is a virtual reality company that sells headsets with a wide variety of games, sports, music, history and travel options. Gianna’s company took home the silver trophy in the website competition.  

Website creator for Deja VR, Salome Davoudiasl, commented, “the company I am a part of made it entertaining to choose an electric color palette for the website. Once the simple mechanics of our website were evaluated, it became an awesome project to work on throughout the course of the school year.”   

Deja VR, which earned $150,000 at the trade show, placed among the top 10 schools on Long Island in the competition, including 3,000 schools across Nassau, Suffolk County, and New York City.

The Sand N’ Shade business, established by student CEO Alexandra DeAmario, sells customized sunglasses, snow goggles, watches and hats. Sand N’ Shade set a school record by selling over $170,000 in merchandise at the trade show.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the district’s website at www.millerplace.k12.ny.us.

The Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team, at 17-0, is the only team in Suffolk County that has yet to lose a game this season. 

The Wildcats visited Miller Place on Monday, Jan. 30, looking to keep their perfect record intact. And they did just that, surging ahead by 25 points in the first eight minutes of play, then closing out the game with a 65-20 victory over the Panthers.

SWR head coach Adam Lievre pulled his starters six minutes in, but the roster’s depth made itself known. The Wildcats continued piling on points as the Panthers struggled to keep pace. Lievre had to temper his non-starters — eager to score varsity points — to curb the scoring fest. 

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Wildcats have positioned themselves as the top-seeded team going into postseason play, which begins Feb. 14.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Competing on their home court, the Port Jefferson Royals struggled to gain traction against the defensive press of Miller Place during a non-league matchup Saturday, Dec. 10. 

The Panthers were up seven points going into the halftime break but stretched their lead the rest of the way to win it, 53-37. 

Joe Strickland led the way for the Panthers with 12 points, Tristan Stapleton netted 11 and Nick Fusco banked 10. Tyler Cobb topped the scoring chart for the Royals with 14 points, and teammate Luke Dickhuth dropped 11.

The win inks the Panthers’ first win this early season as the loss drops the Royals to 1-2.

— Photos by Bill Landon